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

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.”

Quick Repost

“Well,” I said as we finished breakfast Wednesday morning, “are we all ready?”

                “Almost,” Steve answered.

                “Where are we going today?” Susie asked.

                “Jackson,” I replied. “I thought we’d go to Jackson; it’s another hour and a half.”

                “Well let’s go ahead and go,” Felicity stated. “Did you want your water?”

*                                             *                                             *                                             *                                             *

                “Good evening,” Peter greeted us that evening as we walked into the church. “I’m Peter Burkholder.”

                “Amos Kauffman,” I replied, and introduced the others.

                “Do you have a ten-gallon hat?” I asked him.

                He smiled. “No, but I ought to,” he replied.

                “David told us you were from Texas,” I told him.

                “Where ya’ll from?” Peter asked.

                “Kearney,” I answered.

                “Oh!” Peter exclaimed. “That’s a long ways away.”

                “Only about seventeen hours one way,” I told him.

                “Wow,” he replied. “Seventeen hours.”

                “We’re staying here for the whole conference,” I assured him.

                “Well I’d reckon you’d stay here; you couldn’t drive back and forth,” he replied.

                Suddenly an idea struck me. “What hotel are you staying in?” I asked.

                “Motel 6,” Pete replied.

                “Really?” I asked. “Which room?”

                “It’s on the lower story,” he said.            

                I chuckled. “We’re on the upper story in the same hotel,” I stated.

                “Really?” he asked in disbelief. “That’s funny.”

                “So now I’m going to ask,” Peter began, “just because I’m curious, how’d you meet Pastor Mast?”

                “We get a newsletter from Antoine and his ministry, and he announced the conference,” I said. “David told us what everyone did and where everyone is from; we already knew about Antoine, but the rest were new.”

                The prelude began. We departed to our seats and sat down.

                After the opening, Pastor handed it over to Brother Daniel Shelley.

                “Good evening,” Brother Shelley began. “Please take your Bibles and turn to Revelation 22:20-21. Revelation 22:20-21. My title is ‘I Come Quickly’.

                “‘He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.’   

                “Jesus gave John the vision of the Book of Revelation,” Brother Shelley began. “In Revelation chapter 1, we see Jesus appearing to John on the Isle of Patmos. Jesus tells him to write what he’s seen and what he’ll see down, and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia. Now, I don’t believe this church-age thing; the system of belief that Martin Luther was the angel of the Philadelphian age or the Reformation era; or that this certain church ‘father’ was the angel for this age; or that age; or that this ‘preacher’—whatever his name is, William Branham, I think—is the angel for the Laodicea age. I do believe, however, that the churches represent the entire course of church history, but like someone else pointed out, the Rapture could only be imminent if all the churches were to represent a period of time until the Rapture. I believe that each church represents one age that began at a certain time and will continue until the Rapture, but the Rapture could have taken place during any church period. For example, the letter to Smyrna mentions ‘tribulation ten days’; I believe Jesus could be referring to the ten periods of Roman persecution. But at any rate, John was given this revelation concerning things to come.”

                Daniel looked around at the congregation.

                “How many of you here believe in Amillennialism?” he asked.

                No hands went up.

                “How many of you aren’t entirely sure as to what you believe about eschatology?” he asked next.

                A few hands went up; I almost put mine up. Felicity looked at me. We both had struggled with this subject before.

                “I believe it was Brother Antoine who asked about Mennonites and Amish; how many of you knew that both of those groups believe in Amillennialism?”

                A few hands went up, including ours.

                “Amillennialism comes in two varieties: Preterism and Historicism. Historicists believe that the Book of Revelation has or is happening progressively over the course of church history. According to their own definition, historicism ‘contends that Revelation is a symbolic presentation of the entire course of the history of the church from the close of the first century to the end of time’. David Koresh of Waco; Texas was an historicist. Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Mormons are all historicists.

                “Mennonites and Amish (and a few others) are Preterists. Preterists believe that all the events in Revelation up to at least chapter 20, verse 6 occurred around 70 A.D.; Nero was the Antichrist; Jesus was the Roman armies; those white rocks the Romans catapulted at the Jews were those seventy-five pound hailstones mentioned in Revelation 16; etc.”

                Daniel took a drink. “We don’t have time to cover everything there is to cover about Amillennialism, but I want to cover a few things. Number one: the origin of Amillennialism. Amillennialists think that dispensationalism came from Darby, Scofield, and Irving; to the contrary, dispensationalism began with the Bible, and, more specifically, with the Apostle Paul himself. Four times Paul uses the word dispensation: 1st Corinthians 9:17, Ephesians 1:10 and 3:2 and Colossians 1:25. 1st Corinthians 9:17 says, ‘For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.’ Ephesians 3:2 says, ‘If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:’. So don’t tell me it was some heretics that started dispensationalism; it is founded upon the Bible and the Apostle Paul himself.

Continue reading

A Mood and a Mode (V2)

“Well that was an interesting study this morning,” I told Felicity as we left the church and headed to Burger King.

                “Yes it was,” she agreed.

                “I guess I really never noticed what he said about Charity,” I remarked.

                “What’s the topic supposed to be tonight?” Steve asked.

                “Not sure,” Felicity answered. “Brother Holmes is speaking tonight, though.”

                “Were we going to stay here for the evening service?” Susanna asked.

                I looked at Felicity. “Mother and I decided to stay for all of the services,” I answered.

                “Yippee!” the children chorused                                   *                                             *                                             * *

                “Good evening, Amos,” Pastor Mast greeted us that evening. “Good to have you back.”

                “Thank you,” I replied.

                The evening service passed as the morning one. After the sixth song, Pastor Mast announced, “And again, thank you for coming tonight. This evening Brother Jesse Holmes will be speaking.”

                “Thank you, Pastor,” Brother Holmes began as he stepped up to the pulpit, “and good evening. Tonight my topic is  titled, ‘A Mood and a Mode’. Take your Bibles and turn to Matthew 28:19-20. Matthew 28, verses 19 and 20:

‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.’

                “Tonight we’re going to look at the mood and the mode of baptism. And by the way, I want to thank Brother Miller for the message this morning; it fits very well with tonight.

                “The mood of baptism. Baptism is defined in Scripture as a public witness of our faith in Christ. Mark 16:16 says: ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

                “Baptism follows salvation. We must be saved to be baptized. We just read Mark 16:16; perhaps some would think baptism saves you. Here we see that that’s not true. ‘He that believeth not shall be damned’, not, ‘is not baptized’.

                “So the mood of baptism involves salvation as well as a realization that this is a public witness to my faith in Christ.

                “And it’s not something to be taken lightly,” Brother Holmes went on. “This is a serious matter; not that we cannot be happy at our baptism, but it isn’t something we should have an attitude of ‘If I have to’, either. We should want to do it, and shouldn’t make someone do it.

                “That also means we shouldn’t pressure someone into getting baptized. The candidate needs to be willing to be baptized, should have a desire to be baptized, and should understand what it’s all about. This would also imply that the parents cannot baptize their children as infants. Acts 8:37, Philip says, ‘If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.’ The Ethiopian had asked if there’s anything hindering him from being baptized. Philip told him there wasn’t if he was saved. The Ethiopian said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God’ and was baptized. Your newer versions don’t have that verse by the way.”

                Brother Holmes looked under the shelf. “Is there any water here?” he asked. “Oh here it is, sorry.”

                “Now,” he continued, putting the water back in its place, “let’s look at the mode of baptism. How many of you here have been baptized?”

                Most hands went up.

                “How many of you were immersed or believe in immersion?”

                Almost all of the hands went up

                “How many of you were poured or sprinkled?”

                A couple of hands went up, including ours.

                “And how many of you believe in these methods or aren’t sure what you believe?”

                A couple of hands went up.

                “And how many of you do not understand the question?”

                No hands went up.

                “Okay,” Brother Holmes resumed, “the mode of baptism, according to Baptists of all ages, is immersion. Is that what the Bible says, then?

                “Look at Matthew 3:16-17,” Brother Holmes stated. “Matthew 3:16-17.”

                “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” Brother Holmes read. “Here we see how John baptized, and we see that Jesus was baptized by immersion. ‘up out of the water’; that should be easy for anyone to see. Now, we know that John’s baptism was of God, so if God ordained immersion, and since Jesus was immersed, could it be that the mode of baptism is immersion?

                “Well, let’s take a look at Acts chapter 8, verses 26-40. Acts 8:26-40. Here we have the story of the Ethiopian eunuch, which I already alluded to. Philip found the eunuch and talked to him and explained the Gospel to him, and along the way, they came across some water. Starting in verse 36, the Bible says, ‘And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

                “So Philip baptized by immersion, look at that!” Brother Holmes stated. “‘Yeah but you see,’ you say, ‘the Philippian jailor, he was poured.’ Not true! Not true, not true, not true! He took Paul and Silas, washed their stripes, and then was baptized. They were out of the jail by that time; Acts 16:32 says that Paul and Silas spoke to all of the jailor’s house. Nice try, though!”

                Brother Holmes cleared his throat. “Romans 6:3-4,” he stated, turning several pages in his Bible. “‘Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.’ Did you notice that phrase ‘buried with him by baptism’? The only, repeat, only way we could be buried by baptism is to be totally immersed in the water. Colossians 2:12 also says that we are buried with him in baptism. Nowhere in Scripture is water baptism referred to as a symbol of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as Mennonites and Amish and others teach.

                “Also consider,” Brother Holmes added, “that the Greek word where we get our word baptism means ‘to immerse in a fluid’. Not that the Greek is needed, but that is where the word baptism comes from nevertheless.

                “So in conclusion,” Brother Holmes stated, “we see that the mood of baptism is salvation in Christ, and the mode of baptism is immersion. Let’s pray.”  

The Importance of Israel

Some people believe that the Church has replaced Israel; that God has fulfilled the promises made to Israel and therefore, they are not necessary. But sadly, though many people who hold this opinion call themselves Christians, they do not understand what the Bible says. Let us take a look at what the Bible says, and let us see why the church has not replaced Israel.

First, let us look at what Romans 11:1-4. Paul says

            “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image to Baal.”

            If the Church has replaced Israel, then that passage is a fraud. If the church is the new Israel, then God has cast away His people which He foreknew.

1st Corinthians 10:32 says: “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God”.

If the church has replaced Israel, then why are they mentioned separately? Clearly, God has not thrown Israel away.

In the Bible, God is called the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob several times. Here are some examples:

Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Luke 20:37).

            “That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee” (Exodus 4:5).

These are just two of all the times that God is called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Three times God is called the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. In Malachi 3:6, God says: “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

If God was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob then, and if God loved Israel then, He still is God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and He still loves Israel. Continue reading