What Kind Of Church Would Be Raptured?

Ephesians 5:27 (NLT) He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.

 

In this verse Paul is describing the nature, quality and perfection of the Church that would one day be presented to God.   Is this a description of the Church as it is today?  It is certainly not a true description of the Church in the Western world.  Since the Church as we presently know it, is not being described  in this manner, can we expect that although the present of this present day is not of the calibre of the one described by Paul, the Rapture will actually happen and the Church be whisked away to heaven?  Surely we must recognize that if the Church as we know it may not be caught up to heaven, will it remain one earth for some part or the whole of the Great Tribulation?

The true Church of Jesus Christ  was birthed on the Day of Pentecost which was Shavuot, a Jewish Feast day. At its origin it was a wholly Jewish Church but God had planned that it would actually become a Church of  Jews and Gentiles (Goyim).  In the earliest days of its existence many Gentiles began to be added to the Church. Eventually these Gentiles began to outnumber the Jewish members of the Church and they began to introduce many Gentiles concepts. Under severe political pressure the Church not only embraced the new concepts, it also began to desert its original Jewish distinctives. This kind of policy has continued throughout the years of Church history in what became known as “Replacement Theology”  which denies the Church’s  Jewish roots, claiming that God has  rejected Israel, replacing it with the Church. Sadly this has continued to be the belief and attitude of most of the Church until this day. A very small percentage of Christians truly recognize or acknowledge that the origins of the true Church are Jewish and that Jesus Himself is a Jew.  The Bible clearly indicates that in these Last Days the Church will be restored by God and that the restoration will be a Church that truly recognizes its Jewish roots. In fact the Messiah will reinforce this fact by making His home in Jerusalem and ruling the whole world from there.  Ultimately there is only one Church, one Saviour and Lord who is Yeshua the Jewish Messiah

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Iranian Navy Harasses US Navy With Impunity

 

 “But ships shall come from the coast of Kittim, and they shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber, and he also shall come to destruction.” Numbers 24:24 (The Israel Bible™)

In three separate incidents this week, Iranian Naval vessels harassed US Navy ships in confrontations that could easily have escalated. On Wednesday, a US Navy vessel on patrol in the Persian Gulf fired three warning shots at an Iranian small craft that charged to within 200 yards.Commander William Urban, a spokesman for the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet made a statement to the press saying that the USS Squall and the USS Tempest were participating in an exercise with a Kuwaiti patrol boat in the northern Persian Gulf. The three vessels were travelling in formation when they were approached by a Naser-class Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy water craft at high speed. The USS Tempest fired flares as a warning made radio contact, but the Iranian vessel continued its approach.

The Iranian boat came at the USS Tempest head-on, and the US vessel was forced to change its course to avoid collision. The USS Squall fired the three warning shots from their 50-caliber gun into the water just ahead of the approaching Iranian craft, at which point the Iranians turned and left. Earlier in the day, the Squall and Tempest encountered  three other small Iranian boats that ran in front of them three times, coming as close as 600 yards. In this encounter, the Iranian vessels ignored warning flares and whistles used by the crew of the Tempest to warn them to change course.

This incident comes after another close encounter on Tuesday when four Iranian craft “harassed” a US destroyer near the Strait of Hormuz, according to US officials. “Four Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels harassed the guided missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG 94) by conducting a high-speed intercept and closing within a short distance of Nitze despite repeated warnings as Nitze transited international waters in the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz Aug. 23,” a defense official said.

The crew of the Nitze fired flares and sounded the ship’s horn to warn the small craft, but they continued to approach the ship from the side.Iran’s Tasnim news agency quoted Gen. Hosein Dehghan as saying Thursday that “if any foreign vessel enters our waters, we warn them, and if it’s an invasion, we confront.” He added that Iranian boats patrol to monitor traffic and foreign vessels in its territorial waters. Naval confrontations have become increasingly common between the US and Iran. In December, Iranian ships fired rockets near a US warship and other vessels in the Strait of Hormuz. In January, Iran took ten US sailors captive after two small US patrol boats strayed into Iranian waters and developed mechanical difficulties. The sailors were soon released, but the Iranians declared it a victory.Also in January, the Iranian navy flew an unarmed drone over the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.
Read more at http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/74650/iranian-navy-harasses-us-navy-impunity/#WFYKJZvuKPEMMiDr.99

An Immanent Fulfillment?

Very few people on earth today including most Christians, appear to be truly aware of how critical and far reaching present happenings really are. The world media keeps them somewhat abreast of what is happening in the Middle East and around the world through the barbaric activities of the recently proclaimed Islamic State. A few people are beginning to realise the severity and ultimate intentions of these events, but they have little idea about how these events will eventually climax, or what might follow such a climax. A relatively small number of people are beginning to realise that what we are witnessing is actually a battle for the possession of Jerusalem. This is a battle between Satanically inspired forces and the God of the universe. It is the kingdom of darkness versus the Kingdom of God and the prize will be the possession of Jerusalem and the whole world.

In very recent years some Christians are becoming acutely aware of the predicted “Blood Red Moons”. The expected unique appearances of these moons in 2014 and 2015 are associated with the Feasts of the Lord, i.e. Passover and Tabernacles. Although these Feasts were given originally to Israel   (Leviticus 23:2-4) they are actually the Feasts of the LORD.  As such they belong to the Church as well as to Israel. However, they apply firstly to Israel. The prophetic result that may accompany the phenomena will initially happen to Israel.  It was to Israel that these feasts were originally given although ultimately the sign will affect the Church as well.

 

Leviticus 23:4

4 “‘These are the LORD’s appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: (from New International Version)

What’s Special about Israel?

What’s Special about Israel?

The land variously called Israel and Palestine is extremely small (about 10,000 square miles) compared to its neighbours. Its original Jewish occupants were scattered to the nations some 2,500 years ago and since then it has been occupied by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persions, Greeks, Romans, Turks and the British. Even in 1900 the population of Israel was only some 500,000; it was politically and industrially insignificant, with a mix of many peoples representing some 50 languages. So why is Israel frequently in world focus today?

During the 20th century Israel saw astounding development, especially after becoming a state in 1948. For example, from 1958 – 1965 it saw a growth of 13.6% in manufacturing, and the population grew from 0.5m in 1900 to 8m in 2012. It now has high-tech industries, forestry and agricultural industries, and a highly developed infrastructure. But these facts alone are insufficient to warrant world attention. There must be a more fundamental reason.

The reason for Israel’s prominence today is biblical rather than political. The Bible says that God chose a special people to be His witness to the world:

‘”You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen” … And what nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people and to make a name for Himself, and to do a great thing for You and awesome things for Your land …’ (Isa 43.10)(2 Sam 7.23)

Although the nation of Israel was scattered some 2500 years ago, the Bible says that it will be regathered in the last days of this age:

‘”I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone … and bring them into their own land …”‘ (Ezek 37.21)

This regathering is now well underway and Israel is taking prominence on the world stage. According to prophecy, the God of the Bible will make a name for Himself through Israel in the last days. The world will no longer be able to ignore Him.

Post Tribulation Rapture

To many Christians today everything related to the Second Coming of Christ still appears to be too futuristic and distant to cause them any concern. Most of the Christians who do think about the possible imminence of His return have carved out for themselves a convenient little doctrine in which, through the Rapture, they are caught away to heaven before things become seriously difficult here on earth. They comfort themselves with the concept of a pre tribulation escape clause by which they will expediently fly off to heaven to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, leaving the people of Israel to face the great tribulation.  But what if the conveniently place rapture does not occur before the tribulation?  How much more difficult it will be for such folk to enter into that most dramatic period of all human history?  After reading a book on this subject  Mrs Ruth Graham, late beloved wife of Dr Billy Graham, wrote the following letter to the man who sent the book to her.  I believe that her letter is very timely and extremely significant. I would challenge every Christian to also read this article with a open mind to see if you don’t reach a similar conclusion.

Letter from Mrs. Billy (Ruth) Graham by
Dave MacPherson

(I received this letter in March of 1975. In light of the recent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, one wonders if American Christians are as unprepared for big-time trouble as the Chinese Christians were when Communism conquered China a half-century ago.)

Dear Dave:

Thank you for your letter of January 22nd. We were out of the country at the time and I am still finding letters on my desk that have not been answered.  And thank you for the copy of your book, “Late Great Pre-Trib Rapture”.

The news from around the world of Christians suffering unbelievably is bound to make a “pre-tribber” do some serious thinking. Of course, I am sure they would say that the tribulation they have undergone is nothing to be compared with the “great tribulation” and they may be right. However, I would rather prepare myself to go through the tribulation and be happily surprised by an unexpected rapture, than expect to be raptured only to find myself going through tribulation. Perhaps not a very scholarly way of approaching the problem, but true none the less.

I was talking recently with an elderly missionary from China who told me that her greatest regrets now are not having prepared the Chinese Christians for the tribulation they would undergo. She said in her years in China she went everywhere teaching the pre-tribulation rapture and getting Christians to believe that they would not have to suffer for the Lord in that sense. The “great tribulation” may absolutely stagger the imagination, but still there is only so much one person can suffer.

Anyway, thank you for your thought provoking book. I shall see that it gets into Bill’s hands. I’m sure it’s going to do a lot of good. Thanks for writing it.

 

Cordially,

Ruth B. Graham

Kissing The Son Of God

In order to receive mercy, the rebels are to “rejoice with trembling”. Even in our rejoicing, we are to, having the awareness of the holiness of God, tremble with fear. To “rejoice with trembling” is to recognize God’s mercy on one side (thus, the rejoicing) and His wrath on the other (thus, the trembling). While in the midst of the blessings of God, we may forget that we are being blessed by a God that demands righteousness and reverence. Remember to “rejoice with trembling”.

the rebels are to “kiss the Son”. The kiss is a symbol of greatest affection, homage and subjection. Thus, we are to love Jesus, worship Jesus, and serve Jesus. It is no disgrace, even for a king, to “kiss the Son”; it is no disgrace, even for the rulers of the earth, to submit to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Kissing the Son emphasizes the closest intimacy we are invited to enjoy with the Son Of God.

Song of Songs 1:2 (NLT)
2  Kiss me and kiss me again, for your love is sweeter than wine.

Ishmael Is A Son of Abraham

God’s Covenant With Ishmael

Many Christians tend to overlook the fact that Ishmael is also “of the seed of Abraham.” Yet the Bible declares very clearly that both Isaac and Ishmael are both the sons (seed) of Abraham.

1 Chronicles 1:28 The sons (seed) of Abraham were Isaac and Ishmael (NKJV).

Ishmaelites are descendants of Abraham’s son Ishmael. The term is probably sometimes used as a general name for all the Abrahamic peoples from Egypt to the Euphrates and perhaps to the Persian Gulf, their headquarters being in Western Arabia.

As the promise of an heir did not now seem likely to be fulfilled,  Sarah resolved, ten years after their entrance into Canaan, to give her Egyptian maid Hagar to her husband, that if possible she might “be built up by her,” i.e. obtain children, who might found a family line (Genesis 16:1-6).  Abraham consented because he sought the seed promised by God. This appeared to be the natural solution to achieve the promised seed now that he and Sarah were so advanced in age.

Muslims Finding Jesus

Hundreds of Muslim Refugees Who Have Converted to Christianity Are Now Hoping to Return Home to Spread the Gospel

Leah Marieann Klett (Aug 17, 2016)

The director of an aid organization said his ministry has been swamped with Iraqi Muslims seeking to know more about Christ and the Bible.

(The Middle East)—[Gospel Herald] Hundreds of refugees who were once oppressed by Islamic State terrorists have found new purpose and freedom after embracing Christianity, and are now hoping to return home to share their faith with their friends and families. (Photo Credit: Reuters/Muhammad Hamed/via Gospel Herald)

According to a report from Mission Network News, in the last 18 months, over 140 refugees living in the City of Refuge have converted to Christianity after fleeing Fallujah, which was overtaken by ISIS and later liberated by Iraqi forces.

Frontiers USA president Bob Blincoe told the outlet that now, some of the new Iraqi Christians want to go back to their homes and share their newfound faith with their neighbors, families and friends.

“They are attracted to go home because that is the place they knew as where they lived their lives,” said Blincoe. “And there’s no future for them in the refugee tents in the City of Refuge.”

“But now they have a mission, and they feel jubilant in the Lord. They have been baptized, most of these groups that they’re working with have been baptized,” he said.

He revealed that many of those who converted to Christianity were particularly moved by Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28 –“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

“This way of the Lord, this unexpected hope for miserable people, for desperate people, is the number one reason,” he said, explaining that the refugees continue to share their faith with family and friends—despite facing danger.

“This is driven by Muslims who have come to faith themselves, which is the thing that of course must…”

Israel Meets Her Messiah

  1. A Great Holy Spirit Outpouring. Vs 9-10.

The Holy Spirit will be initially poured out on the house (descendants) of King David.  However, Joel’s prophecy of the End Times has always predicted a sensational outpouring of the Holy on Spirit All Flesh. (Joel 2:28).  When might this marvelous event happen?  If we search the scriptures for a likely moment in the prophetic future when this predicted event might happen we must look again to Joel 2. In verse 27, Joel states that I AM will be “In the midst of Israel.”  Joel further states that after this (Joel 2:27) he will pour out His Holy Spirit on ALL Flesh.

 

  1. Israel Recognizes Her Messiah

The Jewish population will look upon their deliverer, the Angel of the Lord, who is actually their long awaited Messiah.

Zechariah 12:10-13 (NKJV)
10  “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
11  In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.
12  And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves;
13  the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves;

A Close Scrutiny Of The Messiah.

Looking upon Him is more than a casual glimpse, it is an intentional extremely close scrutiny. They finally recognize Him as the One once pierced. The phrase “look upon” infers much more than a casual glance. It infers careful examination.  The Jewish nation with all their historic information concerning their Messiah, will finally realize that He whom they now look upon is truly their promised Messiah

  1. Prayers Of Sincerest Repentance.

They will respond with sincere prayers of repentance, mourning, and deepest sorrow. Prayers and supplications will be given by the Spirit. The Spirit’s outpouring will contain appropriate prayers and intercessions.

  1. Mourning For An Only Son.

They will mourn as for an only first born son. This phrase identifies Him as the promised Messiah. God’s only begotten Son. Israel will mourn in a greater manner than  for king Josiah.  The Holy Spirit will cause the nation of Israel that Yeshua on whom they diligently look, is actually the legitimate Son of God.

  1. National Repentance.

God will place repentant prayers in the hearts of Israelis. The whole nation will mourn including religious and secular Jews. It will be an even greater mourning than when the popular King Josiah was mourned. This will completely change the relationship between Israel and their God. We can only dream of Israel’s transformation and what it will become like under this amazing visitation. The mourning cannot be for the attack  that had just been experienced, because this has resulted in a very decisive victory for Israel. After this victory Israel will evidently become a truly Messianic nation.

 

Joyful Praise and Worship

I regularly read Nicki Gumbels devotionals every day. However, todays posting was exceptionally good.  He spoke about giving praise to God joyfully and that all praise rises from a joyful heart. For example, watching a glorious sunset, can send us into spontaneous ecstasy as we endeavour to  make comments about it. We may enthusiastically say, “Wow, isn’t that glorious, amazing, splendid, awesome” etc. Often times we may be lost for words that are adequate to express the splendid wonder of what we are gazing upon.  If we could see God through a vision, dream, spiritual visitation or some other means, we would sure be inspired to worship and praise Him.  King David frequently calls on us to worship God in such manner. For example in Psalm 98: 4-7

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,

burst into jubilant song with music;

make music to the Lord with the harp,

with the harp and the sound of singing,

with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—

shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,

the world, and all who live in it.

Let the rivers clap their hands,

let the mountains sing together for joy;

let them sing before the Lord,

for he comes to judge the earth.

He will judge the world in righteousness

and the peoples with equity. NIV

 

Is this the kind of praise we offer to God either privately and  in the congregation we are part of?  It is not only spiritual, it is emotional, whole hearted, joyful, loud and whole hearted.  Does your church sound like this every Sunday morning?   Is this the kind of worship that is enthusiastically encouraged in the Church of which you are part of? When reading the many exhortations to praise God it may be tempting to wonder is God the supreme egotist that praise and worship is constantly and continually encouraged?  Certainly not.  God encourages us to praise Him because true praise rises from a joyful heart and God wants us to have truly joyful hearts. When we see that sunset I spoke about, it should fill us with overflowing joy and uninhibited appreciation. Likewise, when we joyfully meditate on God, considering all that he has created in the vast universe. Thinking about the amazing nature of Christ’s sacrifice and the glorious plan of salvation He has accomplished for us and all who will believe and receive Him, should this not strongly encourage us to praise God?  No wonder the Bible says “It is a good thing to glorify the Lord”.  In Church, we should bring out all the instruments David mentioned and engage in enthusiastic music with joyful and harmonious voices giving to God a still tiny portion of the praise he is so worthy of.