Christ will Certainty Return PI

Christ will ReturnUnexpectedly! 2 Peter 3:10-13 

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.” 2 Peter 3: 10

What preparation and participation do you think we are to do? What happens when people do nothing with their faith and just wait for a future that may not come?

Peter, in graphic imagery and hopefulness, is making a strong argument that Christ will return and when He does, it will be un-expected with un-surpassing wonders the world has never seen.

During this time, these early Christians were being discouraged by the persecutions and seemingly insurmountable sufferings and loss. The comfort of Jesus’ returning was like cool water to a person dying of thirst on a hot day. Consequently, false teachers were taking advantage of them. These so-called pious fraud Christians, who were making their own apocalyptic predictions, with bad motivations. They operated just like Satan, seeking to disrupt, seduce, and carry people away from Christ and to their way. If you are not sure who they are, watch their character and Fruit, which will show their true nature (Jer. 23:13; Micah 3:5; Matt. 7:15; Acts 20:28-30; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Eph. 4:14; Phil. 3:2; 2 Tim. 3:4-6; Titus 1:11, 12; 2 Peter 2:18-19).

What is this all about? This is the climax of the Kingdom of God, the time when it comes into its fulfillment and fruition. The earth and all we know and see will be re-formed as a new earth and a new life. There will be a judgment from which nothing will be exempt.

What does this mean for me? Because all will be judged and “destroyed” (meaning renewed), we must make the most of our lives here and now, not wait for a future that may not come, or bask in the past. We must live for Christ with the hope and purpose He gives us with power, passion, and conviction.

The promise of His Second Coming is to give us hope and confidence. 

We live in a sin-infested world now, but the one to come will be perfect, as all in it will be right with God. We look forward to His Second Coming and the fruition of his Kingdom. But, beware of sitting and doing nothing; we will delay His work and impede the preparation of His Kingdom. Our participation helps His coming, as we help build His Kingdom now.

This passage is also very figurative. The purpose of figurative or apocalyptic language is to describe the indescribable. 

Peter attempts to help us understand these events and the importance of our being ready (Matt. 24: 36 through chapter 25 is also written this way for this reason). This is about being hopeful for the future, but living and being viable in the present.

We can take comfort in the fact that Jesus is coming back. 

This time it will not be a subtle event, as a baby born in a feed trough in a cave. Rather, the entire creation will glow and bend to show the whole world His glory. This passage gives hope to a persecuted church, hope to people in despair, and hope that He is indeed in charge, even when we cannot see it!

What does it mean that we are to live our lives as if Christ would be coming tomorrow and also preparing and planning as if He were coming a thousand years from now? Is this a contradiction, or a plan to do?

How can the Second Coming give you hope and confidence? How does this passage give hope to a persecuted church?

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Seeking End Times Trends is Fruitless PIII

A look at Mathew 28 as it relates to end Times 

Jesus is risen—He is risen indeed—Hallelujah!  

           Jesus has all authority! He proved this by not only being God, but by being willing to come as a man to this earth and live the life we could not, nor would not do. He overcame our sins and our enemies (John 12:31; 16:33; Rom. 6:1-7; Rev. 1:17-18)! He kept His promise that He made to Adam to redeem us, and then He sent the Comforter to lead us on (Acts. 1:3; 2:24-35; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30-32; 13:33-37)! Jesus is risen. This means He conquered death (Acts 2:24; Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:50-58). We too, in Him, will undergo a similar transformation, as we live for Him, forgive in His name, are justified (Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:17), and will arise in eternity (John 11:25-26; Rom. 6; Eph. 1:18-2:10; Col. 2:9-15; 3:1-4; 1 Thess. 4:14-18; 1 Pet. 1:3).  

          Without the resurrection, we do not have Christianity—as in saving faith.

We just have some great rules and precepts to live by. Well, so do the Buddhists (1 Cor. 15:1-19)! A dead man, no matter how good and great, cannot save anybody. Buddha has saved no one! The difference is we are transformed, and saved for eternity—not just for here and now (John 10:4; 16:10; 2 Cor. 5:20). We are not called to save souls. That is the role of the Holy Spirit. Rather, we are called to help the “soul bearers” to learn and grow! 

          The people then, as well as now, were confused about the end times and wondered if this was the end of an age or a new beginning.

Jesus did not fit the expectations of the religious leaders or of His disciples. The religious leaders rejected Him. The remaining disciples had to surrender their will to His in order to know who He was and what He was doing in them (John 3:30). We cannot make disciples of others until first we, ourselves, become disciples of Jesus (2 Pet. 1:13)! The disciples bore witness to His call to make disciples of all nations; they were His witnesses and His messengers. What will you do about this today (Acts. 1: 22; 4:2, 10, 33; 2 Cor. 5:20)? The key to implement this is to realize who Jesus is—and His authority! When we have acknowledged His authority, then we can allow His work in us. Then, He can use us in the lives of others. The opportunities and potentials are limitless (Luke 10:17-20; John 15:7; Acts 20:24)!  

Questions to ponder that are more important… 

What can you do to help your church see the veracity of The Great Commission and do a better job of knowing Christ so they can then make Him known? What would your church look like doing this? What would your neighborhood look like? Verses just talking about your favorite end time’s scenario?  

What does Jesus’ statement, all authority, mean to you? How can this get deeper in you so you understand further that He is God, He is all powerful, He is all knowing, and, He is present everywhere? What would that mean to your spiritual walk with Him?  

Jesus tells us He will always be with you. How can this help give you motivation and comfort?  

What does make disciples mean to your church? What has your church done with Christ’s most important call? Why do so few churches and Christians do this? Why is this more important than a ‘correct’ and of course most if not all are not) view of End Times?  

What makes this passage the marching orders for our faith and practice? What have you done? Where are you lacking? What do you need to do?  

Do you believe that if you are committed to your beliefs (those that are not focused on Christ), and refuse to allow the Holy Spirit to convict you, you will remain in your sins and be unsaved? Why, or why not? If so, why?  

What are the barriers that keep you from knowing Christ? If your beliefs were untrue, would you want to know?

 

Seeking End Times Trends is Fruitless PII

When or if someone asks you, “what is more important the Resurrection or the Second Coming,” what would you say? Would it be biblically correct? 

We tend to think that the prime Christian climax is yet to come, a rapture, which will not happen as many people think or the Second Coming which is yet to occur. Yes, the Second Coming will be marvelous beyond expectation or description. But, the prime climax for the Christian, and the Church has already occurred, it is all about Christ, Who He is and What He has done. Thus, the prime climax is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is Risen!  

The climax has already come! All of our Lord’s life and mission has reached the culmination.

The history of man, our fallen state, the move of our Lord through history and our lives have interwoven to the finishing point. He lived on our behalf. He has died in our place to absorb God’s wrath and pay our debt of sin; now, He rises back to life, conquering death, and giving us victory and grace for a life of fulfillment and fullness (Psalm 16:11; 107:09; Isa. 26:3; John 14:21; Gal. 5:16; 22-23; 1 John 1:7-9; 3 John 4)!  

The passage of Matthew 28: 1- 20, contains the ultimate wonder of the universe—the incredible impossible, and the incredible triumph. Jesus was crucified; He died, and was buried. 

The magnitude of Jesus’ resurrection was beyond mere comprehension; without seeing it for themselves, as Thomas asked for and received, many refused to believe. Others truly believed by faith and worshipped Him. For us, although we do not have Jesus physically showing us His hands and feet (John 20:26-28), we do have the Spirit that reveals the truth to us. Jesus said, blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20: 29). Jesus did not fit the expectations of the people, the religious leaders, or, the disciples. A total change in worldview had to occur before He could be accepted fully (Phil. 3:1-14). 

This passage has classically been called, “The Great Commission,” as these are the marching orders for our faith and practice! This is also the hallmark passage for evangelism and missions! Consider Jesus’ Statement here, All authority refers to Jesus being fully God, having all omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence; thus, He is the ruler over the entire earth. This is also a reference to Daniel 7:13-14. 

So what is our point, our climax? To ponder theories or move forward in our Christian life?

Our call here, our climax until He returns is simple, Make disciples, that is, take people under our wing and teach them the Scriptures and procedures of the Christian life (Matt. 4:17; Eph. 1:3‑14; 2:8-9; 1 Cor. 1:18‑2:16; 15:1‑8). (The difference is that rabbis made disciples like themselves, with their traditions and beliefs. We are called to make disciples like Christ, and teach His precepts and ways!) 

We are called to Baptize, this meant conversion and identification; the person was to become identified as a person of faith and as a follower of Christ. It does not presuppose a ritual, but rather a mindset. The physical act of baptism is essential (not for salvation), as it is a public showing of our faith and commitment. The specifics of how and when are not as important as the faith and obedience to follow Christ (Matt. 4:18-19). 

We are called to Teaching, this means to show what is in the Scriptures, how to understand God’s Word, what is God saying to us, and how to live by God’s Word. Personal instruction helps us understand and then apply His precepts into our lives. We are to live for Him and to serve Him. For the rabbi, this meant the Law, Commandments, and the Prophets. Now, it also means the teachings of our Lord. 

All nations refers to Gentiles, as in people who are pagan and not Jewish. Jesus’ dominion is all people in all places. He is not limited to time and space! This means Christianity is to all people, Jew as well as Gentile, beyond traditions and religions, and regardless of ethnicity or birthright. Isaiah also predicted this event (Isa. 42:6; 43:10; 44:8). Christ is cross-cultural; He is for all peoples in all times. Only pride can keep a person from Him! 

Observe. We are called to learn what to believe and to obey. We do this by observing; it is cemented in us by doing! This passage is called “practical holiness.” Jesus calls us to observe (to learn and grow) and then to do it! 

What is Jesus doing? Wilting to come a second time? NO! He tells us in this Matt 28 passage, He tells us that He is….Always be with you. This is the great comfort and hope we have, we have is that the God of the universe, our Creator and Lord, knows us, loves us, and will be with us! This also refers to Jesus being fully God. One of Jesus’ names is Immanuel, which means “God is with us (Matt. 1:23).”

Seeking End Times Trends is Fruitless

 

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. Luke 21:36 

Do you know good pastors who are good at teaching the Bible, but when it comes to end times, they seem to unzip their head, take out their brains and then begin to preach and teach? I know I used to do that, teach my favorite end times theories, until someone challenged me, a high school student who called me out on it and a seminary professor who told me that was not in the Bible. Ouch!

Too many ‘good’ pastors are not honestly seeking real ‘true Truth’ when it comes to eschatology. I am not talking about the faithless and mindless TV preachers and the false teachers and false prophets; rather…well I will not name names… just do not get it. It is unfortunate and fruitless that so many good pastors seem to turn off their brains and not read the Bible, rather read into it theories when it comes to end times, they seek trends and not Him, Christ as LORD!

We need to stop, focus on Christ and His Word not our feeble fruitless ideas!

The point of eschatology and the rapture is that Jesus is coming back! The ‘means’ He uses is not the point, it is that He is coming in His perfect timing, nothing needs to be done or happen first, and it will be more incredible than anyone could ever imagine. We ready ourselves by the growth of our faith not the latest silly ideas or parroting what others say that tickle us.

Focusing on the rapture is like focusing on the mustard on the hotdog while you ignore that you are at the World Series…. Spend all your time arguing about condiments and never taking a look at the game. You miss the main point! It is all about Jesus, His impact in us here and now as we wait by our due diligence to grow in Him and share Him. The timing and details are not given (Matt 24), because they are not important, our faith and fruit are far more important. People who teach and focus on the particular theorems and timing of a rapture or any end times tribulations or an antichrist scenario ignore the main things that Christ has for us. Like a mother with a baby focusing on the fashions of what it should wear and never bothering to feed and care for it (yes some people do that).

Yes we are curious of what and when, it is alluring and fun, but, let’s not lose focus. We have to get the fact it is about God’s love and plan for us. End times is to wake us up on His control, it is not to scare us but excite us, to examine ourselves to see what is in the way and trust in His plan, to not be afraid and embrace Him as LORD! We are to be ready by our faith and our obedience and loyalty not by our theories and complacency to His precepts…

How can I get my church and pastor to get it?

The only thing I seen work is what I am doing (open to any ideas, please post them), have a Inductive Bible study in Revelation and honestly look at the Text and then the 4 views side by side without taking a side and then see what The Word, in context and real word meanings has to say (this is hard, took me 2 years to set up and only 15 people come out a 5,000 member church that I am apart of).

Also, we have exegetical help in the Rapture too, you can do a Bible study, where you do not come to it with a specific view, rather really study and see what God has to say, not what man has to say. If your theory is right it will pan out, if you are mad and do not want to do that, then you are not interested in Truth only your thinking and theorems and how sad that is in the face of our Holy God and Savior!

http://www.intothyword.org/pages.asp?pageid=56857

http://www.intothyword.org/pages.asp?pageid=69539

The barriers? People, especially many pastors because of our pride do not want to be challenged or convicted or seek real Truth only chase trends, because it is easy and no conviction. Why, we can focus on what we want and not bother to really grow in the faith or our character.

Do not be caught up with the “hype” of speculations; rather, be caught up with Christ. Do not ignore the veracity of Eschatology and Revelation. His Word is explicit; He tells us what we need to know and that is that. It is a tragedy to chase what is fleeting and miss His wonders and Truth! We have nothing to add to His Word and nothing to improve about it; rather, it is we who need to be approved.

Be a church leader who follows Christ, seeks His precepts and is suspicious of man’s ideas, but embraces God’s…. Use your brain that God gave, look, observe context, look up words, do not assume, and if it is popular it may be wrong! Do not rest in pride, rather rest in Christ!

 

Thoughts and Applications for Revelation 22:7-20

 

This Book ends with several pronouncements to come to Him, a beatitude that says blessed to those who keep my Word. The Bible is bathed in His love for us and ends with a final cry for us to come to Him, heed His voice, and practice His love to others. The question is, are we going to heed His voice? Are we going to come?

Too many Christians get so captivated and fixated on His second coming that they miss the main point. His coming again is not about when or how, but what are we doing to prepare for it. That preparation has to do with our faith formation more than anything else. Christ wants us to be loyal and obedient to His Word in precepts and call. He is calling us, His people in His Church, to Him! 

Questions to ponder: 

  1. Why does God severely warn us to never manipulate God’s Word for skewed personal agendas? Why do so many preachers and commentators seek to do just that? How does one rationalize that it is OK to manipulate God’s Word?
  1. What can your church leadership do to teach and model to its people never to read in to God’s Word what is not there, or take away what is there?
  1. How can you better use God’s Word to develop your faith so you are more ready for His return?
  1. What can your church do about getting its people lined up to God and His Way and precepts and to know and be prepared by faith, spiritual maturity, character, and Fruit?

 © 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org

The Two Prevailing Views of Revelation 22:7-20

(Chapters twenty-one and twenty-two deal with the literal versus non-literal interpretation of Scripture). 

There is nothing significant in the last passage for this debate (other than what has already been said) except that most commentators seem to ignore it. Yes; they ignore the most climatic, hopeful, and wondrous passage in the Bible. So much “ado” is spent on speculations and sensationalisms, that the things that are really important are ignored. In the worse way, I think it is the fear of conviction that causes many commentators to manipulate His Word—especially with Revelation. In this way, they can put the focus on elsewhere, as Satan likes us too, so what God clearly calls us to can be rationalized away or ignored, so they would not be convicted of it. Of course, if you read any of Revelation, you will see what God thinks of this practice. In the best way, it seems that many people like to come up with their own theories, which is OK to a point, but then to sensationalize them and belittle those who do not hold to their vain speculative and even sometimes aberrant views that are not even found in the passages is not OK. Thus, when they get to this passage, conviction hits home; God Himself tells us clearly, do not do it! Oops! 

What does it mean to you to be content in Christ? Why are so many of us miserable, even though we are Christians? How does this compare to not being a Christian and being disillusioned by the ways of the world? What can you do better to be content in Him?

Exegetical look into Revelation 22:14-20

 

  • Blessed are those who wash their robes means that those who are faithful in Christ will receive the approval and good will of God as blessings from Christ, but those who reject Him will be judged. Being blessed also refers to the emotional states of satisfaction, well-being, and contentment that result from being approved by God and by the fulfilling of our duty. It is enjoying God’s special favor and His Grace working in us. It is like being told by our parents that they are proud of us. Being blessed is not about wealth or material things; it is all about faith and being content because of who we are in Christ. Our robes imply that we must seek to be our best for His glory; if not, we are insulting the real God/Christ! We represent Christ, and our faith and obedience are our clothing. How is yours? (Matt. 5:1-12; Rev. 3:4, 18; 6:11; 7:9, 13; 4:4; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9, 14; 20:6; 22:7-14: The seven beatitudes in Revelation, 1:3; 3:4-5; 7:14; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14).
  • Outside. This is not good; once this happens, it is too late to repent! If we seek evil, love what is wrong, and worship what is false, we will be held to account; and if one refuses to accept Christ as Lord, he or she will be judged and condemned. God is exclusive and supreme; nothing comes before Him (Duet. 6:4-9; Matt. 7:6; 1 John 2:23; Rev. 20:15; 21:8, 27).
  • Dogs. This is not Lassie the beloved family pet; this refers to sexual immorality in pagan cults characterized as stray dogs running amok, dirty and disease ridden. In the Old Testament, it means those who were ceremonially impure; in Paul’s time, it meant male prostitutes. (Gen. 3:24; Deut. 23:17-18; Phil. 2:3; Rev. 21:8).
  • Everyone who loves and practices falsehood. This refers to sin and the desire to continue in sin, refusing God’s grace. This also means being an apostate—one who says he or she is a Christian but his or her bad character shows that to be a lie, and that he or she is not of God. This also denotes disloyalty, even idolatry, as it is saying a god or an idea is true when it is not, and/or  adultery with God as with a spouse—besides the obvious omission of truth (Isa. 44:20; Jer. 10:3; 1 John 2:22). The result is His divine judgment and punishment of no entrance into Heaven (Deut. 32:22; Isa. 65:17; 66:15-22; Mal. 4:1; 1 Cor. 3:13; 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; 2 Thess. 1:7-8; 2 Pet. 2:6; 3:7-13).
  • I, Jesus…give you this testimony. Jesus is the Witness to the Church universal, and the angel speaking to John is bearing the very words of Christ to him. Then, John becomes the witness of Christ, not only to his churches, but also to us today through the written Word. (Matt. 22:1-14; 25:1-13; 1 John 4:1-6; Rev. 1: 2; 2:20; 6:9; 22:9).
  • Root and the Offspring of David. This refers to the linage of David as followers after God’s heart, and a promise from the Old Testament that a Savior would come from David’s line—as Jesus did (Isa. 11:1-10; Matt. 22:42; Rom. 1:3; Rev. 5:5).
  • Morning Star. Here, this means the One who will crush the enemies of God. This name of Christ was for Jesus‘ first coming and Messiahship. The name first referred to the planet Venus, and was a depiction in Judaism meaning the advent of dawn or of a new day or age. Jesus is now that advent. This is also about His radiance and glory. It alludes to the kingship of Israel and points us to His Second Coming. Jesus is the true Morning Star; the counterfeit is Lucifer (Isa. 14:12, 13). The pagans believed that people’s lives were ruled by the stars. This testifies that Jesus is the Ruler, not the stars. Jesus is giving Himself to us. Thus, this may also apply to our glorification and radiance for being in Christ (Num. 24:17; Psalm 84:11; Mal. 4:2; 2 Cor. 3:18; 2 Peter 1:12-21; 1 John 3:2; Rev. 2:28; 22:16; 22:16)!
  • The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” refers to Christ calling those who long to be with God, seek His ways, and apply His truth into their lives. It is a work of the Spirit that is also synergized by our faith and obedience in Christ and our activity in His Church, His bride (John 7:37-39).
  • I warn everyone. This is God’s most passionate warning to not add or subtract from what He says. God wants His Word protected, revered, and applied. He wants us not to be corrupt, seeking to distort His Word. This means we do not add in our thoughts to replace His or make up our own. We can add commentary, insights, applications, and encouragement as long as we stay true to His Text, because this is the Word of God and it is Holy. Thus, when we do add our thoughts, we must make sure they are lined up to His and make a distinction, to ourselves and others, between His Word and our words. In context, this is referring to Revelation, but it also applies to the entirety of the Bible(Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Gal. 1:8-9; Heb. 4:12; 2 Peter 3-4)!
  • Hears the words of the prophecy. This is an invitation to join Christ; He will welcome all those who thirst after Him (Isa. 55:1; John 4:13-14; Rev. 22:1).
  • I am coming soon. The return of Christ, as magnificent and climatic an event as it will be, will be of no value personally if one does not get his or her act together! (John 3:36 Rev. 2:16; 3:11).
  • Come, Lord Jesus. This was an Aramaic prayer used by the early church called the “Marana tha” (Maranatha) which is seeking the return of God or a messiah and/or a return of His Ways. It was popular under Roman occupation (1 Cor. 16:22).