Jesus is Coming Soon!

This song has been on my mind for the last few weeks so I thought I’d share it.

 

Troublesome times are here filling men’s hearts with fear
Freedom we all hold dear now is at stake
Humbling your hearts to God saves from the chastening rod
Seek the way pilgrims trod Christians awake

Jesus is coming soon morning or night or noon
Many will meet their doom, trumpets will sound
All of the dead shall rise, righteous meet in the skies
Going where no one dies, heavenward bound

Love of so many cold losing their home of gold
This in God’s word is told, evils abound
When these signs come to pass, nearing the end at last
It will come very fast, trumpets will sound

Jesus is coming soon morning or night or noon
Many will meet their doom, trumpets will sound
All of the dead shall rise, righteous meet in the skies
Going where no one dies, heavenward bound

Troubles will soon be o’er, happy forevermore
When we meet on that shore, free from all care
Rising up in the sky, telling this world goodbye
Homeward we then will fly, glory to share!

Jesus is coming soon morning or night or noon
Many will meet their doom, trumpets will sound
All of the dead shall rise, righteous meet in the skies
Going where no one dies, heavenward bound

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The Encroaching Darkness

I want to share one my favorite authors/speakers talking about a subject of great importance.  We are living in dark times, but we are not left alone and without hope.  It is so important to know who we are as children of God and to know what He has said so that we may view the dying world around us through his eyes.  We need to get back into the Word in a way like never before to be salt and light to a world that has largely turned away from Him!

Be blessed!

Are You One?

Sir Issac Newton wrote:

About the time of the end, a body of men will be raised up who will turn their attention to the Prophecies, and insist upon their literal interpretation, in the midst of much clamor and opposition.

I am part of that body.  Are you?

Consider carefully the implications of this statement:

But as the days of Noah were, so shall the coming of the Son of man be.

Matthew 24:37

Have you ever carefully read about that period of time (Genesis 6)?  I mean, have you truly read it with an open, ready, and willing heart and mind?

Far fetched as it may sound initially, this is a great video to get the mind churning on the subject.  I realize many will think I’m crazy and I may even lose your respect, but I am not afraid to explore the subject and I hope you are not either.

Blessings!

Four Views of the End Times [Views on Jesus’ Second Coming] (Part 6)

[The Book of Revelation]

The Book of Revelation was written by Jesus’ disciple, the apostle John, and tells of a vision he was given from the Lord. The book addressed seven churches in Asia Minor (Turkey today).  It encouraged believers who were experiencing persecution.  Revelation illustrates that God is in control and that all people were created to love and worship God their creator.

[Terms in the Book of Revelation]

666  Number of the beast, spelled out in Revelation 12:18 as six hundred sixty-six.

Greek and Hebrew didn’t have a written system of numbers.  Instead, they would either spell out the number, or they would write out the number using letters in the alphabet.

For example, the first letter of the alphabet might represent the number one, and so on.

Many scholars have pointed out that, in Hebrew, the number of Caesar Nero’s name can be 666 if written using “Neron,” the Latin spelling of the name.  (Nero reigned AD 54-68.  He was the first emperor to engage in specific persecution of Christians).

Perhaps the best approach to the number is to remember that  six is a symbol of incompletion; 666 would, therefore, indicate complete imperfection.

144,000  Group of believers who endure the great tribulation (Revelation 7:14).

Some believe that these persons are literally 144,000 Jewish persons – 12,000 from each tribe – who embrace Jesus Christ as their Lord (Revelation 7:4-9).

Others suggest that Israel and twelve tribes often refer to Christians (Romans 9:6-8; Galatians 6:16; James 1:1).  Therefore, the number would point to God’s people (symbolized by twelve tribes, twelve apostles, or both) multiplied by 1,000 (a number that symbolizes an extreme multitude or length of time) – in other words, the full number of those who belong to God.

Abomination of desolation  An event that desecrates the temple in Jerusalem and is a signal to Jesus’ followers that soon Jerusalem will be ruined.  Mentioned in Matthew 24:15, it may refer to the destruction of the temple in AD 70 by the Romans, or Roman plans to set up a statue of the emperor in the temple in AD 40, or some future event.

Antichrist  (from Greek, antichristos, in place of Christ)  Anyone who denies what the apostles taught about Jesus Christ (1 John 2:18-22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7).  Specifically, the antichrist is a Satanic counterfeit of Jesus Christ, described as “lawless” and as a “beast” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8; Revelation 13:1-18; 17:3-17).  The antichrist could be a specific person who rises to power during a time of tribulation, or a symbol of false teachers and leaders who will arise when the end of the age draws near.

Apocalyptic literature (from Greek, apokalypsis, revealing)  Jewish genre of writing, structured around visions that figuratively pointed to hidden truths for the purpose of assuring God’s people of the goodness of God’s plans during periods of persecution.

Armageddon  (from Hebrew, Har-Megiddon, Mount Megiddo).  The city of Megiddo was located between the Plain of Jezreel and Israel’s western coast.  Deborah, Gideon, Saul, Ahaziah, and Josiah fought decisive battles near Megiddo – largely because the area around Megiddo is broad and flat.  So the valley of Megiddo became the symbol of a point of decisive conflict.

Some believe that a literal battle will occur near Megiddo near the end of time.  Others  view the reference to Armageddon as a symbol of an ultimate conflict between spiritual forces of good and evil.

 Babylon  In the Book of Revelation, the name “Babylon” is symbolic, yet interpretations vary:

  1. Jerusalem:  Jewish persons assisted the Romans in their persecution of Christians after AD 64.  The fall of Babylon in Revelation 18 could be a symbolic reference to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.
  2.  Rome:  After AD 70, Jewish writers often referred to Rome as “Babylon.”  Babylon may symbolize the political and religious powers in every age that attempt to defy God and to persecute his people.
  3. One-world government and church:  “Babylon” may be a reference to a one-world government and one-world church that will emerge near the end of time.

Beasts, two  Symbolic creatures described in Revelation 11:7 and 13:1-18.

The first beast:  This creature rises from the sea and has ten horns and seven heads.  The seven heads seem to point to Rome, the city known for its seven hills.  Some interpreters understand this reference to Rome as a literal reference to a power that will arise from Rome near the end of time; others view it as a symbolic reference to the powers in every age that defy God’s dominion and persecute God’s people.  The beast claims blasphemous names for itself – much like Domitian, emperor from AD 81 until 96, who demanded that he be addressed as “Lord and God.”  One of the horns seemed to have died but then returned to life – much like the false rumor that emerged after the death of Nero that he had come back to life.

The second beast:  This creature rises for the earth with horns like a lamb and a voice like a dragon – in other words, a satanic parody of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.  Some interpreters  understand this creature as a literal leader who will encourage people to worship the first beast.  Others view the second beast as a symbol of any religion in any time period that focuses worshipers on anything other than Jesus Christ.

First judgment  The event described in revelation 20:11-15 when God resurrects all people, judges them from the great white throne, and delivers them to their eternal destinies.

Mark of the beast  Indication of a person’s allegiance to the teachings of the antichrist (revelation 13:16-17).  The people of God receive a similar mark, indicating their allegiance to Jesus (Revelation 7:3; 9-4; 14:1, 22:4).  Some biblical students believe that the mark of the beast will be an actual mark, required by the antichrist.  (Between the Old and New Testaments, some Jews were forced to be branded with the symbol of the god Dionysius.)  Other interpreters of Revelation understand the mark as a reference to someone’s  actions (“hand”) and  beliefs (“forehead”).  Hand and forehead seem to carry this symbolic meaning in Exodus 13:9, 16.

Witnesses, two  Two beings described in Revelation 11:1-14 who speak the truth about God before being killed and then resurrected. (1) Some believe that these two witnesses are two people who will appear during the tribulation, near the end of time. (2) Others view them as two biblical prophets – perhaps Moses and Elijah – that have been resurrected for the purpose of proclaiming God’s truth during the tribulation.  (3) Other interpreters see the two witnesses as symbols of the Law and the Prophets – both of these testified about Jesus and yet, this testimony was rejected., even to the point of killing those that appealed to this testimony (for example, Stephen in Acts 7).  If so, the “resurrection” of the two witnesses wold point to a time of final vindication, a point at which God demonstrates that the Law and the Prophets did indeed testify about Jesus Christ.

Excerpted from “Four Views of the End Times” 

Four Views of the End Times [Views on Jesus’ Second Coming] (Part 5)

[Postmillennialism]

[What is postmillennialism?]

Postmillennialism is the belief that the second coming of Christ will occur after the millennium.  The millennial reign described in Revelation 20:1-6 represents a long time period when, through the preaching of the gospel, most of the world will submit to Jesus Christ.  During this time, Satan will have no power over the earth, and evil regimes will collapse (Revelation 19:19-20:3).  A period of great tribulation may precede the millennium.  Some charismatic Christians embrace dominion postmillennialism.  This  teaches that through the contemporary charismatic movement God has been binding Satan.  When the church recognizes the fullness of its power through the Holy Spirit, the church will establish God’s kingdom on earth and usher in the millennium, a golden age.

[What do postmillennialists emphasize?]

Postmillennialists place great confidence in the preaching of the gospel; they contend that the gospel will eventually spread in such a way that nearly everyone in the world will turn to Jesus Christ.  One Scripture cited in favor of this view is Mark 3:27.  Augustine understood this verse to mean that before Jesus can claim his kingdom, those that are lost (the “possessions” of Satan, “the strong man”) must come under the control of Jesus.  Postmillennialists believe that this golden age is described in such Scriptures as Psalm 2:8, Isaiah 2:2-4, Jeremiah 31:34, Daniel 2:35, and Micah 4:1-4.  Postmillennialists tend to emphasize the power of the gospel to transform societies and individual lives.

[According to postmillennialists…]

  • During the millennium, Christ will rule the earth through his Spirit and through his church.  He will not, however, be physically present on the earth.
  • The resurrection depicted in Revelation 20:4 represents the spiritual regeneration of people who trust Jesus Christ.
  • The second coming of Christ, the final conflict between good and evil, the defeat of Satan, the physical resurrection of all people, and the final judgment will occur together, immediately after the millennium (Revelation 20:7-15).
Loraine Boettner described postmillennialism as “that view of the last things which holds that the kingdom of God is now being extended in the world through the preaching of the gospel and the saving work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of individuals, that the world is eventually to be Christianized, and that the return of Christ is to occur at the end of a long period of righteousness and peace, commonly called ‘the Millennium,'”

[Which Scriptures seem to support postmillennialism?]

  • Every ethnic group will receive the gospel before the second coming (Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10).
  • The first resurrection (Revelation 20:4) could refer to the spiritual resurrection (the regeneration or new birth) of persons who trust in Christ (Romans 11:13-15; Ephesians 2:1-4).
  • The second coming of Christ and the resurrection of all people, saved and unsaved, will occur at the same time (Daniel 12:2-3; John 5:28-29).

[When has postmillennialism been popular?]

The earliest writer who was clearly postmillennialist was Joachim of Fiore (1135-1202), although many historians believe that earlier church leaders such as Eusebius of Caesarea, Athanasius of Alexandria, and Augustine of Hippo were also postmillennialists.

During the 1800s, postmillennialism increased in popularity.  Some Christians even believed that the increased work of missionaries throughout the world represented the beginning of the millennium.

During the early 1900s, a world war and an economic depression raised questions about whether the world was actually becoming a better place, and postmillennialism diminished in popularity.

[Prominent postmillennialists include:]

Famous preacher Jonathan Edwards as well as theologians such as B.B. Warfield, Augustus H. Strong, Charles Hodge, R.L. Dabney, Loraine Boettner, and R.C. Sproul.

Excerpted from “Four Views of the End Times” 

Four Views of the End Times [Views on Jesus’ Second Coming] (Part 4)

Amillennialism

[What is amillennialism?]

In amillennialism, the millennium is the spiritual reign of Jesus in the hearts of his followers.  The “first resurrection” in Revelation 20:5 is not a physical restoration from the dead; it is the spiritual resurrection that is also known as regeneration.

Christ’s triumph over Satan through his death and resurrection in AD 30 restrained the power of Satan on the earth (Revelation 20:1-3).  Persecution of Christians (tribulation) will occur until Jesus comes again, as will the expansion of God’s kingdom (the millennium).

When Christ returns, he will immediately defeat the powers of evil, resurrect the saved and the unsaved, judge them, and deliver them to their eternal destinies.

[What do amillennialists emphasize?]

Many amillennialists believe that the book of Revelation consists of seven sections.  Instead of dealing with successive time -periods, these seven sections use apocalyptic language to describe the entire time from Jesus’ first coming until his second coming in seven different ways.

Amillennialists tend to emphasize the historical context of Revelation and what the book meant to first-century readers.

[According to amillennialists…]

  • The great tribulation represents disasters, wars, and persecutions that have occurred throughout church history.
  • Most references to “Israel” in Revelation are symbolic references to the people of God on earth (compare Romans 9:6-8 and Galatians 6:16).
  • In apocalyptic literature, numbers represent concepts, not literal statistics.  For example, six symbolizes incompleteness, seven represents completeness, ten indicates something that is extreme but limited, twelve represents the perfection of God’s people, and 1,000 symbolizes a great amount or long period of time.

[What Scriptures seem to support amillennialism?]

  • The Bible frequently uses the number 1,000 figuratively (Psalm 50:10; 90:4; 105:8; 2 Peter 3:8).
  • The first resurrection (Revelation 20:4) could refer to the spiritual resurrection (the regeneration or new birth) of persons who trust in Christ (Romans 11:13-15; Ephesians 2:1-4).
  • The second coming of Christ and the resurrection of the saved and the unsaved will occur at the same time (Daniel 12:2-3; John 5:28-29).
  • The saints are on the earth during the tribulation (Revelation 13:7).

[When has amillennialism been popular?]

Amillennialism became popular in the fifth century.  Amillennialism has remained widespread throughout church history.

[Prominent amillennialists include:]

The Protestant reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin as well as evangelical theologians such as E.Y. Mullins, Abraham Kuyper, G.C. Berkouwer, Herschel Hobbs, Stanley Grenz, and J.I. Packer.  Many students of church history believe that the church father Augustine of Hippo (354-430) was the first amillennialist.

Augustine of Hippo wrote in The City of God, “During the thousand years when the devil is bound, the saints also reign for a thousand years.  Without any doubt, these two time-periods are identical and point to the time between the first and second coming of Christ.”

Excerpted from “Four Views of the End Times” 

Four Views of the End Times [Views on Jesus’ Second Coming] (Part 3)

Historical Premillennialism

[What is historical premillennialism?]

Historical premillennialism is the belief that Christians will remain on the earth during the great tribulation.  The tribulation will purify the churches by rooting out false believers, and the second coming of Christ will precede the millennium.  Historical premillennialism believes that the church has replaced the nation of Israel as God’s covenant people.  Also known as “covenant premillennialism,” historic premillennialism treats a thousand-year millennium as a literal future event.

The earliest church fathers envisioned an earthly millennium.  During these first centuries of Christian faith, the church’s theologians anticipated not only the physical reign of Jesus Christ following a time of testing but also the restoration of all creation to its original goodness in a millennial kingdom.

Historical premillennialism began to fade as later church fathers – influenced by Greek philosophy that viewed the physical world as evil and by the aftermath of some Christians’ false expectations of a physical millennium – downplayed the idea of an earthly millennium.

[What do historical premillennialists emphasize?]

Historical premillennialists try to balance symbolic and literal interpretations of Revelation, emphasizing both what the book meant to first-century readers and how it might apply to people’s lives today.

[According to historical premillennialists…]

  • God’s promises of land and blessings to Abraham and his offspring were conditional promises, based on their obedience.  Israel’s persistent disobedience violated God’s covenant with them.
  • God has maintained a covenant of grace throughout the Old and New Testaments with all who trusted him.  These believers – embodied today in the church – are the true Israel (see Romans 9:6-8; Galatians 6:16).
  • Most references to “Israel” in Revelation refer symbolically to the church

[What Scriptures seem to support historical premillennialism?]

  • The revealing of the Antichrist precedes Christ’s return (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
  • The tribulation will root our false members from the churches (Revelation 13:7).
  • The saints are on earth during the tribulation (Revelation 13:7).
  • God’s promises to Abraham and his offspring were conditional (Genesis 22:18; 2 Chronicles 33:8, Isaiah 1:19-20; Jeremiah 7:6-7).
  • The New Testament frequently uses “Israel” and “the twelve tribes” to refer to Christians (Matthew 19:28-29; Romans 9:6-8).
[The Apostle John & the End Times]:  Papias of Hierapolis described the millennial kingdom this way, claiming that his words came from the apostle John himself: “The days will come in which vines will grow, each having ten thousand branches, and in each branch ten thousand twigs, and in each true twig, ten thousand shoots, and in each one of the shoots ten thousand clusters, and on every one of the clusters ten thousand grapes….  When any of the saints shall lay hold of a cluster, another shall cry out, ‘I am a better cluster, take me; bless the Lord through me!'”

[When has historical premillennialism been popular?]

Historic premillennialism seems to have been the earliest view of the end times among Christians who lived after the apostles.

[Prominent historical premillennialists include:]

Many early church fathers – including Lactantius (240-320), Irenaeus (130-200), Justin Martyr (100-165), and probably Papias (60-130), a disciple of the apostle John – embraced historical premillennialism.

Modern supporters include scholars such as David Dockery, John Warwick Montgomery, George R. Beasley-Murray, Robert Gundry, and George E. Ladd.

Excerpted from “Four Views of the End Times”