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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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.

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.

 

 

Israel’s Prophetic Future

  1. A Ferocious Attack.

In the Last Days, several Islamic nations filled with ancient hatred for Israel, will gather on Israel’s border. They will boldly issue numerous threats to attack and annihilate Israel and Jerusalem.  The attack will be launched as the first stage of their determination to wrest Israel from Jewish rule and replace it with Islamic and Shariah law.  It will be the most powerful attack ever made on Israel.  Several earlier attacks since the first in 1948 have failed dismally leaving Israel’s enemies with great humiliation that is extremely difficult for Muslims to bear. They see such defeats as extremely grave dishonor to Allah and the whole body of Islamic tradition.

 

  1. Anti-Semitism Throughout The World.

All the other nations on earth will give tacit agreement to the attack,  to be launched with the intention of providing space for a new Palestinian State.  Anti-Semitism can be traced back to the earliest days of human history when it began.  Throughout the following ages it has continually grown ever stronger. The roots of  it began between Ishmael and Isaac. Instead of becoming weaker through the passage of time it has become ever stronger.  Since 1948, when the new state of Israel was proclaimed in the land of “Palestine” it has become more passionate than ever. This phenomena   is continually deepening  and is surely reaching a great crescendo in this day. It will finally reach a conclusion as a direct result of this great battle for the control of Jerusalem and Israel.

 

  1. A Stalwart Defense.

The governors (leaders) of Judah will declare that the inhabitants of Israel find their strength in the Lord of Hosts their God.  Both Zechariah in Zechariah 12 and Asaph in Psalm 83, predict ferocious and fierce attacks to be made on Israel. Asaph declares that the intention is to “wipe Israel off the map that she will be remembered no more.”  This is an extremely bold ambition that Islamic forces finally believe Allah himself  will grant to his people. It is a vital part of the Islamic vision for the end of days  and all Muslims are encouraged to believe for such a climax to all human rule except that instigated by  Allah.

 

  1. An Army Like Fiery Torches.

God will make the Jewish forces like a fiery torch devouring the enemy forces on the right hand and the left. (There is no mention of Jewish casualties or losses in this chapter!)  Although the forces fighting for Islam will appear frighteningly superior to those of Israel, the evident appearance of the God of Israel in support of His ancient covenant people, will reverse the odds and makes Israel far more capable of achieving a miraculous victory. The supernatural nature of God’s intervention will clearly overcome and totally supersede  the apparent strength and size of  the  enemy armies. They will be decisively defeated.

 

  1. Led By The Angel Of The Lord.

Jewish forces will be infused with supernatural strength. Even the feeblest soldier will be like King David and like the Angel of the Lord who will go before them.  At various times in the Jewish Bible we may read of amazing victories achieved by Israel. In most of these records we may notice the appearance of one called “The Angel of the Lord.”  This is the appearance of the God of Israel in a manner appropriate to providing competent defense and victory for the Israelite people of God. Zechariah clearly describes the intervention of this person on behalf of Israel.

 

  1. God Will Powerfully Defend Israel.

God will “seek to destroy” all the nations that come against Israel.  Not only will Almighty God provide a great defense for Israel, probably saving many lives from death, He will also convincingly destroy the enemy armies that attack Israel. Such a victory may seem almost too fantastic to believe. However, when we consider the massive armaments that Iraq and its allies will have we can realize that it could require a truly supernatural army to quell and destroy the Islamic forces. If Israel was left to its own defenses against such an army that Iran, Russia and China can muster, we may imagine how hopeless would be Israel’s chance of survival would be. Capable defense and the reality of Israel’s victory, will definitely require supernatural intervention that only God can produce.

 

  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 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.

 

A Troubled World

It is extremely difficult to understand what is currently happening in the Middle East. Russia has certainly moved into the region with ships, aircraft and ground forces. China too has moved into this area with warships and helicopters. Turkey is also making numerous announcements that are quite bewildering in respect of its future intentions regarding Israel. The future of the Middle East has suddenly become far more complicated than it was. In addition to all these bewildering events there is also a distinct prediction that God will ultimately enter this situation in order to defend Israel against her enemies.

I suggest that any of three world shaking events could soon happen in the Middle East.

1.The first is that Israel would be attacked and conquered by Islam. This is the historic aim of Islam.

2.The second major possibility is that God will bring Islam to a devastating defeat. (Zechariah 12)

3. The Third event will be a glorious victory for Israel, followed by a massive outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Israel.

As far as the world is concerned, most nations would seriously expect modern Israel to be defeated mainly because her enemies are much larger in size and now possess a massive amount of the very latest nuclear power that could completely eliminate and destroy Israel. It has been widely reported that Iran has placed more than 100,000 missiles in Southern Lebanon just over Israel’s northern border. These enemies cannot imagine any force that could successfully defend Israel against such an attack. However, Zechariah 12 presents prophetic evidence that Almighty God will definitely intervene to defend and rescue Israel in a truly supernatural manner. This victory will amaze the whole world except for many Christians and Jews who wholly believe the Bible, from which they have complete confidence of God’s ability and determination to defend Israel.  Since God created the whole universe is He not totally capable of intervening to rescue His unique Covenant people from devastating destruction?

The Reliability of Bible Prophecy

As we study Bible prophecies concerning these last days, we see that there are a large number of signs which when taken together strongly confirm the end of this age is now upon us. Grant R. Jeffrey in his book, “Prince of Darkness” listed 38 predictions that have been fulfilled or are in the process of being fulfilled in our generation. He calculates the odds of just six of these predictions being fulfilled in one generation as 1 in 15.6 billion. The odds of all 38 prophecies being fulfilled is virtually beyond comprehension. The single event however, that cements all these things together and gives credence to the notion that they are indeed end time events, is the rebirth of Israel.

Many things are going to change dramatically very soon. We must urgently prepare our hearts and minds for this amazing predicted event. Prophecies that always seemed to be concerning the dim and distant future are now being fulfilled today. Several nations are already being dragged back into the pagan darkness of the Middle Ages. A huge battle is currently brewing, and is likely to boil over in the immediate future. Every day now through the news media, we are seeing and hearing of shocking brutal events taking place in the Middle East and even in Europe. We can hardly believe what our eyes and ears tell us. Initially such events were restricted to the Middle East but now they are appearing in the USA, Britain and across much of Europe. Awful as these days have become, the reality is that there are even more perilous times still ahead.

The last thing I want to be is a scaremonger, however I do want to raise an alarm while there is still an opportunity, so that we can be prepared for the reality of what lies ahead. There are presently multitudes of people around the world who are extremely disturbed and fearful with regard to the immediate future and to the threatened activities of ISIS forces. Some of these nations, including the USA, Britain and numerous European countries are especially fearful of the intended actions of ISIS and other Islamic agencies. They realize that these rebel bodies fiercely believe that Islam will ultimately rule the whole world and that the total conquest of these countries is necessary before complete world conquest can happen.