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December 12, 2000

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Q/A Topics:
Revelation 4:1 not the Rapture?

QUESTION:
Rev. 4:1 is often quoted as being the last time the church is mentioned until after the tribulation. I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone get "church" out of this verse. It is specifically speaking about JOHN being "caught up" not the Church. What do you think?

ANSWER:
You are quite correct in saying that it was "John" who was being called up in that verse.

First of all, we should realize that the book of Revelation combines the figurative and literal. If we also read Daniel, we see that prophecy is full of images/pictures. World empires portrayed as statues, trees, animals, horns, toes, etc.

The messages to the "churches" are depicted via "lampstands" and "stars", etc. ch1 So, we are functioning in the realm of images. Chs 2-3 have spoken of the seven churches. The Church is something that Christ established on this earth. He finishes His discourse to the earthly churches, and then "after these things" (4:1) John sees the door open in "heaven", with the invitation to "Come up here.." in order to be shown what is to happen "after this". In other words, there is what we know from many other studies, as the "Church age". At some point in time the Church Age comes to an end, and as John, a Believer, is called up into heaven, he is then shown what happens -after- the Church Age. And as we understand the rest of Scripture about the Rapture, we could conclude that 4:1 is a picture of the Rapture, in its correct sequence... at the end of the Church Age, and before the things "which must take place after this".

With this in mind, we see a certain solemnity regarding just 'who' is going to be raptured. Last week's rerun on "Wrath" expressed how the rapture does NOT include the "hoopla church". The hoopla church is part of "Babylon". When the rapture happens, the hoopla church will remain on earth and receive of the plagues and Babylon's DESTRUCTION, NOT "purifying".

Notice that for most of the 'churches', the warning is given to "repent or else"; they had problems. And by the time we get to Laodicea, God is "vomiting" them out of His mouth. (3:16) And once the letters to the churches are finished, it is only "John" who is called up to Heaven. His vision does not show the "seven churches" -together- going up to Heaven.

Notice that each church entry ends with "He who has an ear"... INDIVIDUALS. Now, the faithful Smyrnan church does not fit, because the faithful ones from there are martyred, "faithful until death" (2:10) They will participate in the Resurrection. The church of Thyatira has "as many as do not have this (false) doctrine" for whom God gives "no other burden" but the exhortation to "hold fast what you have till I come". And finishes with "-he- who overcomes". INDIVIDUALS (2:24-26) Sardis has "a few names (INDIVIDUALS)..who have not defiled their garments". (3:4) Where Smyrna is the martyred Believers, Philadelphia is the faithful Believers who are kept from the time of Wrath, and are exhorted to "hold fast" (3:11) But by the time God is vomiting Laodicea, there don't even seem to be any individuals left. But ends with "to him (INDIVIDUALS) who overcomes.." (3:21) What so many militantly reject today, is Laodicea's clarion called, "..be zealous and REPENT!" (vs19) If you rebelliously insist that salvation does not include "repentance", God is vomiting you out.

Just as there was the -nation- of Israel, but "most of them" were not pleasing to God; (1Cor10:5) if "most" of them were judged; that means it was the "few" (Mt7:14) who were "Israel of Israel". (Rom9:6)

It seems that the "Church" has the same affliction. Not all "christians" are "Christians". Not all church members are The Church. And so, just as Israel was broken off, so is the (hoopla) church. (Rom11:21) Just as it was the "few" of Israel who were "Jews...of the heart" (Rom2:29), so too, it is "individuals" from the Church Age who will participate in the Rapture.

Thus, it is quite illustratively fitting that -only- John is called up into Heaven in Rev4:1. Out of Sodom it was only Lot and his two daughters. Out of the whole world's population, only eight people survived the flood. The percentage as represented by John -ALONE- is the chilling reality!

Advent: Coming Again

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Where do -YOU- stand?

EDITORIAL:
It's one thing to look at "them"... whoever "them" is. But what about "you" and "me"? There is a series in the website's Library on the "Seven Churches" that was mailed originally several years ago, and re-ran at the beginning of this year. Everyone of us who claims to be a "Christian" falls into one of the seven catagories. Let's review them briefly.

EPHESUS:

This is the KJV-only, separated, soul-winning, Bible-thumping, land-mark, independent, Bible "baptist"; and any others like them. They engage in "discernment" ministries of ferreting out the false and exposing it. They are "testing those who say they are apostles and are not" (Rev2:2) And this is -good-. But they lack their "first love". They typically hold to "once saved-always saved", but ignore where it says they have "-LEFT- their first love". Notice it doesn't say they "lost" their salvation... they -LEFT-. Many of them also vehemently proclaim that "repentance is a work", thus, repentance is "not part of" salvation... apparently missing the exhortation to REPENT.

THE EXHORTATION:
"Remember from where you have fallen; REPENT... or else..." (2:5)

As a -group- entity, they will NOT be invited, "Come up here!"

SMYRNA:

Martyrs for Jesus Christ. These are not victims of the politics of the catholic-protestant wars of the middle ages. These are not victims of the Lebanese-christian conflicts of the 20th century. These are not victims of the catholic-protestant conflicts of N.Ireland. These are not even necessarily the victims of modern Islamic persecutions. Although, in all of these cases, there are sure to have been -some- "individuals" who also 'happened to be' Believers in Jesus Christ. Even though Israel is God's "chosen/elect" nation, these are not even the victims of the Nazi holocaust. Until Christ returns and their hearts are changed (Jer31:31-34) and purified (Mal3:3), "most" of Israel are not presently righteously "pleasing" to God. (1Cor10:5)

These are those who were in "the church" characterized as the "synagogue of satan". (2:9) A church/synagogue claiming to be of God, but persecuting the True Believers. (Jn16:2-3) These are those who faithfully stood upon God's Word, even though the pastor/s were promoting themselves through their programs. They were ousted from churches (some of those, even, of Ephesus) for their faithfulness; and depending on the time of history, church and politics, were even killed.

THE EXHORTATION:

  1. Do not be afraid of what will come.
  2. Be faithful unto death (vs10)
    --NO CONDEMNATION
As a -group- entity, the 'synagogue of satan' from Smyrna will NOT be invited, "Come up here!"

PERGAMOS:

This is "christendom". In the series we asked if it's possible to be in the Catholic and/or Mormon churches, and also be a Christian. We concluded that it -is- possible, because each of these entities contain 'elements' of Truth. They each have the Bible, and salvation comes through "hearing the Word of God". (Rom10:17) These are all the various denominations that worship at their "altars", whatever their rituals and liturgies might be. Their furnishings are replete with pagan symbols and expressions. Within these groups there are those who think they are Christians, but remain, thinking they can change the system. In most cases they see nothing wrong with what is going on.

THE EXHORTATION:
REPENT... or else...

As a -group- entity, they will NOT be invited, "Come up here!"

THYATIRA:

The very seat of the Roman catholic church. Utterly corrupt. Destined for God's judgment.

THE EXHORTATION:
To the faithful "individuals" within it, "Hold fast what you have till I come." (2:25)

As a -group- entity, they will NOT be invited, "Come up here!" "Repentance" isn't even an option for the entity. It will be destroyed. (Rev17-18)

SARDIS:

This is the Pretend Church. But are dead. They also do not believe in the Rapture. (3:3) They have all the trappings, but no reality.

THE EXHORTATION:
REPENT... or I will come upon you..!

As a -group- entity, they will NOT be invited, "Come up here!"
Only the "few" individuals whose "garments" have not been defiled (3:4)

PHILADELPHIA:

The faithful Church. Those who have persecuted this entity will be made to "come and worship before [their] feet". (3:9) What God has intended in judgment for the world is not intended for this entity. (vs10) This is the collection of "individuals" from all the other entities who have been faithful, but who are not martyred. Yes, they have had the "open doors", but they have also received taunts from the pretend church.

THE EXHORTATION:
"Hold fast what you have..." Continue persevering! --NO CONDEMNATION!

As a -group- entity, this group -WILL- be invited, "Come up here!" It will be in God's temple. (3:12)

LAODICEA:

This is Charismania and its relatives...the current apostasy all rolled into one. There are -NO- "individuals" in this group. They are -totally- ready to be "vomited" out.

THE EXHORTATION:
REPENT --NO PRAISE

As a -group- entity, they will NOT be invited, "Come up here!"

DEAR READER:
Of which entity are you? Philadelphia or Laodicea? While we can look around and see various subtleties of the preceding 'five', each (live) "individual" claiming a connection to christendom essentially finds himself in either Philadelphia or Laodicea.

Notice that the choices (please read these two chapters, Rev 2-3) are either 1) Life with Christ and God in His kingdom and His temple, or 2) Being removed as an entity with God's label, being thrown out, being vomited out, being destroyed.

If the entity was not found pleasing to God, what is the exhortation? Believe the Gospel? Make a committment? Pray? You know, that's what the modern apostasy is telling people to do. They tell people to "have faith", and "believe". Appropriate the "power of prayer". And that's -ALL- they tell people to do. Apparently they didn't read this passage..!

The repeated exhortation is to... --REPENT--

Much of the apostasy also says that you need to believe "first"..and that, once you've become a Christian, -then- you repent. There are also those who say you don't need to be "sorry" or "humbled" to be saved. I guess they missed, "For Godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation.." (2Cor7:10) Notice the order? "Lament and mourn and weep! Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up" (Jas4:9-10) When one sees one's utter sinfulness, they are "cut to the heart" (Ac2:37) with the conviction (Jn16:8) of their sin. They repent (Ac2:38), and then "receive" (Jn1:12) God's forgiveness.

Thus, the exhortation to the unbelieving churches is the first thing they need to do, "Repent". Once the sinner does that, the Lord takes care of the SAVING. But if the rebellion is so strong, what good does it do to present the Gospel? All of these churches, except the martyrs of Smyrna and the faithful of Philadelphia are into rebellion and sin of all sorts. They are blaspheming God, killing and persecuting His followers, worshiping satan and teaching "doctrines of demons". (1Tm4:1, Rev2:24) Of what good is the Gospel to them? And since they have the label "church", they actually -know- the Gospel. Ephesus knows all about "sola fide", and the catholic and mormon churches have the Bible and know about Jesus Christ dying on the cross. But they are under the condemnation of "or else.." The Gospel they proclaim is not saving them. They need to REPENT.

The preceding Q/A begins by discussing the Rapture. You know, another error I was reminded of recently is regarding 'how' they perceive that God is going to make the kingdoms of this world into His own. They begin with the premise of God ruling from Zion. (Ps110:2) They say Zion is the "Church", and continue on with "your people shall be volunteers" (vs3) to do God's work. They say that Christ won't come back to earth until the "Church" has finished all God's work of rooting out the evil, and making the earth into a righteous place. Again... they miss the fact that Israel and the Church are not the same, and that Christ, Himself, will be coming and waging war from His "white horse" (Rev19:11) [Editor: I just discovered the other day that the translator of the MKJV, even, included a chapter heading for Ps83 in the 1999 edition, labeling it as being about the "Church"!! Well...he follows "calvin" and they specialize in the authors of the reformation. What else would one expect!]

Dear reader, you may think the 'tone' of this mailing is "harsh", but this is a matter of some urgency. The Lord's coming is soon! You can pretend, if you wish, that the Lord won't come until the Church as made ready for Him; even though He clearly promised to "prepare a place" for the Believer. (Jn14:2) You can pretend that you don't need to repent. You can pretend that you are a "Christian" because you have known the Lord 'all your life', or made a committment at some point, and that you "believe", or that you were suddenly one time overwhelmed by His presence and thus knew you were saved. And you can refuse the pleas of the small handful of God's messengers, to humble yourself before God. You can rest on the historical doctrines of the "great men" who taught "sola fide". But you, then, can also be recipient of God's "..or else.."

Yes, He is coming soon. If you REFUSE TO heed His exhortation to REPENT, and find that He came and you are left behind, you can pretty much kiss your chances 'good bye' that you can -then- be saved. God is going to "send..strong delusion" IN ORDER THAT you will "believe the lie". Why? "Because [you] -DID- NOT receive the love of the truth, that [you] might be saved" (2Th2:10-11) God is quite purposeful in this statement. If you continue in your rejection of His truth -now-, -then- it will be too late. Where He presently has "not purposed" for you to perish (2Pt3:9), -then- He will... "..THAT they all may be condemned who DID NOT believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2Th2:12) You had your chance, but REFUSED to heed. Then, God is going to SEE TO IT that you don't, "..for the time is at hand. He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still.." (Rev22:10-11)

That is why it says, "..now is the day of salvation." (2Cor6:2b) If you REFUSE to repent now, when you KNOW BETTER, Christ will come to call the Believers to Himself, and you will be left standing outside the door, knocking, and He will deny ever knowing you. (Mt7:23, Lk13:25)

It's not that you "don't know", you who cling to the Scriptures. You know. But your pride keeps you from humbling yourself before God. To repent requires humility; and not very many people are willing to be humbled. Even the word "humbled" has come to mean the opposite of its true meaning, in these days. When accolades are heaped upon somebody, when they get up to acknowledge the praise, they proclaim that they are "humbled"; while, meanwhile, their hearts are bursting, brimming with PRIDE. Most people are following satan who promised, "you shall be like God" (Gen3:5), as that was his clamor, "I will be like the Most High" (Is14:14) For a long time when people would object to the Scriptural exhortations to repent I figured Repentance was not understood. [If you don't understand it because you are a more recent subscriber, please check it out at the website: TopicSearch -> "repentance". You will find a -multitude- of writings there, approaching the subject from every-which-way] But a month or two ago the Lord made me see, one day, that the problem is not any kind of lack of understanding. The understanding in individual hearts is -quite- clear. But that is the problem... the HEART. Pride.

The choice is yours. But don't dilly dally around! You haven't much time left! Repent... or else...!

Amen!

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