THE SPLIT CHURCH AT THE LORD’S COMING (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this blog series I began establishing the distinction that I see at the coming of the Lord. Some will be ready and some will not be ready (Mat 24:36-45) (Mat 25:1-13). Some will go and some will stay.

Let me add that I am not solely a pre-tribber, mid-tribber, or post-tribber. I see elements of truth in all three positions. A large part of this end time controversy is due to the fact that we only see our position on it, and remain closed to other points of view. I am not implying that I am an expert on end time events, but I have learned that unless you understand and rightly divide the timing of such events and pay close attention to the clues the Lord gives us in His word, comparing scripture with scripture, you will fall prey to a succession of errors that plague most end time prophecy teachers.

As an example, there is a large camp of believers who have a difficult time believing that any part of the Church will suffer God’s wrath, which they say takes place during the tribulation period. But if they would discern that the tribulation period is not an unleashing of God’s wrath, but rather the wrath of Satan released through the Antichrist (Rev 12:12), this would significantly change their view, or at least cause many to reconsider their position. The wrath of God, also called the day of the Lord, begins immediately after the tribulation and the coming of the Lord (Mat 24:29-31). The elect of God and the entire living Church will all be gone by then.

Is it too much to believe that the Lord’s coming could be primarily in two phases – the rapture of the Church and His second advent? And if you want to include a third phase of His coming where His feet touch the Mount of Olives at the battle of Armageddon (Zech 14:3-4) then that would be at least three. Israel believed in the coming of their Messiah, but they could not understand that His coming was in two phases, spaced by a long period of time – His birth and His second advent in glory. If it’s true that the Lord’s coming is in at least two phases, is it possible that we could fall into the same error as Israel and believe it is only one? Perhaps if the pre-tribbers and post-tribbers found some common ground they might see that they both have an element of truth of the sum whole.

We must compare scripture with scripture lest we fall short in our understanding. Take this verse for example:

“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” (John 5:28-29)

If we did not compare scripture with scripture we could easily assume, as so many do, that these verses speak of one general simultaneous resurrection of the righteous and the wicked. While the righteous are resurrected before the millennial reign of Christ, it is clear from Rev 20:5, that the wicked are resurrected after the 1,000 year millennial reign. So their resurrection does not take place all at once.

Even the resurrection of the righteous is shown in scripture to take place at various times. Christ was resurrected first. Many Old Testament saints followed immediately after (Mat 27:51-52). We tend to overlook that resurrection. There is a pre-tribulation rapture and resurrection of saints (1 Thes 4:14-18) – (those would be the equivalent of the wise virgins of Mat 25, the overcomers of Rev 3:10-12, seen sitting on thrones with crowns in Rev 4:1-4, the manchild of Rev 12, or the first-fruits who sing a new song before the throne (Rev 14:1-5) while the tribulation is still going on and many saints are being martyred for their faith). The latter are all versions of the same group of saints.

For those who believe in an exact 7 year tribulation period, then what I refer to as the pre-tribulation rapture, would take place in the middle of the tribulation (Rev 12:5-6) prior to the worst part of it when the antichrist’s power is unleashed, or what is aptly called the great tribulation. Then there is a resurrection of post-tribulation saints (same as the foolish virgins, the large multitude in Rev 7, also referred to in Rev 14:15 as the harvest of the earth). Finally, there is also the resurrection of the two witnesses in Rev 11:11. Yet all these resurrections are a part of the first resurrection of the righteous. Do you see that? Can you see that there are many resurrections but all a part of the first resurrection?

I’m sure many heads are swimming right now after all this discussion so I will finish Part 2 right here. If nothing else, I hope I’ve opened up to you new possibilities and perhaps taking a second and third look at these exciting end time events.

In part 3 I will unveil to you why I believe that next to salvation this could be the greatest and most important message in this dispensation. In these discussions I hope you can see the distinction among the saints.

As always, your comments are welcome. Just please keep it brief without going off on tangents.

THE SPLIT CHURCH AT THE LORD’S COMING

Posted on November 22, 2013

There is plenty of controversy surrounding end time events especially concerning the rapture and second advent. My purpose is not to add to the controversy but to see where we can find agreement and common ground in reference to end time events.

Here is a text:

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:36-45)

Now let’s see what we can agree on.

1. Not all will be ready for the coming of the Son of man. Can we clearly see that? Why else would Jesus warn us over and over in the gospels if everyone automatically would be ready? This means that some will be ready and some will not. Sinners including unregenerate Jews will never be ready until they’re first born again. The Bible is written to born again believers. It takes a spiritual operation to even understand the scriptures. So we must surmise that Jesus is mainly talking to believers here. One is taken and another is left. It is rather obvious that sinners will not be ready therefore they will not be taken.

2. The people Jesus is referring to in the above text are people of the same household. Saints and sinners are not part of the same spiritual household of faith. Neither are unregenerate Jews and born again believers. He is talking to the Church, His true followers.

3. The parable of the virgins at the beginning of Matthew 25 further confirms this thought. All the virgins represent the living Church. They all have lamps which represents the Word of God as the Psalmist wrote that the Word is lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Ps 119). They all initially had oil in their lamps which represents the Holy Spirit. They all knew of the Bridegroom’s coming. So clearly they represent born again believers. Exactly 50% or one-half of them were ready for the Bridegroom and went into the wedding, but the other half were not.

What happened to the 5 foolish virgins? What was their fate? Did they suffer the wrath of God? Were they damned forever? Would God allow a portion of His born again people, and household of faith to be condemned with the world?

Find out in Part 2 – Just know to be ready for the coming of the Son of man. It’s almost midnight. Don’t be foolish or the door will be slammed in your face.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.” (Mat 25:6-10)

THE REFINER’S FIRE (Part 2)

I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire…” (Rev 3:18)

There is a Refiner’s Fire for the Master’s use. This authentic fire deals with the heart. It brings awareness of where the heart really is. I saw this in the Pensacola outpouring in the 1990’s. Many did not understand this fire because it came with many unusual physical manifestations. Critics of that revival got bound up in their thinking focusing on the manifestations instead of what was happening in the hearts of the people.

That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” (1 Pet 1:7)

Pure gold is soft and bendable – that is what the Refiner’s Fire does; it makes the heart like that. Pure gold shines the brightest and reflects the Light, reflects God, and the Light of the kingdom. They make the most powerful witnesses on the earth.

When the Spirit of God is not allowed to move there is no Refiner’s Fire that turns hearts to pure gold. The Word and the Spirit together causes this great preparation in every heart. For it is the Word that brings the instruction, correction, and reproof, but it is the Spirit that makes everything new, fresh, and alive again. Baptisms of fire burn away the chaff, until only the wheat remains. The sin, the mental strongholds, the traditions of men, and the lusts of the flesh and impurities of the heart are burned away in the Refiner’s Fire.

The Refiner’s Fire brings out the pure gold. It removes your blind spots and causes you to see. It always results in a purity. And it is the pure in heart that see (Mat 5:8).

Here’s a personal word from the Spirit that moved in our hearts. “Look at the age of men you’ve admired. Look at their natural age and when they began to have a great impact. According to their degree of yielded-ness and holiness is how I used them. Flaws were overlooked because of their greatness. That is why you must go to the Refiner’s Fire and be purified more. For some things in your flesh will still cause some to stumble. Greater shall be the impact from things that fall off in the Refiner’s Fire. Fleshly strongholds caused many to die an early death. Lack of Refiner’s Fire…”

It is dangerous for ministers to have a strong anointing on their lives and not be in the Refiner’s Fire. Remember that God’s gifts and callings are irrevocable. He will not take away the anointing and the calling on your life (Rom 11:29). If someone with a strong calling and anointing on their life is not yielding to the Holy Spirit in the Refiner’s Fire or praying to be more like Christ, his fleshly flaws could send him to an early grave.

The Lordship of the soul is taken away in the Refiner’s Fire. There is a surrender and a submission to God. In the Old Covenant this was done through discipline and hardship and frustration experienced in the flesh. Moses and the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years as a means of being refined through leanness of flesh so their souls could be brought low. The blood of Jesus Christ had not yet been shed and the Spirit had not yet come and quickened them so God had to deal with them according to the deadness of their spirit.

In the New Covenant this work is done through the exaltation of the spirit of man where the seed of the nature of God matures until it takes over the soul and the flesh of a man. God will not work this in a man without their consent. If man will not yield to the Comforter and the Refiner’s Fire the work will not be done in them. And if they will not yield, but yet continue to pray to be conformed into the image of Christ, then God will have no choice but to send hardship and frustration in the flesh to accomplish the goal of submission as He did in the Old Covenant.

Think about it. Even the original apostles of the Lamb were trained according to the deadness of their spirit. None of them were born again yet so Jesus had to deal with them differently. He taught them directly and trained their soul first. It wasn’t until the Spirit had been imparted to them that they were trained in spirit by the Holy Spirit.

Frustration and leanness of the flesh as well as powerlessness in ministry will often bring men to a low place where they are willing to surrender and go to the backside of the desert. Paul was an example of that in the New Covenant. Even with the Holy Spirit helping him, Paul came to a place where he was willing to surrender the reigns of his soul and intellect and be trained on the backside of the desert. There he received great revelation of the New Covenant post-resurrection realities and the mysteries of God. He went to the Refiner’s Fire and qualified himself for greater use to the Master who had called him.

This is a life-saving, ministry-saving word so that the body of Christ, led by the fivefold ministers, can mature to fullness of stature and bring the life and power of God to a lost and dying world.

Pass it on. Follow our blog. Your comments are welcome. The word has been coming to my heart real strong this year.

Be blessed,                                                                                                                                                      Rev 1:3

THE REFINER’S FIRE

But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a Refiner’s Fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Mal 3:2-3)

This is a very important word especially for ministers. Lives and destinies are at stake and a new spiritual door has been opened, but we cannot walk through it unless we are willing to yield to the Refiner’s Fire.

As my wife and I were praying for a sick minister recently the Holy Spirit cut in. He began to teach us by revelation the reason ministers often don’t enter into the fullness of their callings, and why sometimes even their lives are cut short. This is what He said: “There are reasons why men were limited and didn’t enter into the times and seasons of their lives. There are limitations through character. Over and over again I deal with men, but until they’re put under the Refiner’s Fire and My dealings they cannot go into that new season, and walk in that new place.”

This year the Lord has turned up His Refiner’s Fire on our own lives and ministry. He has spoken to us more thoroughly and more urgently about our love walk, our words, our lifestyle, and our diet. These things do matter, friends if we want to fulfill the call of God on our lives and enter into the fullness of our ministry. These things do matter if we want to run our race and finish our course.

When we allow the Refiner’s Fire to deal with our soul, fleshly strongholds, attitudes, and emotions then the devil cannot have a handle on you. So it is really God’s mercy and protection for ministers that they don’t receive a greater glory on their lives and giftings because with it comes a greater judgment. To whom much is given much will be required, and ministers receive a greater condemnation (Jam 3:1). History is littered with casualties of mightily anointed men who left this earth prematurely and whose callings were aborted for lack of the Refiner’s Fire. God was merciful in taking them home when He did so their fruit could be saved and their works could follow them.

Let me give you a recent example from our lives so you can learn from it. A few months ago when we were ministering in another nation two ministers asked my wife and I how a certain mutual minister friend of ours was doing. We told them that we had heard he was now divorced and his adult children were backslid. In the past this divorced minister preached frequently and had a platform in the nation we were in. The Lord told us our comments could rob him of favor and future opportunities to minister in that nation.

We didn’t know the details of the divorce nor did we know if the minister was at fault, or if he was, whether he had repented. You are siding in with Satan, the accuser of the brethren, when you accuse others after they’ve repented. Many ministers would think nothing of making comments like this, but the Lord does. We repented before the Lord and apologized to those two ministers the next day.

Our attitudes, words, offenses, and dealings with other ministers and the body of Christ in general are so important in determining our health and whether we enter into the new doors and seasons of our lives and ministries. Yielding to the Refiner’s Fire can take us into our next assignments, open doors, and new levels of blessing and glory that God has ordained for us.

The gifts and callings of God are without repentance – meaning God will not change His mind about your calling and purpose in Him, but the fulness cannot be seen in a man’s life until they go through the Refiner’s Fire. Ministers need to go to the altar again and live from there. For ministers to go through certain doors of utterance of greater glory they have to be refined, not easily offended, and not given to any appetite.

Years ago in an extended time of prayer and fasting the Father told me that he had not opened certain doors for me because of His protection. Then I wept when He said that I would’ve ceased to be a man after His own heart if He had opened those doors when I had wanted Him to. He is a good Father. He will not give us instructions that He knows we cannot obey through our insufficient character, thus giving access to the enemy to legally attack us. Parents do not give their elementary school children instructions fit for a college student. Lack of maturity of character limits what they are able to do and obey.

Moses was a great example of a minister who moved in the flesh, killing a man to deliver his brethren from bondage, and as a result he spent 40 years in the Refiner’s Fire on the backside of the dessert. God had big plans and a high calling for Moses, but he could not fulfill it until the Refiner’s Fire had done its work in his life. There is a difference in how God deals with us in the New Covenant versus the Old Covenant, but the principle remains the same.

We’ll talk about those differences and more in Part 2 of The Refiner’s Fire.

Let’s not judge other men but let us judge ourselves (1 Cor 11:31).

EQUAL YOKES

Charles Finney was a great revivalist in the 1800’s and a leader in the second awakening.  He has been called The Father of Modern Revivalism. Most students of the Bible and church history are very familiar with Finney but not as many are familiar with the real secret of his power and effectiveness. Finney attributed his success in revival and the high retention rate of his converts to one called Father Daniel Nash.

Father Nash was a mighty man of prayer who was the engine behind Finney’s revivals. On his tombstone part of his epitaph reads: LABORER WITH FINNEY, MIGHTY IN PRAYER. Three to four months after Nash’s death Finney left his itinerant ministry. He knew the power to his ministry was almost exclusively in the prayer ministry of Father Nash. How many today esteem the ministry of prayer to this degree? And how many really understand what it means to pray with the anointing and labor in travail for lost souls?

The secret to the power in Finney’s ministry was the supply of the Spirit that came from Nash’s intercession and travail for souls. But Finney and Nash also walked in great agreement in their purpose for revival and the conversion of souls. So although prayer was obviously a key, the agreement in their purpose was vitally important, too.

Here’s an inspired utterance my wife and I received in prayer recently:

“I have never denied a man or a woman of power in prayer who aligned themselves with My will and My Word in obedience to the purpose of Mark 16 and Matthew 28 of going into all the world. The lack of power only comes when man’s plans override Mine. There is power in agreement. Where you have seen lack of power is where there was lack of agreement. The ministry gifts have to be in agreement with the Word and with the purposes of God. And the pray-ers will supply the power.

In your travels you’ve seen there are places where they agree with My Word and the leadership is obeying Me. And even when they’ve had error in some things you have seen, they’ve gone with one purpose and the pray-ers are praying for that purpose. And therefore there’s freedom and there’s liberty in that place in that city. That is what you see – agreement, agreement with Me.”

There is power in being like-minded. There is power in being equally yoked. Agreement in the Spirit with those of like-precious faith is vital to our success in advancing the kingdom of God.

Father Nash in his humility released the manifold wisdom of God (Eph 3:10) when it was attached to a ministry gift who walked in agreement with God’s purposes.

PRAYER JOTTINGS: I see a pen and a paper – a new document and a new order. I see names written on the paper – those of like spirit with faith, agreement in the Spirit. No unequal yokes. Time for equal yokes. When you’re equally yoked it’s easy. We call forth connections and equally yoked hearts.

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THE RIVER OF GOD

In Ezekiel 47 we find a rising river bringing life wherever it goes. This was the same river that flowed in the book of Acts that produced power to save, heal, and deliver. In Acts 2 divers tongues. In Acts 3 the healing of a crippled man. In Acts 4 the building shook and generosity flowed. In Acts 5 pride and hypocrisy were kept out and an unusual judgment miracle brought about the death of a husband and wife. Well, you get the picture. Power, life, and glory were flowing in that river. Nothing could stand in its way. Opposition, persecution, riots, troubles, and devils could not stop this mighty moving river.

The key was in following that river, or better said, following the Spirit of God. He is the river. In prayer, revelation came to my wife and I about the feet. Many are taking natural steps in life but are missing the spiritual steps they can take that produces favor and effectual power in their lives and ministries on the earth.

Notice in Acts 16 Paul’s feet endeavored to go preach the gospel in Asia, but the Holy Spirit forbade him and his team from going there. Then again the feet of his team tried to go into Bithynia and the Spirit did not permit them again. Then a vision in the night confirmed that Macedonia was the place. Women’s feet went and prayed by the river and the Lord opened Lydia’s heart. A church was planted in her house. From that house a city was shaken and sent into an uproar because a divination devil was cast out and ruined the profit of its masters. Paul and Silas were beaten with rods and cast into prison, their feet fastened in stocks. Interesting.

The prison couldn’t hold them. Prayer and praise in the prison shook its foundations and their feet were loosed. They were in Macedonia in the will of God. They had the backing of heaven because they were in the river. Annoyance of that spirit of divination, opposition from its masters, beatings, and imprisonment could not stop the river of God because Paul and Silas kept themselves in it. If they had complained even in the prison the river may have dried up.

Following the Spirit of God will keep you in the river. Let your feet be guided by Him. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! The prisoners and Lydia’s household in Acts 16 knew this well for they received salvation from the messengers of those feet. The feet God calls beautiful are not only those who preach good news but those who follow the Spirit.

Activity is only beautiful in the Spirit.