Tag Archives: rapture

The Lamb & the Lion

Our Jesus – the Christ – is certainly the lamb of God’ that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Unfortunately, we often miss the real point in our experiential Christian culture, feeling good while we imagine our Jesus as a cute and cuddly lamb . . . I think you’ll find that a better visual would be that of a ‘mamma bear’ who is kind, just, and protective with her own but ruthless against opposition.

The truth is that the dress rehearsal of Passover and its sacrificial lamb, and prophetic utterance by the likes of Isaiah, were fulfilled by our Christ’s obedience to God to become the once-for-all sacrifice for sin. Jesus ‘bought’ us with His sacrifice; we must now choose whether to believe and obey – follow – or to ignore this new covenant with God through the Christ.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. —Isaiah 53:7 & Acts 8:32.

Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. —1Corinthians 5:7-8.

When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb . . . “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” —Revelation 5:8-9.

Also true is that those who wish to follow the lamb must consider the cost as Jesus said, for they may very well go to their own destruction or be afflicted in their bodies (just look at all the apostles, except John, who were martyred for their faith!).

And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. —Revelation 12:11.

What about the ‘Lion’? Well, Jesus our redeemer is also referred to as the ‘Lion from the tribe of Judah’ in God’s revelation given to John by Jesus.

Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” —Revelation 5:4-5.

So far, we understand that the picturesquely mild and meek ‘lamb’ is that way in symbol only. The example was used to show how Jesus was voluntarily slaughtered as a lamb to assist God the Father in the accomplishment of His desire to reconcile with His creation.

Our creator is a just God who will keep His promise to reward the faithful and destroy the wicked. Jesus, because of His obedience, earned the right to save and judge as a faithful arm of God’s wrath.

and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb —Revelation 6:16.

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. . . .  From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” —Revelation 19:11-16.

So, the lamb and the lion are one and the same: savior and judge. Rescuer and executioner. Which will you experience?

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2016 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

On the Last Day . . .

As revealed in the last blog, an end to this age and judgment are coming! There’s no point in sugar-coating the basic truth regarding how things will end, and of the salvation God has offered from His judgment to come:

  • Jesus came to save the lost and accomplish the will of His Father: reconcile with His creation.

This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” —John 6:30-40.

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. —2Corinthians 5:18-20.

He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach —Colossians 1:22.

  • All will be raised in the last day: some for punishment via hell, prepared for all disobedient spiritual beings; others for reward and eternal life as they’re reconciled with their creator.

Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. —Daniel 12:1-3.

 “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” —John 12:48.

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. —Revelation 20:11-15.

  • After the last day, The Father of Spirits (as He’s referred to by the writer of Hebrews) will destroy the old creation and usher in a new heaven and earth. At that time, He will dwell amongst those rewarded for their faithfulness. They will be His people, and He will be their God.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” —Revelation 21:1-4.

Where will you be on the last day . . . or the day after?

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

The “A-B-C’s” of the End of the World (Originally “It’s the Final Countdown”

According to Jesus, the “end of the age” will be the conclusion of this current age – era or world – with the Great Judgment and the creation of a new heaven and earth. According to the apostle Paul, we’re already in the “last days” leading up to the end.

The final countdown to the grand finale of our world as we know it has begun and the clock’s ticking is getting louder as we see signs of the times and anticipate the conclusion of God’s creation in its current form. A glimpse of what’s to come:

  • Increase in the frequency and intensity of false saviors, wars, and earthquakes & famine/financial disaster.
  • An evil authority we call the Antichrist and an agreement with Israel, kicking off a final seven-year epoch.
  • Breaking the agreement in the middle followed by a three-and-a-half-year reign of terror like never seen before or again.
  • Jesus’ highly-anticipated appearing and the gathering of the spirits of those who are His, and the wrath of God against the rest of the world.
  • The 1,000-year reign of Jesus following God’s incredible wrath.
  • Destruction of Satan and final judgment.
  • God’s new and never-ending heaven and earth.

Looking for guidance? Many man-made theories propped up by a few, specific Biblical verses (usually taken out of context) abound.  So, find out for yourself!  Here’s how to begin:

  1. Read Matthew chapters 24 and 25 together.
  2. Read Revelation chapter 6. There, you’ll see that the signs revealed by Jesus to John in about 90 AD in a vision match what He told His disciples on the Mt. of Olives decades earlier as recorded in Matthew 24 up to the appearing of our Lord at the future, complete darkening of the sun, moon, and stars.
  3. Compare what you read in Matthew 24 and 25  to the entire book of Revelation. You’ll find corroboration between the two and a sequence resembling that given here.
  4. Look for unbiased and complete studies such as my “Finding the End of the World” (available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and ronbraley.com) to broaden your knowledge and faith.

Remember: a countdown is no good if you don’t know when it began or what time it is!

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

The “A-B-C’s” of God’s Judgment

God will judge everyone in the last days for reward or punishment. We, as followers of Jesus, are to judge the behavior of the Church – police ourselves, if you will (more on that in a future blog).

All will be judged by God at the end of our current age – even Jesus’ followers (see Romans 14:10-12 and 2Corinthians 5:10). The names of the obedient and faithful throughout time will be found in the Book of Life. For them, eternal life and unimaginable reward await. The rest (those whose names won’t appear in that Book) will be thrown into hell – the lake of fire punishment created for Satan and his fallen angels.

He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. —John 3:18.

Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead. —Acts 17:30-31.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. —2Corinthians 5:10.

And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. —Revelation 20:12-15.

Eternal life and reward await those who choose reconciliation with God through the Christ. All others will be judged and dealt with accordingly regardless of whether they’ve chosen to reject God or just not bothered to choose.

Life or death. Which is your choice?

 

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Where will we go when we die?

The spirit of a deceased human will go into a holding place upon death. That location will depend on whether their name is recorded in heaven as being among the righteous. The unrighteous will await judgment and a fiery consequence at the end of days. On the other hand, the spirits of the righteous will await their bridegroom – Jesus – to gather them and ascend to the “third” heaven, where God exists, at His appearing.

One of only two earthly choices will affect us after death (at least for those who’ve had a choice): follow God and His Christ and live; choose not to follow and die. Each choice will result in a consequence. The spirit of Jesus’ deceased followers (following implies action and obedience, by the way) will rest in a holding place Jesus called Paradise. They’ll wait there for His return and their gathering, often called ‘the rapture’. I know this is generally contrary to what many churches and their doctrines teach, but you’ll discover that it’s what the Bible reveals.

We’re usually told that our spirit goes to heaven at the time of physical death, yet we won’t find a single biblical reference (in context) to support that idea and plenty to the contrary. The Book of Enoch tells of a holding place for the spirits of the righteous. Jesus told the thief on the cross that He would see him in Paradise that day (Luke 23:40-43), yet Jesus didn’t ascended to heaven until three days later (John 20:17). Paul explained to the Thessalonians that the spirits of the righteous deceased will ‘rise’ to meet Jesus at His appearing and that the living followers will be ‘translated’ to join them.

Also, we know from the story of Lazarus and the rich man that spirits of both were in locations apart from heaven – Lazarus in ‘Abraham’s bosom’ and the rich man in Hades – and yet they could see each other (Luke 16:19-62).

Finally, Jesus told His disciples that we’ll be gathered and taken to heaven – to His Father’s house – upon His return. This supports what Paul said later (e.g. 1Thessalonians 4:15-17 and 1Corinthians 15:52). Paul explained to the Thessalonians that spirits of the righteous deceased will rise to meet Jesus at His appearing and that the living followers will be changed to join them. While on earth, Jesus had told His disciples about the future time when that gathering Paul mentioned will happen (cf. Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-28).

I realize some readers may still be holding onto traditional church dogma that insists our spirit goes to heaven immediately upon death, so allow me to ask a rhetorical question based on Paul and Jesus’ statements: “Why will Jesus need to return to earth to gather the spirits of the righteous deceased if they’re already in heaven?

In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. —John 14:2-3. (See also Matthew 24:30-31 for a reiteration of this gathering)

 

Summary: Our spirit will go to one of two places when we die: a holding area where we’ll await escort to heaven or to an unpleasant holding place where the spirit will await judgment and wrath.

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Apocalyptic Misquotes . . . Part XI: “Jesus can’t come back until we evangelize the world!”

Misquote: Jesus can’t come back until we evangelize the world!” This is based on taking Matthew 24:14 out of context and without consideration of its collaborating text in the Revelation given by the very Jesus that spoke of this topic to His disciples while He was on earth.

I’m intrigued that churches propagating this false doctrine will also tout a contradicting ‘imminent return’ doctrine that claims Jesus can come back at any moment . . . (please see my earlier blog titled, “Jesus can come back at any moment!” for more information). Claiming that Jesus must rely on mankind for the timing of His return (which is actually determined by God the Father!) is certainly contradictory to an ‘imminent return’ position!

Additionally, evangelizing every human on planet earth from the time of Jesus until the end would be quite impossible. I’ve heard many interesting theories about how we can do this today with the Internet or radio as some people try to rationalize a position where we dictate the timing of Jesus’ return to earth; however, our present day is just a bump in the long road from Jesus’ time until the very end. The fact remains that there’s no way every man, woman, and child from Jesus’ time until the end of all time could’ve been, or can be, evangelized.

Whether it could happen is irrelevant anyway. Consider the verse in its context and what you’ll learn is that the preaching of the Gospel to the entire world will be one step in an end-times sequence just before, and leading up to, Jesus’ return and our gathering.

Here’s the abused verse and its context of Matthew 24:3-31 (similar to Mark 13:4-27 and Luke 21:7-28).

Verse 3-8 (from Jesus’ time until just before the end): As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. [compare to the events revealed by the breaking of seals 1-3 in Revelation Chapter 6]

Verses 9-13 (introduction to the Great Tribulation that will come at the end): “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

Verse 14 (this is the verse taken out of its context): “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” [see Revelation 14:6 for a reiteration of this ‘preaching of the Gospel’ that will happen just before the gathering of Jesus’ followers and the wrath of God on all who are left on earth]

Verses 15-26 (more about the Great Tribulation that will occur just before Jesus returns to gather His own for the marriage supper in heaven):Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place . . .  For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. . . . [the persecution and death here are reiterated by Jesus in the events of the 4th and 5th seals of Revelation Chapter 6]

Verses 27-31 (the ending of the Great Tribulation with a complete darkening and the gathering of Jesus’ own): “For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. [this darkening at the end of the Great Tribulation and at the time of our gathering is reiterated by Jesus in the event of the breaking of the 6th seal of Revelation Chapter 6]

In summary, the preaching of the Gospel Jesus refers to will be done by heavenly messengers at a very specific point in the last days as the Great Tribulation of the Antichrist is brought to a close and the wrath of God is about to begin. It will be a last chance for repentance.

But . . . remember that Jesus commanded us to tell others about the good news of salvation – God’s grace that offers us a way out of the judgment to come. After all: How will they hear if we don’t tell them?

For a very comprehensive and detailed study of this very important topic, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Apocalyptic Misquotes . . . Part IX

 “The Tribulation is Seven Years of Bad Luck – and we’ll be raptured before it Starts!”

Misquote: We’ll escape the 7-year-long Tribulation!There are two inherent problems with this statement.

1. The ‘great tribulation’ will last for no more than 3.5 years (the last half of a remaining 7-year period yet to be fulfilled). This great tribulation will be the wrath of the Antichrist.

2. True followers of our Christ will have to endure it until we’re ‘rescued’ and God’s wrath begins. What follows will guide you in a short study of this and is a reiteration of an earlier blog titled, “Wrath of Con”.

Ask the average Christian in America about the ‘Great Tribulation’ and, if anything, they’ll probably tell you it’s “seven years of really bad stuff from the Antichrist and God after Christians have been raptured!

But, study what the prophets, the apostles, and our Christ said about this ‘time like never seen before or will ever be seen again’ (e.g. Joel 2:2, Matthew 24:21, etc.) and you’ll find a truer and much more sobering version of this terrible time to come. Here are some key facts about the coming Great Tribulation:

  • It will be no longer than 3.5 years and will occupy the last half of the last seven years of the overall timeframe Daniel spoke of for Israel to come to repentance and reconciliation with God (Daniel 9:24-27).
  • This will be the time of the Antichrist’s wrath against God’s people – Israel and those who hold to the testimony of our Christ (Daniel 7:19-25, Matthew 24:15-21, Revelation Chapters 11, 12:9-17, and 13, etc.). The Antichrist and his cohort will con God’s people if possible through lies and deceit (e.g. Revelation 13:12-14). How will this happen? Because of shallow or non-existent faith made possible through ignorance fueled by a lack of exposure to the Scripture, discipleship, etc. necessary for building faith.
  • The time of the Antichrist’s con and wrath will be cut short by the Christ’s appearing. His presence will earmark two important events identified as ‘harvests’ in Scripture: the gathering of Jesus’ followers (e.g. Matthew 24:29-31 and Revelation 14:12-16) and the beginning of God’s wrath against what and who remain on the earth afterward (e.g. Revelation 6:12-17 and 14:17-20).

So, the wrath of the one who will con will come in the form of the Great Tribulation. After nearly 3.5 years, the faithful will find relief as they’re taken to heaven for the ‘marriage supper’. God’s incredible wrath against the earth and her inhabitants will end the Antichrist’s wrath and great con.

Would you be able to resist being conned by those who say you don’t have to worry about any of this or by the Antichrist and his cohort in the last days? If not, waste no time in learning truth that leads to salvation!

For a very comprehensive and detailed study of this very important topic, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Next week, we’ll look at more great examples of personal interpretation and bad hermeneutics as we continue to explore common misquotes and abuses of Scripture. The next misquoted or misunderstood topic: “God is Love!

Apocalyptic Misquotes . . . Part VIII

“We’re not to Judge Anyone!”

Misquote: “We’re not to judge anyone!” or “Who am I to judge?!?”  Well, we as followers of our Christ are indeed to judge those within the Church! The means we’re to hold one another accountable to the standard given by God through the prophets, apostles, and our Christ . . . and we do it for the sake of our brothers and sisters to help keep them on this path to our God and heaven. The following text supports this and is a reiteration of an earlier blog titled, “Judge Dread”.

The idea of judging really trips people up. Many know their own faults or past sins and feel they have no right to judge others about anything as a result. On the other hand, some people behave as though it’s their duty to inform everyone around them of every act they feel is contrary to God’s Word. The truth regarding judging others resides somewhere in the middle.

Are we to judge at all? Definitely! But, let’s take a look at what the word judge means before we go any further. It comes from the Greek word kree’-no, which means to ‘call into question’. Of course, we can’t call anything into question if we don’t know what should be questionable or why. Who should judge whom? According to Jesus, God will judge the world – those who aren’t Jesus’ followers – and Jesus will judge followers at His return and the end of this current age. Meanwhile, we’re to hold one another accountable for growth and moral positioning.

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst . . . Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. . . . Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. —1Corinthians 5:1-13.

            So, how are we to judge other followers of Jesus? We are to be careful and gentle, basing the ‘questioning’ on adherence to the Christ’s commandments and not on emotion. The goal must always be to help those followers who are ‘sinning’ to turn back to the truth and be reconciled with the church (e.g. James 15:19-20).  The text below not only confirms that but also reminds us that we’re not to tolerate the unrepentant practice of sinful behavior within the Church.

“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” —Matthew 18:15-17.

Want to ‘love’ your brother or sister in the Christ? Then judge them according to God and our Christ’s commandments with a sense of urgency before it’s too late for those who are practicing sinful behavior that will earn them a one-way ticket to God’s judgment!

For more information regarding the return of our Christ and our ‘marriage’ to Him, and of the end of our world as we know it, please consider studying my very comprehensive guide “Finding the End of the World”. You’ll easily find it in paper and electronic format at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and www.ronbraley.com.

Next week, we’ll look at more great examples of personal interpretation and bad hermeneutics as we continue to explore common misquotes and abuses of Scripture. The next topic: “Seven Years of Bad Luck”.

Apocalyptic Misquotes . . . Part III

“Jesus Can Come Back at Any Moment”

Let’s continue our Apocalyptic Misquotes with a look at an abuse that gives birth to an erroneous end-of-the-world timing and reflects poor hermeneutics.

Misquote/False Statement: “Jesus can come back at any moment!” This is perpetuated to support faulty end-times imminent return and pre-tribulation rapture doctrines. It’s made possible by taking texts like Matthew 24:36 and 1Thessalonians 5:2 and out of context and misquoting them at the same time (the Day of the Lord refers to the judgment of God to come in every case, which will come as a surprise to the wicked, – not to the gathering of the Saints).

so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. . . . But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. . . . Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. . . . But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” — Matthew 24:33-44.

For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord [referred to many times in the Old Testament end-times prophecies] will come just like a thief in the night. —1Thessalonians 5:2.

You may be tempted at a glance to think that the return of our Christ will indeed be a surprise and could happen at any moment.  However, look at the verses leading up to and including Matthew 24:33 and you’ll find that Jesus gave signs to watch for.

What you’ll also learn through study of Scripture is that the return of our bridegroom at a ‘day and hour known by the Father alone’ reflects His fulfillment of the traditional betrothal and marriage processes whereby the Father determines when it’s time for the marriage supper to take place. He alone, after all preparations have been made including the building of the house for the new couple (remember, this is just one of several things Jesus referred to in mirroring the betrothal and marriage processes!), will send the groomsmen into the streets with shouts and trumpet blasts to announce that the time for the marriage supper had come. Related marriage fulfillment references to check out:

  • Betrothal – The Father has chosen us as a ‘bride’ for His son: Ephesians 1:3-5 and 2Corinthians 11:2
  • Betrothal – The cup of contract/covenant (cup of Ketubah): Matthew 26:28
  • Betrothal – The Father and Son preparing a place for us: John 14:2-3
  • Marriage – The gathering at the trumpets/shouts of the groomsmen once preparation have been made: Matthew 24:31 and 1Thessalonians 4:16
  • Marriage – The marriage supper/second cup of the covenant – ‘cup of blessings’:  Matthew 26:28-29 and Revelation 19:6-9

And, regarding abuse of 1Thessalonians 5:2: Paul is reminding Christ’s followers that the judgment and destruction of the wicked will be a surprise to them but that we, as followers, should NOT be surprised . . .

For more information regarding the return of our Christ and our ‘marriage’ to Him, and of the end of our world as we know it, please consider studying my very comprehensive guide “Finding the End of the World”. You’ll easily find it in paper and electronic format at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and www.ronbraley.com.

Please join me next week when we’ll continue teaching about (and hopefully correcting) bad doctrine and misquotes with these common abuses: “No Weapon Formed Against me will Prosper” and “I can do all things Through Christ“.

The Wrath of Con . . .

Ask the average Christian in America about the ‘Great Tribulation’ and, if anything, they’ll probably tell you it’s “seven years of really bad stuff from the Antichrist and God after Christians have been raptured!

But, study what the prophets, the apostles, and our Christ said about this ‘time like never seen before or will ever be seen again’ (e.g. Joel 2:2, Matthew 24:21, etc.) and you’ll find a truer and much more sobering version of this terrible time to come. Here are some key facts about the coming Great Tribulation:

  • It will be no longer than 3.5 years and will occupy the last half of the last seven years of the overall timeframe Daniel spoke of for Israel to come to repentance and reconciliation with God (Daniel 9:24-27).
  • This will be the time of the Antichrist’s wrath against God’s people – Israel and those who hold to the testimony of our Christ (Daniel 7:19-25, Matthew 24:15-21, Revelation Chapters 11, 12:9-17, and 13, etc.). The Antichrist and his cohort will con God’s people if possible through lies and deceit (e.g. Revelation 13:12-14). How will this happen? Because of shallow or non-existent faith made possible through ignorance fueled by a lack of exposure to the Scripture, discipleship, etc. necessary for building faith.
  • The time of the Antichrist’s con and wrath will be cut short by the Christ’s appearing. His presence will earmark two important events identified as ‘harvests’ in Scripture: the gathering of Jesus’ followers (e.g. Matthew 24:29-31 and Revelation 14:12-16) and the beginning of God’s wrath against what and who remain on the earth afterward (e.g. Revelation 6:12-17 and 14:17-20).

So, the wrath of the one who will con will come in the form of the Great Tribulation. After nearly 3.5 years, the faithful will find relief as they’re taken to heaven for the ‘marriage supper’. God’s incredible wrath against the earth and her inhabitants will end the Antichrist’s wrath and great con.

Would you be able to resist being conned by those who say you don’t have to worry about any of this or by the Antichrist and his cohort in the last days? If not, waste no time in learning the truth that leads to salvation!

For a very comprehensive and detailed study of this very important topic, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!