INAYP 43-The Rapture–The Christian versus Servant Perception–Part 2 in a Series

When it comes to end times studies and discussions, most Christians presume without question that the Book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John to inform them of the times ahead. An examination of Revelation 1:1 revealed that the letter or book of Revelation was actually written to the servants of Jesus Christ. We did a modest examination of what it Biblically means to be a servant and asked some very pertinent questions; most important question asked was, are today’s so-called Christians one and the same the servants that John was addressing in his letter. All indications from our examination were that there are some glaring differences between the definition of a servant in the Bible and what defines a Christian in the 21st century. Tonight we dig a little deeper into the subject of servitude and what it means to be a servant of Jesus Christ and then compare and contrast the two terms for a definitive determination of what a Christian should be as it relates to being a servant of the Most High. This is It’s Not As You Perceive–Episode 43–The Rapture–The Christian versus Servant Perception–Part 2 in a Series.
  • Servants possess a specific mind and attitude to serve (required)

Gen. 18:3-5 (Abraham entertains the angels prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

1 Sam. 17:32; 25:41 (David pledges to Saul to fight Goliath)

1 Kin. 12:7

1 Chr. 17:25

Neh. 2:5

Joh. 12:26  26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (Joh 12:26 KJV)

Phi. 2:7  7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phi 2:7-11 KJV)

2 Tim. 2:24- 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2Ti 2:24-26 KJV)-

  • Servants constantly seek their masters’ approval, grace and mercy (required)

Gen. 18:3; 19:19

     2 Sam. 7:29; 14:22
     1 Kin. 8:30
     2 Kin. 5:18
     1 Chr. 21:8
     2 Chr. 6:19, 21, 42
     Neh. 1:6
     Psm. 27:9; 31:16; 119:135, 140
     Mal. 1:6–6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour?      and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? (Mal 1:6 KJV)
     Mat. 10:24– 24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. (Mat 10:24-25 KJV)
  • Servants are given tasks according to the trust in them that builds over time by their masters (required)
     Gen. 24:2
     Zec. 3:8
     Mat. 24:45; 25:21– 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give themm meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. (Mat 24:45-47 KJV)
  • Servants are obedient (required)
     Gen. 24:9, 10
     1 Sam 3:9, 10
     1 Kin. 2:38; 1 Kin. 11:38; 14:8; 18:36, 43; 20:9
     2 Kin. 18:12
     Psm. 119:17; 119:124–Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. (Psa 119:17 KJV)
     Mal. 4:4
     Mat. 24:45
     Luk 12:43; 14:22, 23– 42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. 45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; 46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luk 12:42-48 KJV)
 
     Rev 14:12–12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Rev 14:12 KJV)

  • Servants are proud to affiliate themselves (especially in name) with their master (required)

Gen. 24:34-34 And he said, I am Abraham’s servant. (Gen 24:34 KJV)-

Psm. 116:16–16 O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds. (Psa 116:16 KJV)

  • Servants earn a special place in their master’s heart (earned)

Gen. 26:24– 24 And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham’s sake. 
1 Kin. 3:6– 6 And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 
Psm. 105:42– 42 For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.
Isa. 48:20
Mat. 18:27

Act 13:22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. 
Jas 2:23– 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
  • Servants are poor in spirit and seeks the master’s forgiveness, direction, mercy and knows from where he/she comes (required)

Gen. 32:10; 33:14: 43:28
Exo. 4:10
1 Sam. 27:5
2 Sam. 19:20; 24:10
1 Kin. 3:7-14– 7 And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. 8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. 9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? 10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.

 11 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; 12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. 13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. 14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. 

Psm. 119:176
Dan. 9:17–face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. 18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name. 
Mat. 18:26– 26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

Mar. 9:35; 10:44

Joh. 13:16; 15:20– 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

  • Servants are typically chosen to assume key roles in the master’s mansion based upon the trust that is earned by the candidate servant (earned)

Gen. 44:10, 17;
Num. 12:7, 8
Ruth 2:5
Isa. 49:5, 6–5 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. 6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. 
Isa. 53:11-12 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Mat. 25:23– 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Mat 25:23 KJV)

  • Servants fear their master and avoid causing their masters upset  (required)

Gen. 44:18–18 Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh. (Gen 44:18 KJV)
Psm. 19:13–13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psa 19:13-20:1 KJV)

  • Servants are bound to the same laws and practices as his/her master (inputted)

Exo. 12:44-49–44 But every man’s servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof. 45 A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof. 46 In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof. 47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. 48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. 49 One law shall be to him that is home born, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you. (Exo 12:44-49 KJV)
Lev. 25:6– 6 And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, (Lev 25:6 KJV)

  • Servants are purchased–specially chosen by their master (inputted)

Exo. 21:2;
Lev. 25:50, 53
Isa. 41:9; 44:21– 9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. 10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 11 Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. 12 Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. 13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. (Isa 41:9-13 KJV)  21 Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. 22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. (Isa 44:21-22 KJV)

23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God. (1Co 7:23-24 KJV)
  • Masters reveal secrets and truths to their faithful servants unbeknownst to others who are not that master’s servants (earned)

Deu. 3:24–24 O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? (Deu 3:24 KJV)
2 Sam. 7:27–Servants27 For thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee. (2Sa 7:27 KJV) of

  • THE PROCESS OF BECOMING A SERVANT WHO CHOOSES TO STAY WITH HIS MASTER (required)

Deu. 15:16, 17–16 And it shall be, if he say unto thee, I will not go away from thee; because he loveth thee and thine house, because he is well with thee; 17 Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise. (Deu 15:16-17 KJV)
Exo. 21:6–6 Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever. (Exo 21:6 KJV)

  • Good servants earn their master’s trust in all kinds of matters (earned)

Mat. 12:18; 25:21, 23– 18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. (Mat 12:18 KJV) 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Mat 25:21 KJV)

  • Servants of Yehovah have supernatural abilities or supernatural signs happen around them (earned and inputted)
1 Sam. 17:34, 36– 34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.
2 Kin. 6:1515 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

 18 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. 
  • Servants often intercede on behalf of others (required)

1 Kin. 8:52
Neh. 1:7, 11–7 We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses. 8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: 9 But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there. 10 Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand. 11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer. 

  • A servants worships his master (earned)

Psm. 86:2, 4; 109:28– 2 Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee.

 3 Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. 4 Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. (Psa 86:2-4 KJV)28 Let them curse, but bless thou: when they arise, let them be ashamed; but let thy servant rejoice. 
  • Servants seek to immitate their master (required)

Mat. 10:25– 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
Joh. 12:26– 26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. 

  • True servants are loyal to their master (required)

Mat. 24:45-47; 25:21, 23– 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 
Joh. 12:26– 26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. 
1 Cor. 7:21

  • The great apostles considered themselves loyal servants of the Lord (earned/required)

Rom. 1:1; 16:1, 27
Col. 4:12
Jas. 1:1
2 Pet. 1:1
Jud. 1:1
Rev. 1:1

Prevailing Perceptions of a Christian
  • Saved by grace and therefore there is nothing to do but await for Jesus’ return
  • Once saved–always saved
  • God/Jesus knows my heart
  • The law was nailed to the cross and thus I have freedom in Christ
  • I only have to love God and my neighbor
  • According to a 2013 Barna Group Study, Christians (specifically born again and evangelicals) define themselves as:
    • having made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is important in their lives
    • they’ve confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior and will go to heaven
    • they have a personal responsibility to share their lives with non-believers or non-christians
    • believing that satan exists–that’s nice. I also believe in angels and talking donkeys
    • believing that eternal salvation is achieved only through grace, not work
    • believing that Jesus lived a sinless life–why then shouldn’t we strive to live sinless lives? Did not Jesus suggest to the inquiring rich man that adhering to the ways of the Father brings us to perfection or a life devoid of sin?  16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. (Mat 19:16-22 KJV) 13 Thou shalt be perfect (i.e., blameless) with the LORD thy God. (Deu 18:13 KJV) And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect (blameless). (Gen 17:1 KJV)
    • believing that the Bible is accurate in all that it teachesbelieving that God is the omniscient and omnipotent perfect being who created all that exists in the universe
  • When did being a servant change to being a christian–from being a very active and engaged person tied to their Master through actions to being a disengaged individual who choses to engage in a cognitive exercise of trusting?
  • Jude provides a clue– Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: 2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jud 1:1-4 KJV)
  • Christianity has become a grace-dependent religion that is relying upon inputted righteousness and the promise of eternal life. No such promise was ever made. Most of our translations of John 3:16 implies a insurance policy of eternal life to anyone who believes in Jesus Christ. But many translations don’t make such a leap or assurance. Instead, there is through Jesus’ redemptive work, the opportunity and chance that men through a trusting and believing relationship with God, might have eternal life. See Young’s Literal Translation--YLT  John 3:16 for God did so love the world, that His Son — the only begotten — He gave, that every one who is believing in him may not perish, but may have life age-during. (Joh 3:16 YLT)
  • The concept of servant as used in Revelation 1:1 is different than any conception of “Christianity” in the Bible. There is no match based upon today’s perceptions of Christianity. There can be no match. No one can honestly say that the Book of Revelation was written to Western Christians of the 21st centuries simply because Christians and servants are two entirely different types of people. For one to realize the truth of the end times then, he or she must first become a servant of Jesus Christ. Certainly there is a cognitive element of believing that Jesus died for our sins and that god created the heavens and the earth. But there is also other factors involved in being servants and many of these factors were discussed above
  • There is a grass-roots movement taking place outside the parameters of traditional Christianity that is drawing select individuals in to its fold. This grass-roots movement is devoid of man made traditions and denominational influences and assertiveness. This grass-roots movement contends for the true faith once delivered to the Saints. Concepts and perceptions of what defines a true believer are not dictated by a denomination’s leaders and teachers and preachers: but defined by the Word of God. This movement will always be dwarfed in number and size by traditional Christianity because Christianity has created for itself a system like Judaism of Jesus’ day, that seems to have entrapped and bound its members in religion. Religion is, contrary to conventional wisdom, NOT what pleases the Father. Why did Jesus rail against the Jewish establishment? He railed against the Jewish establishment because Judaism utterly failed to follow His Father’s directions to the people. Judaism taught a way of life that was fashioned by the desires and imaginations of men. Christianity is no different my friends. Vast concepts that are labeled as Christian beliefs and doctrines are nothing more than man made beliefs and doctrines such as:
    • belief that believers in Jesus Christ are destined for heaven. Nowhere in the Bible is this taught
    • that Jesus Christ died on Good Friday and rose a day and a half later on Sunday morning
    • that Jesus was born on December the 25th, the birthday of a pagan Babylonian god
    • that Jesus was crucified on Easter, a pagan goddess celebratory holiday
    • that Jesus nailed the Law of God to the cross–a grossly misinterpretation of one of Paul’s writings
  • What will you do with this information? Many of you will write me and this content off as heretical and you will do so in the name of your denomination. Some of you will tacitly agree with some of the content or all of the content, but will not take any action to correct your perceptions of the Faith out of fear, uncertainty, or just laziness. Then there are the precious few of you who might just think there is something to this content and it is you who will take the bull by the horns and do your own research as if you were a Berean, and search out the truths for yourselves from the pages of your Bible. These individuals are crossing over from traditional Christianity to the Hebraic Roots of the Faith and realizing a change to their spiritual lives that will forever change their perceptions of religion and what it means to be a Christian
  • We invite you to take that plunge. Please contact us for information and resources if you are interested in going deeper and further in your walk with Christ than you’ve ever imagined. 
  • Otherwise, we will continue on with our study of the Rapture and the end times next week in Part 3 of the Series–Reading, Hearing and Keeping the Truth

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INAYP-42 — The Rapture–The Christian versus Servant Perspective–Part 1 in a Series

The Rapture of the Church

The end-times has for centuries captured the attention of most believers in Christ. Many have taken it upon themselves to decipher the mysterious writings of the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation and the stark and troublesome prophecy delivered to the saints by Jesus that is recorded in Matthew 24. Most of those, throughout time, who have sought to explain the end-times to the rest of us laymen have done so through the lens of their respective denominations. Consequently, there are dozens of variations on the theme of end-times. Despite 30,000 plus Christian denominations in existence today, we all still tend to read from the same Bible with only slight variations in translation. Yet for whatever reason we manage to not agree on what is going to happen in the end times. Indeed, there must, by sheer commonsense and necessity, be only one true-version of the end times. It must by necessity be the same version that was revealed to the Master by the Father; the apostles John and Paul as revealed by Jesus Christ; and the prophets of the old covenant (i.e., Old Testament) as revealed through the Holy Spirit. Is it then possible to nail down what exactly is going to happen in the end times, simply by utilizing effective Bible study techniques, the revelation of the Holy Spirit, an open and receptive heart and mind, and an ounce of good ole commonsense? I say it is possible and am willing to take the plunge. Are you game? If so, then let us engage in a crucial conversation about the end times. This is It’s Not As You Perceive–Episode 42–The Rapture–The Christian versus Servant Perspective on End Times–Part 1 in a Series.

Main Content:

Greetings one and all–I’m Rod Thomas and welcome to another episode of It’s Not As You Perceive–the podcast and blog ministry of Qumran Family Church. The purpose of this ministry and its posts is to encourage you in righteous living. Jesus commanded us to “seek first the kingdom of God and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS…” (reference Matthew 6:33). And understanding just what that righteous living is really all about comes to us only through study of the Word of God and the revelation of the Holy Spirit. The God-inspired writers of the Bible were used of the Father to provide us instruction on how we are to conduct our lives. Additionally, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ provided each of us an exemplar of how one is to live a righteous life. What has originally developed as a result of these teachings from God’s anointed and the example of Jesus the Christ is THE Faith–a belief-system if you will–that brought to the fill the Hebraic Faith that was originally delivered to the children of Israel through the patriarchs of old (e.g., Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses). Bear in mind, the true Faith was NOT built upon Judaism. Judaism was built upon man made laws and traditions enacted by Jewish scholars that ultimately overshadowed and replaced the original Hebrew Faith. Furthermore, it would be presumptive for us to conclude that “Christianity” as it exists today with its 30,000 plus denominations is the same original Faith. Somewhere, somehow, contained within the pages of our Bible, is the identifying qualities of that True Faith that was once delivered. Clearly, something went wrong along the way and the original Faith was compromised, resulting in the horrendous religious mess we have today.

In following the instructions of these biblical writers and the life example of Jesus Christ, we should begin to develop and manifest traits and characteristics that are holy, righteous and pleasing to the Father in Heaven. Here at It’s Not As You Perceive (and Qumran Family Church), we are all about contending for the True Faith once delivered to the first century saints by Jesus Christ–Jude 1:3. We attempt to accomplish this through an open and honest examination of the Biblical record without any denominational influences or assertiveness. We also look to the leading of the Holy Spirit to reveal some of the more difficult passages found in the Bible (those passages that receive a wide array of interpretations by the various denominations) as well as utilizing the vast extra-Biblical resources that are currently available to each of us through books, computer software and the INTERNET. Most of all, we seek to employ commonsense and reason. Far too many of the doctrinal and traditional teachings by the thousands of Christian denominations that currently exist are not sensible nor reasonable and in many cases not even biblically based; and they tend to play upon the fears and ignorance of those denominations’ members. This seems to be one of the biggest problems facing Christianity today. Millions of Christians are resistant–for whatever reason–to verifying for themselves the things that are coming out of their denominations’ pulpits every Sunday morning or via the hundreds of televangelists occupying time and space on the internet and television. Instead, the vast majority of self-professing Christians rely upon their church leaders for understanding and instruction in what it means to be a Christian. This places every individual who finds themselves in this type of situation in a most precarious position as it relates to their personal relationship with the Creator. If that relationship is not healthy and solid, it stands to reason that those individuals are destined for problems down the spiritual road so to speak. This is a crucial concern within Christianity today and it is high-time that this situation is cleaned up before the end times hits.

Perception Moment #1–Are you content with your church-life? Are you receiving all that you hoped to receive from your church? If you are not satisfied, are you willing to do something about it?

That being said, if you are content in your present spiritual situation and you are okay with placing your eternal destiny into the hands of your denomination’s leaders, then we bid you well. We do not cast judgment on you and we will always value you as brothers and sisters of the Christian Faith. However, if you are not content with the direction that your walk in Christ is heading or if you are not happy with your church for that matter, you are in the right place. Furthermore, if you are the least bit interested in strengthening your relationship and walk with the Master–Jesus Christ–and realizing the tremendous blessings to be had by contending for the true faith once delivered (Jude 1:3) and on top of that living a life worthy of your calling (2 Thessalonians 1:11), then you too are in the right place. You are about to take your spirit life to the next level and this is what this ministry hopes to facilitate.

So let’s move on to the main content for this post.

Understanding eschatology and end time prophecy is not a task for the timid of heart and mind and lazy of soul. It is not an easy thing to understand, especially given the myriad of differing perspectives on what the Bible records about the end-times. Nevertheless, I believe that it is a task that every believer in Christ must undertake. Bear in mind the words that Jesus relayed through the Apostle John to the readers of his letter: “Blessed (Greek for “makarios” meaning to be supremely fortunate or well off) is he that reads (Greek for “anaginosko” meaning to accurately know), and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep (i.e., to guard) those things which are written therein–for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3).

Notice that I said “every believer in Christ” should undertake a study of what the Bible has to say about the end times. I do not say this as a means of pushing my own agenda or personal, wild ideals upon you. So then, what do I mean by this statement?

The Christian faith is filled to the brim with Christians. Right now you’re probably saying in response to this statement, of course it is you idiot. But maybe the thing to ponder here is not the number of Christians in the world, but more so, what exactly is a Christian? Turning to Wikipedia, the definition of a Christian is someone who adheres to Christianity. Then what exactly is Christianity? Christianity is a Hebraic, monotheistic-religion that is based on the life and teachings of Jesus. Now, because there is no universal consensus in the world as to what constitutes being a Christian, the universally accepted belief is that being a Christian is one who accepts Jesus Christ (aka: Messiah) as their personal Lord and Savior–whatever that means. In general, the world sees Christians as good and Christ-like–whatever that means.

According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary, the term Christian was first used or applied by Gentiles (specifically Romans)–Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Pet. 4:16)–to describe individuals who were followers of Jesus. However, the term was not adopted by followers of Jesus to describe themselves until the passing of the Apostolic age–sometime at the end of the first century or beginning of the second cerntury. Interestingly, the early adoption of the title Christian carried with it very negative connotations. Found in the writings of Tacitus (aka: Gaius Tacitus–56-117?A.D.–a Roman senator and historian) is as follows: “The vulgar call them Christians. The author or originator of this denomination, Christus, had in the reign of Tiberius, been executed by the procurator, Pontius Pilate” (Annals xv. 44). Thus, it was not until well in to the 2nd century that believers accepted the term Christian as a title of honor.

Perception Moment 2: Are Christians today (and even throughout the centuries) comparable to believers or followers or disciples or servants of Christ in the first century Churches?

To the casual observer, the title and term Christian would handily encompass believer, follower, servant and disciple of Christ. But I submit to you that there may be a distinct difference between Christian and these 4-titles. The Bible provides clues as to what the model believer-disciple-follower-servant looks like. The primary clue of course is found in the example of Christ during His earthly ministry–in the way He lived out His life and through His teachings. The rest of the clues are contained in the apostolic writings and teachings that comprise the New Testament (aka: the renewed covenant). The characteristics and traits of believers-followers-disciples-servants are pretty distinct and obvious:

* these individuals are obedient to the commandments of Christ
* they abhor evil and sin; they strive for righteousness
* they seek the kingdom of God
* they are poor in spirit and never forget from whence they’ve come
* they love their master over all others
* they do not compromise their calling
* they are bold in their convictions
* they are loyal to their master and to the true Faith
* they imitate their master
* they love their brothers and sisters

More so, these individuals are willing to give their very lives for their master without hesitation. The traits and characteristics don’t stop here. There are indeed many more. But the question that I pose is: do these and other traits of believers-disciples-followers as suggested in the Bible match our modern day perceptions and concepts of what we call a Christian?

Does all this really matter, especially in relation to our discussion about the end times and the rapture? Absolutely it does! It matters because understanding of the end-times, specifically the book of Revelation, was specifically written for and to a certain class of people. This class of people are servants of Jesus the Messiah–The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. (Rev 1:1-2 KJV). Interestingly, Christians in general over the centuries have presumptively assumed that they are the intended recipients of this revelation. In other words, Christians throughout the last 2,000-years have readily assumed that they are servants of the Most High.

If I can attest to anything having had my Faith aggressively challenged and shaken in 2005, it is never to take anything recorded in the Bible for granted and to never simply take anyone’s word as Gospel about any subject in the Bible or about the Christian Faith without a full investigation in to the facts of the matter. This has unfortunately become the downfall of millions of Christians. It would appear that most Christians rely upon their pastors, ministers, teachers, friends, fellow believers and the list can go on, for basic and even advanced understanding of the many essential elements of the Faith. There is nothing as dangerous as resting one’s eternal destiny upon the oversight of another man or woman. For in the end, we individually must stand before the Eternal in judgment and give an account for our lives.

Consider: in our modern western society, when we go contrary to the laws of the land and we are caught, we are forced to give an account of our actions, typically before a court of law. There are no situations where we can simply plead innocent because we were raised to act contrary to the law or that we were told by others that it was okay to live contrary to the law(s) we broke.

I used to believe that anything and everything I came to understand about my faith and thus having conformed to the teachings of my faith that was sanctioned and taught by my denomination, God would by default approve of my life. And why did I believe this? Well, I rationalized that smarter men than me throughout the ages came to certain conclusions about the Christian Faith and it was those smart men who were led by the Holy Spirit and possessed the license (spiritual) and gravitas to shape my life accordingly through my denomination’s doctrines, teachings and beliefs. I recall speaking to a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses earlier this year about some pretty weighty spiritual matters. Whenever we reached an impasse in our conversation–even about something that was obvious and clear in the Bible (for example the passage where some of the dead saints in the city of Jerusalem rose up out of their graves the day Jesus was resurrected–Matthew 27:52 & 53) that the JW’s weren’t clear on, the JW’s told us that they needed to go back to and consult their church leaders for the answer to the issue in question. I’ve come across other stories of individuals who were staunch members of a Christian denomination, who when confronted with certain truths found in their Bibles that didn’t match the doctrines and teachings and beliefs of their denomination, instead of doing further research on their own or simply meditating and seeking revelation from the Holy Spirit on the issue in question, would sadly say that they needed to consult their church leaders for clarity and direction on the subject.

This is an epidemic my friends. For most believers, their understanding of Scripture which often affects their day-to-day behavior as Christians is shaped by the teachings of their denomination. Few of us are invested enough in our own eternal destinies to challenge the many teachings and doctrines of our Faith and find out for ourselves whether the teachings, beliefs and traditions of our denomination is in alignment with the Word of God. The Psalmist and the Savior both acknowledged that truth comes from the Word of God (Psalms 119:160 & John 17:17). Is it possible for truth to flow through and from our denominations? Absolutely. And don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to Christian denominations per se. I’m opposed specifically to denominationalism. I’m opposed to Nicholaitan organizations that, like the Judaism of Jesus’ day, enslave and foist teachings, beliefs and traditions upon its members outside the realm of the Word of God (reference Revelation 2:6) . Thus the members of these organizations are unable to think for themselves and they ultimately believe and follow lies and false teachings. You see, if the people can read and understand for themselves the Word of God and live victorious, free and powerful lives in Christ, there would be little need for the leaders of these organizations, would there? But then, if we are not willing to step up to the plate and answer the call, excusing the leaders of these organizations from the responsibility for our salvation and walk with the Savior, then it stands to reason that we may be walking through the wide gate and down the smooth path towards destruction– Jesus taught:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Mat 7:13-14 KJV)

Consequently, it is because we who claim Christ to be our Savior are so lazy when it comes to investing in our own eternal destiny and relationship with the Lord, that we are for all intents and purposes Biblically illiterate. And it would seem accurate to even say that most of us are quite content in this perpetual state of spiritual mediocrity. I remember having a conversation with my boss a few years ago about certain doctrinal issues related to the Christian Faith and how I had begun taking time to delve deeper into the Word of God and debate the veracity of some of these weighty doctrinal issues in the light of disciplined exegesis. After much back and forth discussion, she told me that it was much more work than she was willing to invest and that she would rather rely on her faith–i.e., cognitive belief–that what she thought was true was indeed true. I didn’t think much of it then, but looking back at that exchange today, I cringe to think that such an attitude is so prevalent in the Christian Faith. We’ve received just enough information about the Bible to make us dangerous. We have been armed with a handful of nifty scriptural soundbites to support our denomination’s many doctrines and beliefs. Is it a good way to do spiritual business? Absolutely not. The Apostle Paul was quite clear on the necessity of believers to not make a mockery of their calling to the Faith–11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: 12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2Th 1:11-12 KJV)

And thus we arrive at the point I am aiming to make on Revelation 1:1 and that has to do with the Apostle John being given the revelation of the end times by his Lord and Master who in turn received the revelation from His Father. It is through John that the Master’s true “servants” or “doulos” are privy to the information about the end times and the Day of the Lord. This revelation is not intended for anyone else, only for the servants of Jesus the Messiah.

Perception Moment 3: Are Christians today servants of Christ? If so, why are there so many differing perspectives (denominational understandings) of what constitutes being a Christian?

Let’s see. The term used in the first verse of chapter one of Revelation says quite clearly that the revelation given by the Master was for “His servants.” The Greek for servants is “doulos.” Consider what Thayer Greek Lexicon has to say about the term doulos:

Rev. 1:1; 10:7; 11:18; of all who obey God’s commands, his true worshippers, Luke 2:29; Rev. 2:20; 7:3; 19:2,5; 22:3,6; (Ps. 33:23 (Ps. 34:23); Ps. 68:37 (Ps. 69:37); Ps. 88:4,21 (Ps. 89:4,21)). γ. δοῦλος τίνος , devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests: Matt. 20:27; Mark 10:44; strenuously laboring for another’s salvation, 2 Cor. 4:5.

It appears that the terminology being used here by John is more than a simple title that is haphazardly passed on to describe any and all Christians. More so, the term servant used in this passage is a descriptive action term–doulos refers to those who are obedient to God’s commands; who are the true worshippers of God; who are fully devoted to Jesus to the point of self-denial and who are actively furthering the message of Jesus Christ to the nations. This comes in context with the rest of the Book of Revelation and what the servants of the Master would have to endure and what the reward of the prevailing servants would be. If we were to, by chance, simply assume that the recipients of the Revelation to be all peoples who profess to be Christians, then we have on our hands a big problem. You see, Christianity is broken up in to some 30,000 plus denominations with corresponding beliefs, doctrines and traditions. Despite this huge disparity within the confines of one of the world’s largest faiths, the vast majority of adherents within the faith believe in some type of return of Jesus Christ to this earth, a gathering of Christians and some form of ensuing kingdom headed by Jesus–either here on earth or in heaven.

If we are to believe that Christians are destined to escape the evil to come in the end times, and that Christians will be whisked away to some realm of safety to live out eternity with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, then there’d be NO reason for the book of Revelation–especially since Christians have been taught for centuries that no one knows when the Savior will return and that the Savior’s return will be sudden and entirely unexpected. Instead then of making John endure such a troublesome vision and record all the terrible events to come at the end of days; and if Christians are going to be exempt from the terror ahead, why not simply write a quick–Jesus is coming back suddenly one day–be ready because you don’t want to be left behind–it promises to be really bad for all who are left behind. Just saying. But common sense says to any truth seeking believer that the Father in His infinite wisdom had more in mind than simply giving information to Christians that things are going to be really bad in the future, but don’t you worry your little heads because you will be exempt from the terror. Indeed, this seems to be the case.

The fact that the Book of Revelation is written exclusively for those who are servants of Jesus–doulos–those who are obedient to the Savior and His commandments and who are loyal to Him seems to suggest that the recipients of this revelation have serious “skin in the game” ahead as evidenced in Revelation 1:1b. In other words, the servants of the Master need to know what is contained in this letter so that they may be prepared to deal with the things that are mentioned in this book. We’re not talking about “good things to know” or simple “shooting the breeze.” We’re talking about really heady, terrible and glorious things that will certainly separate the true believers–i.e., servants, from the classic Christian or even want-to-be servant of Christ.

So where do you fall out? This is a question that each of us must answer if we are truly serious about our eternal destiny and commitment to the Faith? Are we simply socially-religious-people who claim Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior who are waiting to be whisked away during some secret pre-tribulation rapture and avoid the terrible events that will be endured by those left behind? Or are we unique individuals who have been chosen and elected by the Savior, who will, as a result of our affiliation, obedience to and loyalty to Christ, will have a critical roll in the end times; the roll of which will not be so pleasant? But the reward for overcoming will be well worth the unpleasantness of the times ahead.

Friends, this is where any substantive discussion on the end-times MUST begin. A difficult, crucial conversation must occur within ourselves, address that most painful of questions: Am I a “servant” of Jesus the Christ? As silly as this may seem to most of you in terms of a discussion on eschatology (i.e., end-times), I am a firm believer that no headway can ever be made in understanding the end-times unless we know where we stand in the grand scheme of things: namely, are we servants or are we just nice-principled-morale-religious people who happen to carry with us the title of Christian. This my friends is THE question that changed my life forever in 2005. When my brother-in-law asked me “How do you know you’re a Christian,” and all I had to respond with was the well-established talking points of my denomination to explain who and why I was. Quite frankly, I guess I could have simply ignored that question and kept on the path I was on at the time. But something within me was not satisfied with my answer. Why? Because the answers I gave him were NOT my answers, but the answers that were taught to me by my religion–my denomination–my church–my past and present pastors and ministers/teachers.

Perception Moment 4: How do you know that you are a Christian? For that matter, are you a servant of Christ?

Are you prepared to answer this question friends? Are you willing to step aside and seriously–honestly–ponder, meditate and seek the answer to this critical question based upon what your Bible has to say in answer to this most terrible but glorious question? For me, facing reality was painful; yet in the end was also freeing–John 8:32. It took me the better part of a half-year to fully come to terms with the honest answer to this question. I had to force myself to honestly answer this question without any denominational influences. What I found was that I was not a “servant” of Jesus Christ. Instead, I was a Christian. I was someone who said the “sinner’s prayer,” asked Jesus into my heart and life, was Baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost and believed that He was, is and will ever be: case closed; game over; end of story. The rest was up to Jesus. All I had to do was await the rapture to heaven baby!

I turned the question around and asked myself: how do I know that I’m an American? How do I know that I’m married? How do I know that I am a father to my three children? I’m not talking about being an American, married or a father simply by name and title. I’m talking about the spirit of the matter. We have many criminals rotting away in jails throughout this nation for various crimes–are these true Americans? I have been married for the better part of 30-years, legally yes, but am I a true husband to my wife? What about my children? Have I been a true father–a good father–a responsible father? Have I fulfilled all of these titles and others as Yeshua would have? I innately knew that being a husband, being a father, an American, and more importantly a Christian, was about what I’d done and what I’m doing now to fulfill the ideals associated with each of these titles. Am I being obedient to the call of each of these areas of my life? Am I obedient to the commandments of my Master as the term “doulos” strongly implies? As in being an American: one is viewed as an American when they pay their taxes, meet their financial and human obligations, obey the rules and laws of the land, and contribute to the overall well-being of society. Those who fail to do any of these things are destined to be marginalized by American society or incarcerated. What about marriage or parenting? If we are not careful to nurture and do the things that are necessary to keep a marriage and parent relationship ongoing, healthy and vibrant, those relationships are destined to deteriorate and ultimately fail.

Why do we feel that our relationship with Jesus Christ should be only a one-way relationship? I’m afraid that a lot of this has to do with the teachings and doctrines and traditions of our denominations. A great deal of blame can be laid at the feet of Calvinism, which contends that much of our relationship with the Master is inputted or administered by God and we are simply too deprived to do or know any better.

I remember a short time ago, when I went back home to visit my folks, and my mother began to inquire why I had abandoned many of the traditions and beliefs of my Baptist upbringing. When I told her that I learned there was more than met the eye to the Christian faith and that I needed to make substantive changes to my walk with Christ, she responded: you weren’t raised that way.

Indeed, I wasn’t raised this way. Unfortunately, many of us are living according to the way we have been raised–be it mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally–by our denominations. Many of us are afraid to grow up and move on. We are often hesitant to question the things that we were taught out of fear of violating the traditions of our past and the feelings and expectations of our family, friends, peers and the like. But our individual eternal destinies and individual walks/journeys with Christ have absolutely NOTHING to do with anyone beyond ourselves and the Lord. There is nothing more important in this world than our personal relationship with the Father and Jesus Christ. Note I said relationship and not church affiliation or confession of our faith.

Thus I humbly and fervently call upon you, dear believer, to assess where you fall out in this thing. How do you see yourself? Are you a Christian or are you a servant? Figure out for yourself why, if at all, you should care about this issue. Regardless, take action today. Do something. Whatever you do, don’t rest on the laurels of your chosen denomination. Jesus foretells of a time when many believers will turn on one another when the truth of the end times is finally realized by the general Christian body (reference: Matthew 24:9-13). This mass betrayal will occur because millions of “Christians” will come to realize too late that there is no secret, pre-tribulation rapture of all the Christians to heaven. Consequently, these same “Christians” will endure the terrors of man made tribulations inflicted upon the earth and subsequently by God upon the earth and its inhabitants and turn on anyone who affiliates with the true Faith once delivered.

This is the first in a series of postings regarding the controversial topic of the end times and the rapture of the Church. Join me for Episode 43–The Rapture–The Christian versus Servant Perspective–Part 2. Until then, may you be most blessed.

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Perception Moment–Did Jesus Eliminate Torah?

According to Michael Rood’s “The Chronological Gospels–The Life and Seventy Week Ministry of the Messiah,” this past weekend corresponded to a single event that is documented in the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke. This event was the healing of a leper who came to Jesus as he descended the mountain just after giving His famous Sermon on the Mount. This event is captured in Matthew 8:1-4, Mark 1:40-45 and Luke 5:12-15. You all know the story: a leper comes and kneels before Jesus and with simple contrition asks the Master to heal him of his leprosy. Jesus has compassion for this poor leper and heals him without hesitation. Upon healing the leper, Jesus admonishes the man to keep his healing to himself–i.e., keep it under-wraps. Furthermore, Jesus instructs the man to present himself to the Levitical Priest as one is directed to do in his situation by the Torah.

What struck me about this passage more than the contrition that the man had when asking for his healing by the Master; more than the compassion the Master had towards this poor leper; or even more than the actual healing miracle has to do with the fact that Jesus directed the man to obey Torah. In terms of one who is stricken with leprosy but finds him/herself healed, he or she is given detailed instruction as to how they will be reconciled back in to the community and the various tabernacle and later temple ceremonies. This instruction is recorded in Leviticus 14.

This brief mention by the Gospel writers of Jesus directing someone to follow Torah is given absolutely little to no press in today’s Christian circles. In fact, the Christian community seems to go out of its way to villainize the Law (aka: Torah) and forbids it members of even contemplating observing or obeying Torah. My point is not to argue whether or not Christians are required to obey the Law of Moses or not. More so, my point is that Christian Church leaders, teachers and scholars go out of their way given any chance they can to indoctrinate its members in the thinking that Jesus came to do away with the Law. If that was indeed the case, wouldn’t this be a perfect opportunity for Jesus to sell a philosophy of no more Torah? One has to wonder, especially when we find in another passage of the New Testament where Jesus made it clear that He did not come to this earth to abolish the Law but to make the Law achieve its fullest potential in man–reference Matthew 5:17.

Many will argue that Jesus made the Law reach it fullest potential when the Law was (in concept) nailed to the cross with Him, found in Colossians 2:13. But then, that interpretation whereby Christian apologists equate “the handwriting in ordinances which stood out against us” with Torah or the Law has been seriously questioned. Sadly, the Christian community has been taught some really bad Bible study techniques that involve simply taking individual verse sound bites and making complex and detailed doctrines and teachings out of them. Every believer must be acutely aware that sound Biblical exegesis is effectively conducted when one takes presented or quested verses in context–that is that the verse in question is interpreted within the framework of the entire chapter and in some cases the entire book where it is recorded. If one actually were to dissect Colossians chapter 2 one will realize that the context is talking about sin and the subsequent penalty for sin in the life of man. No where is the Law or Torah mentioned or even alluded to. Instead what is clearly discussed is the sin debt that is owed by every human, that was paid by Jesus. Can you say Hallelujah!

So what does this all mean? Only you and the Holy Spirit that is dwelling in you can answer that question. Clearly , Jesus didn’t do away with Torah, either while He walked the earth nor at His death. This leaves one some serious things to ponder.

This Perception Moment was brought to you by Qumran Family Church, encouraging you in righteous living while seeking to examine in the light of the Word of God, the fundamental beliefs, doctrines and teachings of Christianity today absent denominational influence and assertiveness. If you have been blessed or enlightened by what you’ve read here or heard, we invite you to register here on our website at itsnotasyouperceive.com by filling in the boxes in the right hand column of this page and subscribing to this podcast feed via Stitcher or iTunes by simply clicking on the appropraite icons at the top of the right-hand column of this page. May you be most blessed.

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Demons Once Again Reveal Themselves through a Ouija Board Game

Just when the 21st century western world has relegated demons and the topic of demon possession to the primary domain of fictional books and blockbuster movies, comes a story from the “Daily Mail” that reminds the spiritual minded of us that demons and demon possession indeed exist even today. Sophie Jane Evans, a writer for the Daily Mail, in her article entitled “Three American friends hospitalised after becoming ‘possessed’ following Ouija board game in Mexican village,” reports on the acute demon possession of 3-young adults in a Mexican village while playing a Ouija board game. According to Evans, 3-American friends, ranging in age from 18 to 22, were hospitalized with classic possession symptoms after the trio played a game on a Ouija board. The town? San Juan Tlacotenco, located in southwest Mexico.

Ouija Board

Minutes after these young people began playing the game, the only female participant, began “growling and thrashing around in a trance-like state” while the two males suddenly became blind, deaf and began hallucinating. A local Catholic priest was called to perform exorcism on the three by one of the victims’ parents, but the Church refused to provide the service citing that the young people were not members of the church congregation. Conversely, those same parents called for paramedic assistance. The trio were transported to a local hospital. The three young peoples’ possession symptoms were treated with pain and anti-anxiety drugs and eye drops. The possession symptoms seemed to succumb to the hospital’s treatment regimen. A medical professional who witnessed the behavior of the three said of the victims, “They had involuntary movements…they were so erratic. It appeared as if they were in a trance-like state…They spoke of feeling numbness, double vision, blindness, deafness, hallucinations, muscle spasm and difficulty swallowing.”

Indeed, the spirit-realm or spirit-world is real, whether or not we choose to believe this story. Our 21st century, western world, effectively masks this reality from her citizens. Yet, tens of thousands and maybe even hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world experience such connections with the spirit world on a frequent basis. In many parts of the world, the spirit world is as common a reality as waking up and going to sleep each morning, breathing, eating, or talking to one’s spouse or children. Those of us who experience such connections with the spirit-realm are considered crazy, demented, psychotic and the like. One can only imagine how many people behind bars in this country alone (i.e., the United States) are beset and influenced by the spirit-world. The greatest attention and seemingly the most prolific manifestation of the spirit-world has to do with the evil or demon side. It is this dark side of the equation that seems to demand, deprive and take away from its victims their freedom to live peaceful and productive lives. In extreme cases, this dark side brings its victims to a state of harm to others and to themselves.

demons

The Bible contains several stories related to demon possession and in each case, the manifestation is frightening and intimidating to say the least. Man overall appears impotent in the midst of such possession events. Man is carnal and incapable of even the smallest influence on demons. Spiritual beings, which we all know include demons, angels, the Creator and now the Son, Yeshua HaMashiach, operate on an entirely different plain of existence. Brute mortal strength has no effect on demons. Human reasoning can not break through to possessing demons. Demons are opportunistic creatures who seek out opportunities to intervene in the affairs of men—invited and uninvited. As a species, people in general are so oblivious to the dangers of the demon realm, that they will embark upon activities and behaviors that open the door to demon activity. Such things include: drugs, alcohol, Ouija board games, seances, promiscuous relationships, vodoo, satan worship and the like. Once demons find a foot hold in an individual’s life, it is next to impossible to get rid of them. The only sure cure for demon possession is the name and power of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Yeshua HaMashiach (aka: Jesus Christ). Luke 10:17-24 addresses the disciples (the seventy) reporting back to Yeshua, just before the Feast of Dedication in December of the year 27 CE. Luke records, “The seventy returned again with joy saying, “Master, even the demons are subject to us through your name.” Yeshua said to them, “I saw hasatan come down out of the heavens like lightning. I gave to you the authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and authority over all the power of the enemy.” As redeemed, believers in Messiah, we should be equipped to effectively deal with demons. When we became disciples of Messiah, we received that whole package. Yet the vast majority of us want nothing to do with the spirit-realm and thus would not be in any position to attend to a demon possession if we were to come across one. Regardless what side of the Faith we find ourselves in, we by virtue of our sacred heritage and calling, are required to not only operate in the spirit-realm, but to also deal with evil spirits when they enter our sphere of influence. We must absolutely begin with our relationship with the Father who stated through the Son, 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (Joh 4:23-24 KJV)

Once we’ve gained a foothold in to the spirit-realm, dealing with demons on their turf should not be a problem and demon fighting should become the duty of every believer and disciple of Messiah. May we all be so ready and fit for the battle ahead. Be Most Blessed.

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Episode 42-Pentecost, My Reflections on the Day

Mt Sinai Exodus 19

 

  • Exodus 19-20 (cf. Exo. 34:22; 26:16; Num. 28:26)
  • The mixed multitude that came out of Egypt hear the voice of Yehovah in their own tongue
  • Pentecost was the Feast that Moses told Pharaoh he was instructed to take Israel out to the wilderness and worship God
  • Prophetic shadow picture—Acts 1, 2
  • The counting of the Omer is commanded in Leviticus 23:15,16
  • Preparations in receiving God (Exo. 19:10,14 cf. Acts 1)
  • Terminology
  • Pentecost=Shavuot=Feast of Weeks
  • Holy Spirit=Ruach Kodesh
  • God=Yehovah, Yahweh
  • Jesus=Yeshua=Yehoshua

Pentecost Acts 2

  • Luke 24:45-49 (incident 245)
  • Jesus ascends to His Father on the 40th day of the counting of the Omer, leaving 10-days for the disciples to prepare for the coming of the Spirit
  • Mark 16:15-19; Luke 24:50,51
  • Luke 24:52,53 the disciples return to Jerusalem and await the Feast of Pentecost
  • Begin Acts of the Apostles
  • The Law (Torah) is written on their hearts
  • Acts 1:1—O Theophilus=likely means, O beloved of Yehovah as in Luke 1:1
  • Acts 1:2,3—Luke 24:51 ends with Jesus’ascension
  • Referring to the 40-days Jesus taught His disciples—opening their minds and eyes to the connection between Torah/Tanakh and Himself
  • After His ascension, commandments from Jesus came via the Holy Spirit
  • All of this was occurring on the 40th day of the Counting of the Omer (Thursday, June 10, 28 CE)
  • Acts 1:4,5
  • Commandment to stay within the confines of Jerusalem
  • Wait for the Promise of the Jesus
  • John the Baptizer’s revelation and prophecy of Jesus
  • Acts 1:6,7—the disciples’ focus remained on Jesus setting up His Kingdom here on earth instead of the Great Commission and the sealing of the breach—the renewing of the covenant
  • This may not still have been clear to them even at this point in the story
  • Denominationalism’s focus is on the Person of Christ—His death, burial and resurrection
  • Acts 1:8—reasserts that the Holy Spirit would be received by them and from there they will boldly fulfill His Great Commission
  • Acts 1:9-11—Jesus ascends to His Father
  • Acts 1:12-14—The disciples left the Mount of Olives and set up temporary abode in an “upper room”—likely a townhome—the inner circle of 11
  • They gathered together daily in Solomon’s Porch on the Temple Mount with other disciples daily
  • They continued in the place of prayer and supplication=the Temple—with women and Mary
  • Luke 24:52,53; Acts 3:11; 5:12
  • Acts 1:15-22—The election of Mathias
  • Here Peter attempts to fulfill prophecy and create parameters around the prophecy
  • Replace Judas from among the 120 disciples
  • Following presumptuously Jesus’ pattern—Luke 6:12-17
  • Jesus had 2-tiers of disciples—the inner circles of 12 and the general disciples
  • Peter’s actions fell outside of the directives of the Master. Peter’s seemingly good intentions were still wrong. Mathias was never heard from again in the Holy Writ
  • The replacement for Judas was the Master’s choice and that person was none other than Paul
  • The Master gave specific direction to His disciples. As true disciples we are to obey and do accordingly—nothing more, nothing less
  • Our wills must be in alignment with that of the Father, otherwise, we do stupid things like hold an unauthorized election to select an apostle that the Master hadn’t chosen
  • We can never see the whole plan of God—only the parts that involve us and that which involves us, when He reveals the plan to us—need to know basis—reference Acts 1:6,7
  • Acts 2:1—Truth and Fiction begins
  • The upper room where the apostles were staying was likely some townhouse in Jerusalem—possibly where the Master had His last supper with His inner circle of 12
  • Acts 1:14 suggests that the apostles temporarily resided in the upper room, but each day—10-days leading up to Pentecost—they went to the place of prayer and supplication—likely Solomon’s Porch on the Temple Mount
  • Here they met some 120-disciples, including women, in obedience to the Master
  • This period was prophetically portrayed in Exodus 19—the disciples in this case readied themselves to receive the promise
  • Pentecost was one of the 3-pilgrimage feasts of the Lord, thus many thousands of devout Israelites would be in Jerusalem, especially at the Temple, during this particular time. Here, it was midmorning, likely 0900 hours (reference Acts 2:15)
  • Tradition has taught that all of this was taking place in the “Upper Room”—but a careful read of the passage clearly paints a different picture altogether
  • Denominationalism teaches doctrine that is often cloudy and just bad doctrine
  • Acts 2:2-4—The coming down of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ was foreshadowed in the brilliant story that took place at the base of Mount Sinai (reference Exodus 19:16-25)
  • The date was June 20, 28 CE, the passage indicates that the house where they were sitting was filled with the Holy Spirit (Hebrew=Ruach Kodesh); “house”=Beit haMikdash—likely refers to “the house of prayer” as recorded in John 2:16,17
  • Tradition places this event at/in the “upper room,” but remember:
  • 120 disciples and 12-apostles would likely be hard pressed (literally) to fit in what we would understand to be an “upper room”
  • Pentecost mandated the presence in Jerusalem and the Temple of every able-bodied Israelite male
  • The fire this time (referring back to Exodus 19) divided and came upon each one of them and they were filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit
  • This event/this outpouring, occurred in the presence of thousands of devout Israelites attending the Feast of Weeks (aka: Pentecost and Shavuot) at the Temple
  • This fulfilled John the Baptizer’s prophecy—John 1:29-34
  • Acts 2:5-11—The amazing power of the Holy Spirit as it was being manifest within and among the 120-disciples and 12-apostles, transcended language—the dozens of dialects and cultures and races represented here no doubt able to hear and understand the proclamations and praises of the disciples in their respective tongues (i.e., languages)
  • Reminiscent of the mixed multitude that left Egypt. At the base of Mount Sinai when Father uttered forth His commandments to the people, they likely heard the pronouncement in their own tongues/languages
  • The Creator confounded the languages, He can certainly temporarily unconfused them
  • 3,000 souls were added to the ekklesia that day. Reference Exodus 32:28—3,000 souls perished at the breaking of the covenant at Mount Sinai
  • We must walk in Spirit and in Truth—Truth being the Word of God, His Torah
  • We must beware of tradition and read the Bible for our own selves and not let denominations teach us the Bible
  • If we are to properly and fully learn of His ways and gain the truth from Scripture:
  • Discern the difference between the Greek, the Hebrew, the Christian denominations’ mindsets
  • We must adopt fully a Biblical mindset
  • Pentecost was about the fulfillment of Isaiah 58:8-12 8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. 11 And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. 12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in. 13 “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; 14 then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isa 58:8-1 ESV) and Jeremiah 31:33 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jer 31:33 ESV)(cf. Hebrews 10:16; 8:10)
  • The breach that occurred at Sinai was fixed that fateful day of Pentecost
  • The Church (ekkesia) did not replace Israel—instead, that broken covenant was renewed…this time, Gentiles would be invited in—this time the Torah (the Father’s Word) would be written on their hearts

Take the time to cull from these notes the particular passages we discussed and conduct a full fledged prayerful study of your own. Ask yourself Christian:

  1. All that I’ve been taught by my denomination: is it true? Is it false? Have you been taught anything of any consequence on the significance of Pentecost?
  2. Is my focus on that which Jesus has directed you to do? Or is your focus based upon your denomination’s agenda and focus?
  3. Where do I go from here with my life?
  4. Contact us if you have any questions, we are here to provide resources and guidance to you—the truth seeking believer in Messiah
  5. Talk this content over with those whom the Father places within your sphere of influence

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