A Voice in the
Re: First Advent and Anti-Christ
"Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins...Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, 'God with us'." (~Mt1:20-23, Is7:14)
This season of the year is call "Advent". If one looks up the word in a dictionary, one sees definitions, "coming or arrival, especially of something important; coming of Jesus at incarnation; Second Coming". Of course, it also lists the unbiblical pagan period of time beginning the "fourth Sunday before Christmas". And of course, "Christmas Carols" are also called "Advent Carols". "O Come, O Come, Immanuel..." or "Joy to the World the Lord is come.." Unfortunately, all that most of society knows of this season is "Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer" and "Here comes Santa Claus..." And Christians continue calling it by its pagan name "Christ-MASS"... even when many of them know better. I expect they find it too difficult to stand up to the ridicule. You -will- be ridiculed; like the recent would-have-been customer who wanted an A-Frame sign including "Santa" on it; when I (politely) expressed my regrets in not being able to serve her, her retort was, "YaRight!" ...as she then walked out.
Exactly -when- did Christ come as a baby? There are many theories, and they each come with convincing-sounding data and Scripture references. The most commonly viewed time, next to December, is September/October; corresponding with Yom Kippur (Atonement) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). After all, Tabernacles looked forward to "God with us". However, Tabernacles is yet for future fulfillment. (Zech14:16, Rev21:3) There have been some scholarly-seeming treatises suggesting it was in the "fall" of the year because of how the Roman census/taxation would have been carried out, and that shepherds did not tend to be "out" during the winter. Are any of those theories true? I don't know.
It would not surprise me but what it was, indeed, during this time of year the world celebrates as X-mass. Notice the two things Joseph was told: 1) she will bring for a son, and 2) He would be the Savior. (Mt1:21) What are the two things one must believe as the Gospel? That 1) Jesus, Deity, has "come in the flesh" (1Jn4:2-3), and 2) that Jesus died and rose from the dead for our sins. (1Cor15:1-4)
What are the two events Christians remember and celebrate the most? Jesus' birth, and His crucifixion & resurrection.
And... what are the two events which the world has paganized more than any other? "Christmas" and "Easter" They are both rife with symbolisms of fertility and sexual license. The ancient pagan goddesses were goddesses of fertility, and their worship included variants of temple prostitution and live-screaming-baby sacrifices in the flames. What do they do today? Have free sex, and kill the resultant baby. Only... they kill the baby while it is still in the womb, where its screams cannot be heard!! Their "Silent Scream!"
Notice what it says regarding the denial of Christ's "humanity". It is the "spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world." (1Jn4:3) What better way to deny and discredit these two most important things about Christ, than to provide substitutes for them. Get people looking at something else, and worshiping it, and they will forget Christ even exists.
Considering the elaborate fantastic lengths to which satan has gone to make this season of the year into what it is, I have no problem at all accepting the likelihood that this is the correct time of year to consider Jesus' birth. He tried to kill the baby, Jesus, right after He was born, through Herod. (Mt2) If he could have killed Him, Jesus would have never made it to the cross, and mankind would be eternally lost. Since that attempt was foiled, the next-best-thing is to make people not realize that Jesus came. Or, if they know -of- Jesus, to not see "Deity" in His humanity. So, for "Christ-MASS" we can see, merely, the -baby-. Thus, His death and resurrection loses its significance, too. If humanity has the correct date; at least, divert their hearts from the correct significance, indulging their lusts, so they won't even notice the "Savior". And mock in His face by engaging in orgies.
But again, the denial of Jesus "coming in the flesh" (1Jn4:2-3) is what? The "spirit of the Antichrist". The antichrist is coming, but his spirit is already here. Does the label "Christ-MASS" tell us where -the- Antichrist comes from? Who were the "people of the prince who is to come.." (Dan9:26) who destroyed Jerusalem in 70AD? Rome. The same people who devised "-MASS-". If you participate in the season's orgies, you worship the spirit of Antichrist.
Another little matter: Revelation ch2 speaks of the "Nicolaitans". Those of scholarly backgrounds look at history and have come up with an explanation of this, as being an over-lording "priesthood" that a man named Nicolas was guilty of in the early Church centuries. Ephesus is praised for "hating" the deeds of the Nicolaitans. And Pergamos is given blame for "holding the doctrine" of the Nicolaitans. The pope and priesthood of the catholic church (Pergamos) would certainly fit this observation, except that Ephesus today (?? baptists) holds to the same priesthood-like hierarchy, where the pastor is "the law"; and they are praised for hating nicolaitanism. Thus, I have to wonder if it isn't something else.
Who are the only ones whose "discernment" ministries dare to speak out against the evils of X-mass? Who also label St. Nick for what he is? The church of Ephesus. (Rev2:2) And who is the entity that gave us "the saints", to even have a figure called "St. Nicolas"? The church of Pergamos. Is it possible that the Scriptures spoke about Santa Claus before there ever was such an impostor? Santa Claus is certainly -AN- embodiment of the modern-day "spirit of antichrist". There is yet to come -THE- Antichrist. But Santa is certainly one of the many antichrists "already in the world". (1Jn4:3)
ANYTHING... to block the view, "in place of", or "in front of"... (anti) Jesus Christ, Who came in the flesh, to be our Savior. When the angels proclaimed, "And on earth peace, good will toward men!" (Lk2:14) people today look at "faaaamly" as they cuddle their toy reindeers, and wait for Santa to reward the children for "being good", using the attributes of Christ. "He knows if you've been bad or good..." It is only Jesus Christ Who knows the "thoughts and intents of the heart". (Heb4:12)
Yes, I suspect this is the correct season of the year. But, even if it isn't, at least it has totally usurped any real thoughts of Christ's birth, whenever it might have been. In its present form it is the "spirit of the antichrist".
Re: Likeness of Men
"..but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man.." (~Phil2:7-8) "..as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same.." (~Heb2:14) And "..was in all points tempted as we are.." (~Heb4:15)
Adding these Scriptures to the opening passage of the previous section we have an amazing picture of Jesus Christ. Jesus was born of a virgin. A young woman who did "not know a man". (Lk1:34) Jesus' birth was of the Holy Spirit (Mt1:18), and as such, was the "Son of God". (Lk1:35) It was a genuine 'miracle'.
However, His humanity is also amazing. Since man is "not independent of woman" but "comes through woman" (1Cor11:11-12), He came to earth through the womb of a woman. A process cursed with "pain" because of sin. (Gen3:16)
And while Jesus was the "Son of David", notice that His human lineage has many mars and spots in it. Judah begot Perez through incest. (Mt1:3, Gen38:24) Boaz was born of a "foreigner" who had lived life, previously, as a prostitute. (Mt1:5, Josh2:1) Solomon's parents, David and Bathsheba had had an affair, and killed her husband to cover up the deed. (Mt1:6)
And then, closer to home, Jesus' mother was suspected of immorality. Joseph was considering putting her away, because Mary was pregnant, and he knew he was not the father. (Mt1:19) And, indeed, Jesus' legacy as an adult was of having been "born of fornication". (Jn8:41) Even though it was not true... but try to convince the authorities of that!
Jesus' humanity was "tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin." (Heb4:15) He was born as we are, was circumcised as any Jewish male was (Lk2:21), got hungry as we do (Lk4:2), and was tempted by satan as we are. Yes, He was Deity; but He was "made flesh". (Jn1:14) He took on "flesh and blood". (Heb2:14)
Jesus was from the "other side of the tracks". Even though being the Son of God, He did not live as royalty. He had "nowhere to lay His head". (Mt8:20) Where the scribes and pharisees pretended to appear to be holy, He "ate and drank with tax collectors and sinners" (Lk5:30)
By all appearances, Jesus seemed to be a real loser! He was continually breaking the Sabbath. (Jn9:16) Not only was He "born of fornication" (they thought), but He also had a bunch of former prostitutes following Him and His disciples around, taking care of their meals, etc. (Mt27;55-56) Why, He even exhonerated a woman found "in the act". (Jn8:4,11) And for that matter, even today, ignoring all cultural understanding of the day, when people read of John "leaning back on Jesus' breast" (Jn13:25) they attribute "gay" labels to Jesus and the disciples. A real rebel "hippy", drunk, bisexual party animal.
Even though none of this was true, and it feels blasphemous to even be typing these kinds of words about Him; even before the crucifixion, Jesus was willing to be the brunt of these kinds of taunts. Humbling Himself to the place of not only a "man", but of a "servant". (Phil2:7) In those cultures a servant was -merely- "property". If the master wanted to abuse the servant, the servant had NO legal recourse. For Israel, God eased that matter by giving slaves freedom if the master did permanent physical damage, like poking out an eye, or knocking out a tooth. (Ex21:27) But servants were "dirt". As Jesus, even, points out, if the servant had been working all day, he did not have the luxury of coming in and relaxing. He had to yet, first, prepare the master's meal and serve the master, and -then-, he could take his own meal.(Lk17:7-8) At the Last Supper, Jesus, Guest of honor, at the head of the table, after washing the disciple's feet, the servant's job, says, "For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves." (Lk22:27)
In His own words, He "did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Mt9:13) He came, "not..to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many". (Mt20:28) He came to "..save His people from their sins". (Mt1:21)
The reason the world is full of sin and corruption, hate and war, is because "men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil". (Jn3:19) But for those who "believe in Him" (Jn3:16) the essence of His character becomes part of their essence. "Christ in you.." (Col1:27, Jn17:23)
The result is "And on earth peace, good will toward men!" (Lk2:14)
Every year I mail the words of the following song. If your computer has a sound card and speakers, you can hear the tune at the Songbook at the website.
Re: Coming Again
"I go to prepare a place for you. And 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." (Jn14:2-3) "For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout..with the trumpet of God...the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." (1Th4:16-17) "..and behold, a door open in heaven. And the..voice..was like a trumpet..saying, "COME UP HERE.." (Rev4:1)
At the Mount of Olives: "This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven". (Acts1:11) In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives.." (Zech14:4) "For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." (Mt24:27) "Now after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered [the two witnesses]...and they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "COME UP HERE.." (Rev11:12)
From these two paragraphs we see the next two stages of the Lord's return. We also see the final two stages of the "first resurrection" (Rev20:5-6) For a reminder of this 'three-stage' resurrection, may I direct newer readers to the past study on this matter:
The first stage:
occured when Jesus rose from the dead. "And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many." (Mt27:52-53) Notice at the first stage, the resurrected people "appeared" to people. This was the resurrection stage of the O.T. saints.
Jesus had been on earth, and when He rose, the O.T. saints rose just after Him (the "firstfruit"-1Cor15:23), and we must assume He took them to heaven at that time? There has always been a mystery about why Jesus needed to "ascend to the Father" and thus commanded Mary to not "cling to" Him. (Jn20:17) But then, later, He invites the disciples to touch Him and see that He was 'real'. (Lk24:39) Perhaps, after tending to Mary's needs to comfort her heart, He assembled the by-then-raised O.T. saints and delivered them to the Father?
The second stage:
will occur at the end of the N.T. Church age. As Jesus promised, He will come to the clouds and call up the resurrected ones, and those who are alive...to meet Him "in the air".
As this is being prepared, I am remembering a recent Q/A item that was shared with the e-list people, somebody speculating that Believers who are alive when it's time for the Rapture "would know WHEN" it was time to go. In thinking about the next [third] stage, and remembering the Q/A question, a thought occurs to me. If the second stage of the First Resurrection is anything like the 1st and 3rd stages, there may be something to ponder. Is it possible that the dead saints of the Church Age will rise from their graves, and walk around and appear to people, too, just like the O.T. saints did when Jesus rose? And then, does 1Th4:17 mean that those just raised, and the live Believers, will -then- "together" go up to the clouds to meet the Lord? In the lexicon this word "together" can also mean, "at the same time". In other words, the dead are raised "first" (vs16), and then "at the same time" (vs17) the resurrected and alive ones will be "caught up" to the Lord. Before you discard this as crazy, let us observe what we are perhaps being told about the 3rd stage.
Remember that the Lord does not do things without witnesses. Regarding His own resurrection He left witnesses. (Act3:15, 10:40, 1Cor15:5-8) How would the world be shown that the resurrection was -real- if they didn't see proof? The proof is in the raised -bodies-...not merely apparitional spirits like they conjure in the occult. (Lk24:39)
The third stage:
Revelation ch11 has an interesting account. We know from Dan9:27 that the 70th week is a seven-year period of time that begins with some sort of peace treaty. Thus, we know that the 70th week begins in peace. But we also know that the middle of that "week" (seven year period) will be a turning point where the sacrifices that had been instituted will be stopped. And from Revelation ch11 we see things other than "peace". And the time-frame is -very- specific. The Gentiles will "tread the holy city underfoot for 42 months" (vs2) God will introduce His "two witnesses" for 1260 days. (vs3) Based on the Jewish 30-day month, that's the same as 42 months... or 3 1/2 years. In other words, -half- of that 70th week. More specifically, the -last- half of the 70th week.
Now notice that the two witnesses are killed at the end of that time. That time being, synchronously, the end of the 42 months -AND- the end of the 7-year 70th week. After 3 1/2 days, they come back to life, stand on their feet, and people -SEE- their resurrected bodies (vs11) which had not been buried, but were left visible for people to see. (vs9)
And then, notice: they hear a loud voice, "Come up here." (vs12) And the world -watches- them ascending. Did you catch the little phrase I emphasized for our observance in the opening Scriptures? Notice that at the end of the "Church" age, the call is given, "Come up here." And then, again, at the end of the 70th week, "Come up here." Now, as Revelation contains much in the way of figurative pictures, and knowing other things we have just spoken of, what do you suppose that the resurrection of these two witnesses is also the occasion of the resurrection of the 70th week martyrs? What do you suppose that these Believers the world has killed, will show up "alive", and then will be observed rising to Heaven? When this happens the people observing "gave glory to the God of heaven" (vs13b) Remember that there -will- be 70th week converts. (Joel2:32) These are the ones who come out of "-THE- great tribulation". (Rev7:14) And notice, just like an earthquake opened the graves when Jesus rose, the same thing happens here; there is a "great earthquake". (Rev11:13)
For you who insist on a "post-trib" rapture, notice that the call "Come up here" occurs twice, but under differing circumstances. One comes "after these things" of the "seven churches". The other comes at the end of the 70th week. Two -distinct- events.
However, this second "come up here" is not yet Christ's "Second Coming", because when He comes, He does so "with" the "saints" (Zech14:5b). Certainly, that -must- also include the 70th week saints?? They are part of the "First Resurrection" who will reign with Him. (Rev20:4-5)
After this resurrection, this ends the "second woe" (vs14) and it says the "third woe is coming quickly". In other words, this resurrection occurs, and then God is ready to immediately finish His judgments, and make "The kingdoms of this world [to be]the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ.." (vs15) as He comes back to the Mount of Olives (Zech14:4), in a streak like "lightning" (Mt24:27) "with power and great glory" (vs30) which is His "Second Coming"
Do we know any other Scripture to support this? Notice that the two witnesses witness for 1260 days. However, Daniel speaks of a time period from when the "sacrifice is taken away" to some point 1290 days. (Dan12:11) That's another month past that resurrection. And then a "blessing" is invoked for those [probably of Israel? -Dan12:1] who come to 1335 days. (vs12) Another month and a half beyond that. There will be 2 1/2 months of "something" beyond the resurrection of the two witnesses. The "bowl" judgments. ch16 The astrological upheavals, earthquakes, Armageddon and finally, Christ's Second Coming.
When will this occur? "And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth." (Rev11:10)
What is the season of year where everybody makes "merry"? Hint: "MERRY X-mass" When is the season of the year where everybody exchanges gifts? Hint: ...do you need a hint? This is an observation/suggestion that is not original with me. I don't know if it is the explanation of that Scripture, or not. It is hard for me to imagine a special "new" event of 'giving gifts' -just- because these prophets are finally dead. That's not necessarily the way people are...unless they are already in a gift-giving modality...and the death of the prophets becomes that season's 'topic of rejoicing' and 'toasts' at the X-mass parties.
The two prophets are summoned, "Come up here". Seven years earlier John was called, "Come up here".
As we keep saying, the time is soon! Jesus Christ came the first time, 2000 years ago. He is due to come again soon. Due to conflicts and escalations preparatory for war and security concerns, Bethlehem this year is closed to the typical Nativity observances and remembrances of the first coming of the Prince of Peace. By the signs of the times, we know He is "at the very doors" (Mt24:33) to come again. Are you ready?