Knock, Knock

                “So we have this street?” I asked.

                “Uh, yes,” Steve replied.

                “Well, these two houses are for sale,” I said. “And they both look empty. And Elder Nathan said that we’re to avoid house number 114, which is that one.”

                “Well, let’s try this one,” Steve said. We walked to the door and I rang the doorbell.

                “Good evening, sir,” Steve said. “We were in your neighborhood and thought we’d stop by.”

                “Well, it’s good to see you,” the man replied. “My name’s Collin Martin and yours is?”

                “Steve Johnson,” Steve replied.

                “Richard Davidson,” I replied, shaking his hand.

                “Anyways,” Steve continued, “we came to offer you our latest Watchtower magazine. This one has an interesting article about ‘Maintaining Your Marriage.’ We’d like to leave this with you and also offer you a free home Bible study.”

                “Well I’d be happy to take this magazine in a minute,” Collin replied. “But can I ask you a few questions first?”

                “Alright,” Steve replied hesitantly, looking at me.

                “Who is your final authority?” Collin asked.

                “Well, it’d be the Bible,” I answered.

                “If I could prove, from the Bible, that Jesus is, indeed, God, and not Michael the Archangel, would you believe it?”

                “You can’t,” Steve challenged. I, for one, was eager to see if someone could, since Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus is Michael the Archangel, not God.

                “Well, let’s turn to Isaiah 9:6,” Collin said, “and let’s read it:

                For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

                “Well,” Steve countered, “it says ‘Mighty God’; not ‘Almighty God.’”

                “No,” Collin replied firmly, “it says ‘The Mighty God’. Your Society agrees with the King James Version; they still use it today. The King James says ‘The Mighty God’.

                “Turn to Isaiah 7:14,” Collin continued. He turned to the passage and read:

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

                “Look at Matthew 1:23,” Collin said. “Steve, will you please read it?”

                Steve looked at his Bible and read:

“‘Look! The virgin will become pregnant and will give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel,” which means, when translated, “With Us Is God’.”

                “With us is God,” Collin repeated. “Look at that: even the New World Translation calls Jesus God.”

                “Well—” Steve began.

                “Turn to John 5:17-18,” Collin said, “and let’s read it:

But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”

                “We have to go,” Steve interjected. “Have a good day.”

                We turned and took several steps away from his house. “Don’t be late for your next appointment!” Collin called after us. “For eternity in Hell is a long time to be wrong.”

                I paused briefly, then continued walking. What did he mean?

                “He must be one of those born-agains,” Steve told me a little while later.

                “Maybe,” I replied.

                A couple of weeks passed. I kept reading those verses over and over, pondering what Collin said. “Don’t be late…long time to be wrong.” What did he mean? I knew we would use “another appointment” when we could see that the person was not listening during a Bible study. Is that what Collin was referring to?

                “Brother Davidson, good to see you,” John Tyler greeted me after a meeting. “I suppose you heard Rachel Bevins was disfellowshipped?”

                “Rachel Bevins,” I repeated, trying to recollect who John was talking about.

                “You remember,” John said, “the girl who got pregnant—“

                “Oh her,” I said, remembering. “Disfellowshipped, huh? Poor girl, she has no money.”

                “That’s her fault,” John said. “If she’d kept in line, she’d still be here.”

                “True,” I said. “Well John, I’d better be going.”

                “Alright. See you next time,” John replied.

                As I drove home, I thought about the disfellowshipping process. The person was brought before three elders, faced the charges, and then punished accordingly. Disfellowshipped ones were not to be spoken to, helped, or contacted in any way. “And people like Rachel, I don’t think it will take long for her to get back in line,” I said to myself. Those who repented were often welcomed back into the organization sometime later. I had faced that committee of three elders once myself: until I finally dropped all contact with my born-again uncle. He had been a JW, but was converted…

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A Final Night

                “Well,” I stated as we returned from Grove Hill, Alabama, “this is the last night, I guess.”

                “Yeah, I guess so,” Felicity agreed.

                We grabbed our things and headed inside.

                “Good evening,” Pastor Mast greeted us. “It’s good to see you again.”

                “Thank you,” I replied.

                The prelude began at 6:27 that evening.

                “Well good evening,” Pastor stated when the service began. “Let’s open with a word of prayer.”

                Everyone bowed their head.

                “Lord we thank You for this day and for Your Word. Bless this service we pray and give us traveling safety when we leave tonight. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

                “Please take your hymn books and turn to hymn number 489; hymn number 489, ‘Glory to His Name’, please stand.”

                “Down at the cross…” we started.

                “You may be seated,” Pastor stated when the song was done.

                We all sat down.

                “Now, we’re going to do things a little different tonight,” Pastor Mast began. “As anybody does, we have questions. So before we close, we’re going to give everyone a chance to ask a question, and we’ll try to answer it. Afterwards we’ll sing another song, take a general offering, and then we’ll close and the refreshments and cookies will be available after the service.

                “So what we’ll do is rotate speakers for the questions,” Pastor explained. “We’ll give each speaker a chance to answer three questions at a time, and if you have a specific question for a speaker, ask it at his turn, and if any one of you speakers has a comment on a specific topic, feel free to voice your opinion. So Brother Antoine, you’re first.”

                “Turn me loose on the audience, eh?” Antoine asked.

                Several laughed.

                “Who’s first?” Antoine inquired.

                Someone raised their hand. Antoine nodded.

                “Um, when this conference started,,” the person began, “you talked about Charity Ministries; could you explain exactly who that is?”

(Click below to finish reading)

http://baptistreporter.com/baptist-report/a-final-night

A Wedding

Okay, so perhaps this isn’t your typical Bible conference post, but at any rate, I thought I’d share it with you.

                Now, as many of you know, I don’t normally share personal stories. But after a little thought, I decided to ask Antoine about this. As you remember from A Day with the Millers, my family and I spent an entire day with Brother Antoine. It was then that he shared this story with us while we were on tonight’s topic. Antoine told us this story, and linked it to the subject. So after talking to him, I decided to release this story.

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The Future…

(Formerly After the Rapture)

“Well,” I said Monday morning as we finished breakfast, “is any one ready for Natchez today?”

                “Natchez?” Susie asked.

                “It’s about two and a half hours from here,” I replied. “But I thought we could try it.”

*                                             *                                           *                                            

                “Well, look at that,” I said as we arrived at the church that evening. “We’re here at 6:20.”

                We climbed out of the car and quickly walked to the church. We found our seats as soon as the pianist began the prelude. After the opening, Pastor Mast handed things over to Brother Daniel Shelley.

                “Good evening,” Daniel began. “It’s good to see you all tonight. Please take your Bibles and turn to Revelation, chapter 4, verse one:

                “‘After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

                “We’ve been looking at various views of eschatology, and now I want to look at ‘After the Rapture’, which is my topic this evening.

                “Here in Revelation chapter 4,” Daniel continued, “God tells John He will show him things ‘which must be hereafter’.   By the way, Brother David mentioned ‘That Blessed Hope’ yesterday morning. Here’s something else to think about: John goes up to Heaven, symbolizing the Rapture. Notice God tells him, ‘Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.’ More proof for a Pre-Tribulational Rapture; just a thought.”

                Several chuckled.

                “So to continue,” Brother Shelley stated, “after John enters Heaven, he sees this thing about the scroll that Antoine mentioned a couple of days ago, and only Jesus can open these seals, as Brother Miller stated.

                “So if we take a look at this chapter,” Daniel continued, “well, starting in chapter six, technically, we read of the events as Jesus opens the seals.

                “Revelation 6,” Daniel stated. “Starting in verse one: ‘And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.’ Here we see the Antichrist is released upon the world. 2nd Thessalonians 2:3-4 says, ‘Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.’ This would be when the Antichrist is revealed, which would occur after the Rapture.

                “The second seal is in Revelation 6:3-4. This is interpreted as war. While the Antichrist is setting up this one-world government and economic system, Daniel tells us, in Daniel 7:8, that the little horn (the Antichrist) plucks up three of the ten kings. ‘I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.’ I personally believe that here in Revelation six, this war would have something to do with the Daniel passage.

                “The next seal is famine. Famine often follows war, as anyone who has studied history can tell you. The fourth seal is Death; Death roams the earth killing one out of every four persons on planet earth, and instantly sending them to Hell. Talk about Grim Reaper!”

                Several laughed.

                “Now let’s think for a minute here before we carry on,” Brother Shelley continued. “You know, probably some of you have heard, ‘Oh, there’s about two billion Christians in this world!’ Or, ‘Christendumb’—and yes, I spell that d-u-m-b like some others—‘is the largest religion on earth!’ Well I’m sorry, but Morons—I mean, uh, Mormons—Jehovah’s False Witnesses, Catholics, etc. are not on their way to Heaven. If you believe you can eventually become a god, or if you don’t believe Jesus Christ is God the Son, or if you believe that a little piece of Styrofoam-tasting bread is Jesus, then you are not on your way to Heaven.

                “I think a more accurate count is 200 million,” Dan went on. “So imagine if 200 million people disappeared. This world, especially the Orient and the Western world, panics. Now, why do I say that? All of a sudden, all these people disappear. The Orientals, like China, though they don’t particularly care for Christians, are extremely concerned about missing people. And if all of a sudden, fifty to one hundred million people disappear, they would really panic. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I think there’s probably Christians in Africa and the Middle East, but less people means more food, more jobs, and less “infidels” to worry about.

                “Now, here in this Western world,” Daniel continued, “and by Western I mean most of Europe, Israel, Canada, and other US allies; while most people who profess to be Christian are so shallow they ain’t, there is a good number of real Christians who are in prominent positions.

                “So imagine,” Daniel resumed, “if suddenly 200 million people disappear from off this planet. Car wrecks by the thousands, missing person reports in the millions, probably airliner crashes, bridges collapse, etc. Everyone is crying and panicking—and suddenly, one man enters the scene, and declares his ability to solve everything. This is the Antichrist, though he won’t be recognized for now. He comes along and settles everything. He’ll probably have some explanation for all of these problems, including the missing persons.

                “So everything is set up,” Brother Shelley continued, “and everything seems to be fine, except for all of these ‘natural disasters’, caused by God’s judgment.

                “So now, if we turn back to these seals,” Daniel continued, “we see here in Revelation chapter 6, verses 12-17, Jesus opens the sixth seal. There’s earthquakes, and all kinds of strange things in the sky, and everyone, man, woman, and child, is scared.

                “Now let’s turn to Revelation chapter 8,” Daniel went on, “we find the Trumpet judgments. The first one sounds, and blood, fire, and hail fall to the earth. The second one sounds and a burning mountain is cast into the sea, and a third part of the ocean becomes blood; one out of every three fish dies; and thirty-three percent of the ships are destroyed. The third one sound, and a third of all the fresh water becomes bitter. The fourth one sounds and the third part of the day becomes dark and a third part of the night becomes darker.”

                David paused for a drink. “I think this is near the half-way point; probably into the last half of the Great Tribulation by this time.

                “Now, some have interpreted Revelation 9:1-11 as helicopters; wouldn’t it wreck a helicopter if it was to whack someone with the tail?”   

                Several laughed.

                “The sixth trumpet involves a large army, which kills the third part of men,” Daniel resumed. “Each judgment gets worse as time goes on, in case you haven’t noticed.       

                “Now, here in Revelation 11, we find the Two Witnesses. It appears that these two will be preaching for the first three and one-half years. And, while we’re on the subject, I want to mention the 144,000 Jews. Some people have wondered as to whether or not these 144,000 will be preaching. I would say it certainly seems possible; they are mentioned in Revelation chapter seven and right after them is mentioned the Tribulation saints. Also, Jesus said, ‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come’ (Matthew 24:14). Whether He is referring to the Rapture or His Second Coming, I don’t know, but I’ll at least throw this in. 

                “Now I’d better be moving, or Amos is going to run out of paper,” David remarked.

                Several chuckled.

                “Half-way through the Great Tribulation, the Antichrist enters the temple that he managed to get built forty-two months earlier, declares he’s God, and demands worship. The mark appears and is the only way to buy or sell. I would also suggest that this is when Zechariah 13:8 is fulfilled, when 2 out of every 3 Jews are killed, and the rest flee to the wilderness as described in Revelation 12. From that point on for the next three and one-half years, the Antichrist will rule the world with an iron fist.

                “Let’s turn to Revelation 16,” Daniel stated. “Here we see the Vial judgments. The first one is a horrible disease; the second causes all the oceans to turn to blood and kills everything in them. The third causes all of the fresh water to become blood; the sun becomes extremely hot with the forth vial; worse than anything we’ve seen here on this earth so far. The fifth vial causes darkness so strong it can be felt. The sixth vial dries up the Euphrates; and the seventh causes fierce storms, a great earthquake, and extremely large hail stones, around seventy-five to one hundred pounds each.

                “At the end of these horrible judgments, the armies of the world, including America, are gathered against Jerusalem to battle, and the worst war up to this point begins. Jesus said that ‘Except those days should be shortened, no flesh should be saved’ (Mark 13:20).

                “Now, what happens?” Daniel asked. “According to the Bible, Zechariah 14:1-3, God will gather all nations to Jerusalem to battle. The city is taken, and the mop-up begins. Then, suddenly, Mark 13:24, ‘But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.’ Zechariah says, in chapter 14:3, ‘Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.’ Behind Jesus on His white horse, Revelation 19:11 and following, are the armies of Heaven, which are described in Joel 2. We arrive on the earth, clear out the armies of earth, and rescue the remaining Jews.

                “Once this battle is done,” Daniel went on, “the 1,000-year reign of Christ, where the lion shall lay down with the lamb, will begin.

                “At the end of this period,” Daniel continued, “Satan is loosed for a little season, and gathers Gog and Magog and makes his final attempt to fight God. Fire comes down out of Heaven, destroys the army, and the Devil will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. Then, 2nd Peter 3:10, ‘But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.’ Revelation 20:11-15 describes the Great White Throne Judgment, where all those who did not receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, those who do not have their names in the Book of Life, will be sentenced to the Lake of Fire, to be tormented day and night forever.

                “Final thought,” Daniel stated. “After the judgment, John says, ‘And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.’ Once the Great White Throne Judgment has occurred, a new Heaven and a new Earth will be created, and we will be with God forever and forever.

                “Revelation 22:1-5,” Daniel announced:

                “‘And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.’”

Eins Zwei Drei

(Originally Three People)

“Well,” I stated as we pulled up to the church that evening, “look at that: We’re the only ones here except for the Pastor and his family and David and his wife.”  

                We climbed out of the car and headed for the church.  

                “Good evening, Amos,” Pastor greeted us as he opened the door.

                “Good evening,” I replied.

                “Amos,” David stated. “Mr. Short-hand.”

                “I guess that’s my conference name now, eh?” I asked.

                “Well, it fits, don’t it?” David asked.

                “Perhaps,” I replied.

                We talked for several minutes, while others began arriving. Then, as six o’clock neared, the pianist began the prelude.

                “Good evening,” Pastor Mast opened the service. “Let’s open with a word of prayer.”

                Everyone bowed his head.

                “Father we thank You for this day and for the safety we’ve had today. We thank You for allowing us to meet here tonight, and we pray You will bless  this service. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

                We carried on much the same as the morning, and then Peter Burkholder stood up to preach.

                “Well good evening again,” Peter began. “Let’s take our Bibles to 1st Corinthians 10:32. 1st Corinthians 10:32:

                “‘Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

                “My topic tonight is ‘Three People’,” Peter announced. “Today in the Church, there is another theological view called Replacement Theology. This theological position often trails along with these twisted views of eschatology that we’ve been looking at.

                “Replacement Theology states that the Church has replaced Israel, and all the promises of blessing made to Israel are now for the Church.

                “Replacement theologians will take you to Matthew 23:38 for example and tell you, ‘Jesus told the Jews their house is left desolate. You see? That means that Israel is done!’ Or they’ll tell you that all denunciations of the Pharisees and rulers of Israel is automatically a denunciation of all of Israel. They will take you to Matthew 21:31, where Jesus tells the Pharisees that the publicans and harlots enter the kingdom of God before them. Or they will take you to Matthew 21:43 where Jesus says, ‘Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof’ and say this proves God is done with Israel. Or, they’ll even take you to Romans 11:17-36 where Paul discusses being grafted in, and they’ll say, “You see? We have been grafted in! The Bible literally says we’re the spiritual Israel.’”

                Several laughed.

                “Yes, we are literally the spiritual Israel,” Peter replied. “I have heard people say it, perhaps not in that simple of language, but that’s the basic point of what they say. And then they’ll say, ‘God’s Words—not mine.’

                “But let’s take a look at the Bible and see what ‘God’s Words’ really say,” Peter stated.

                “Let’s begin here in 1st Corinthians. Paul says, ‘Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:’. Offend ‘neither…the Jews, nor…the Gentiles’—if you’re not a Jew you’re a Gentile—nor…the church of God.’ Now, you’d have to be blind to not see these three divisions: Jews, Gentiles, and church of God. Paul didn’t say, ‘the Church and the unsaved’; he said ‘Jews…Gentiles…church of God’. Sounds like Israel and the Church are two separate people to me.”

                “Amen!” someone shouted.

                “Turn over to Genesis 17,” Peter continued. “Here God talks to Abram, changes his name to Abraham, and promises to give him a son. Then in verse seven, God says, ‘And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.’ Verse thirteen, ‘He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.’ And verse nineteen, ‘And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.’ ‘Everlasting covenant’. Folks, everlasting means everlasting; not ‘I’m establishing this covenant with you until I DECIDE WHEN TO QUIT IT!’

                “Let’s turn to Exodus 3:15,” Peter stated. “‘And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.’ If this is God’s Name forever and His memorial unto all generations, I’d guess that God’s Name is still ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’.

                “Turn to Psalm 105:10,”  Peter stated. “Here David writes, ‘And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:’. I’m just skipping around, giving you a sample. David describes the covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (who is Israel, you know) as an everlasting covenant. It isn’t very everlasting if God now gives the promises to the Church.

                “Oh, by the way,” Peter began, “have you ever noticed Replacement theologians always want to take the blessing and never the curses? Just a thought.”

                Several laughed.

                “Turn back to Ezra 3:11,” Peter resumed. “Ezra 3:11, ‘And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.’ God’s ‘mercy endureth forever toward Israel?’ How does this work?   

                “How about Nehemiah 9:31? Here Nehemiah says, ‘Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God.’ If God hadn’t forsaken them then, why would He forsake them now?

                “You say, ‘Well, yes, but they’ve rejected the Messiah.’ So what? They had to reject Jesus in order for Him to die, as Daniel 9:26 and Isaiah 53 state. Replacement theologians apparently forgot that small, insignificant detail.”

                Laughter rippled across the room.

                “Let’s take a look at Jeremiah 31 and then we’ll close,” Peter stated. “Jeremiah 31. First the prophet starts off with recording what God says; starting in verse three: ‘The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.’ Oops! There’s that word everlasting again!. ‘Everlasting love’; interesting. God then goes on to describe the restoration of Israel from verse four to verse seven. Then, all of a sudden, God declares—well, some people think Satan brought Israel back in ’48. Satan wouldn’t have anything good to do with Israel, as far as that goes, but at any rate—God says, He will bring them back. ‘He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.’ God scattered Israel, as Deuteronomy 28 says, and now, God says, HE will gather them.

                “If we continue on in this chapter,” Peter continued, “you’ll see God describes a spiritual restoration; that is, He will restore Israel’s spiritual condition to holiness to the Lord. Oh, by the way: Guess what? God speaks of two restorations, a physical, and a spiritual, and then guess what? He splits it into two separate parts! WOW! Maybe those ‘wicked’ dispensationalists are right after all!”

                The congregation broke into applause.

                “There’s a story told,” Peter continued, “about this chapter. The story is that a preacher was trying to reach the Jews in the area, so he advertised his next sermon would be ‘How to Destroy the Jews’. Well, come Sunday, the Church was crowded: Muslims, Calvinists, Catholics, Protestants, Replacement theologians, etc. And there on the front row, where most people don’t sit, were rabbis, and Jewish reporters, and the Anti-Defamation League and finally, when the pastor got up to preach, he said, ‘Take your Bibles and turn to Jeremiah 31:35-37,’ and began reading. When he got done reading, one rabbi nudged a friend of his and said, ‘I think it’s going to be okay.’”

                Everyone laughed.

                “In conclusion,” Peter stated, “most of you here probably just watch movies; Antoine and I have worked on a couple of films, and here’s something to think about: In any type of drama, whether film or theatrical, you can only do one scene at a time. And sometimes you have to have an actor step away in order for another actor to take over. Then, when the second one has his part done, the first one comes back to work.

                “The same is true here: God, the Director of the film of life, has sent Israel back-stage while the Church carries out her job, and then, when God’s ready, He will send the Church back-stage and Israel will return to the front.

                “So let’s remember Jeremiah 31:35-37,” Peter concluded:

                “‘Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.’”

Hope We Have

(Formerly That Blessed Hope)

“Well, well,” I stated as we walked up to the church on Sunday morning. “Seems like we did this a week ago.”

            Felicity looked at me. “That’s because we did,” she bantered.

            “I know,” I replied.

            “Good morning,” Brother Max, one of the ushers, greeted us. “It’s good to see you again.”

            “Thank you,” I replied.

            We chatted for a couple of minutes and then swam to our seats when the prelude began.

            “Good morning,” Pastor Mast announced. “Let’s open with a word of prayer.”

            Everyone stood and bowed their head.

            “Lord we thank You for this day and for the time here that we have together. Bless this service we pray, and help us through the rest of our week. Thank You, dear Lord, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

            “Please take your hymn books and turn to hymn number 489; hymn number 489, ‘Glory to His Name’,” Pastor Mast announced.

            “Down at the cross where my Saviour died…” we all began.

            “Hymn number 492; 492, ‘Jesus Loves Even Me’,” he announced next.

            “I am so glad that our Father in Heaven…” we began again.

            “You may be seated,” Pastor Mast stated.

            Everyone sat down.

            Pastor Mast ran through the announcements, then we sang two more songs (I’ve a Home Beyond the River and My Home, Sweet Home), then we had the offering. Afterwards we sang two more songs (Meet Me There and Face to Face), and then Brother Yoder stepped to the pulpit.

                “Well good morning,” Brother Yoder began. “Please take your Bibles and turn to Titus 2. Titus 2, verses 11 through 14:

                “‘For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

                “My topic this morning is ‘That Blessed Hope’. For the past several days we’ve been looking at eschatological views, and comparing them to Scripture. Today, this morning, I want to prove a view: I will prove to you the Pre-Tribulational view of Scripture.

                “Here in this passage,” Brother David went on, “Paul says that the grace of God has appeared to all men, and has taught us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should ‘live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world’. Romans 6:1-2 says, ‘What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’ Peter said, ‘Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless’ in 2nd Peter 3:11-14. Last week I spoke on 1st John 2:27-29, ‘Having Confidence’. Verse 28 says, ‘And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.’ The Bible is real clear, we should live in a manner that will please God, so that when He comes, we will be ready.

                “So the question this morning is: When is He coming? Well, the Bible doesn’t tell us in one passage ‘Jesus is coming before Daniel’s Seventieth Week’; there isn’t a verse that says that. If there was, there would be no debate about it.

                “BUT,” David stated, “a person can find a Pre-Tribulational Rapture IF they study carefully. I keep saying we’ll see that but I keep rambling on.”

                Several laughed.

                “Let’s start here in Matthew 24,” Brother David stated. “Here in this chapter, the disciples ask Jesus about the end times. In verse 15, Jesus says, ‘When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.’ Then ‘let them which be in Judæ’ flee. We’re not in Judæ, nor are we Jews. Furthermore, as Jess pointed out last night, we do not have to be concerned about the Sabbath. Those whom Jesus is speaking to are concerned about the Sabbath, or else they wouldn’t have to pray to not have to flee on the Sabbath.

                “Now let’s back up here a bit while we’re in Matthew and go to chapter 16. Matthew 16:17, 18, and 19:

                “‘And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’

                “Here Jesus tells Peter—(the ‘first pope’, by the way)—that Jesus will build His Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. But Daniel says, in Daniel 7:21, the little horn ‘made war with the saints and prevailed against them’. Unless you believe in a Pre-Trib Rapture, which distinguishes between Church-age saints and Tribulation saints, you have a contradiction between Daniel 7:21 and Matthew 16:17-19.

                “Here’s another contradiction,” David continued. “Turn back to Matthew 24. Verses 29 and 30 say, ‘Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.’ Here Jesus says, ‘Everyone will know when I’m coming.’ Even Antichrist knows, because over in Revelation 19, he’s there to meet Jesus at the Battle of Armageddon. Mark 13:24-26 says the same thing: Everyone knows He’s coming. So it’s pretty clear, everyone knows when Jesus is coming. Revelation says, ‘Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall mourn because of him. Even so, Amen” (Revelation 1:7). Everyone will know exactly when Jesus is coming at the end of the Great Tribulation, or the ‘time of Jacob’s trouble’. After all, doesn’t it sound like there’s a sign that announces, ‘Jesus is coming!’?

                “But guess what?” David asked. “Matthew 24:36-51, Mark 13:32-37, Luke 12:35-40 and Luke 17:26-37 all indicate that no one, repeat, no one will know when Jesus is coming. We’re here in Matthew 24; let’s read it.

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 

                “Turn to Luke 12:35-40. ‘Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.’ I don’t think Scripture could be plainer—no one will know when Jesus is coming. I don’t know about you, but my King James Bible in English (with a capital e) doesn’t have any contradictions.”

                “That’s right!” someone called.

                “If you don’t believe in a Pre-Tribulational Rapture,” David continued, “I don’t know how you’re going to reconcile these things. Either we spilt the Second Coming into two parts, in such a manner that Jesus comes before the Tribulation for the Church, and after the Tribulation with the Church to rescue Israel, which will clear the Bible of any charges; or, you have some serious problems, contradictions existing in the Bible. And don’t let the atheists catch wind of this, or they will really laugh at you: “Oh, do you have contradictions in your Bible? Do you finally see what we’re talking about?’”

                Many laughed.

                “Furthermore,” David continued, “the Bible calls Daniel’s Seventieth Week ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble’! Jacob is Israel, not the Church. The Great Tribulation, the worst time of earth, is to purify Israel, not the Church, which is already purified.

                “And what kind of ‘blessed hope’ is it, if it wasn’t Pre-Trib?” David persisted. “If we had to go through any part of the Great Tribulation, it would not be ‘blessed’, but ‘cursed’.

                “Also: Where in the Bible are we told to look for the Antichrist? You could search all of today, and all of tonight, and all of tomorrow, and all of tomorrow night, and you would never find ONE passage that says we must look for the Antichrist. Instead, we are told many times to look for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

                “So in conclusion,” David stated, “I want us to remember two very precious verses: Luke 21:36 and Philippians 3:20-21:

“‘Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.’

                “Let’s pray,” David stated.   

                All of us bowed our heads.              

                “Father we thank You for this day, and for the time we’ve spent here. We thank You that ‘we shall not all sleep’ but ‘we shall all be changed’ at the last trump, when You call us up to Heaven before that ‘great and terrible day of the Lord come’. Help us all to be ready for Your glorious return, the Pre-Tribulational Rapture. And Lord, as we finish up this conference this week, I ask You bless those who will watch the DVDs, those who will read Amos’ reports, and those who will hear the audio recordings. And Lord, if anyone here, or watching or listening to or reading about this conference, if they don’t know You as their personal Lord and Saviour, don’t let them go another day until they settle this issue. And Lord, if someone here or watching or listening to this conference or reading Amos’ papers does not believe in this ‘blessed hope of the great God and our Saviour’, our Lord Jesus Christ, or the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, help them to study it out and see for themselves that what we have said and will say here in this conference is straight from Your Word. Bless us now as we leave, and bring us all here again tonight if it be Your will. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

                “Please take your hymn books and turn to Saved by Grace, hymn number 512, Saved by Grace; we’ll sing all the verses,” David announced.

                We sang the song, and then Pastor Mast closed:

                “Lord we thank You for this day and for this message, and we pray for Your guidance and blessing through the rest of today and all of this week. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

                “You’re dismissed,” Pastor continued, “we look forward to seeing you tonight. Go, and have a good and a godly week.”