The True Voice

LOOK WHO IS SPEAKING

“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the First and the Last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; the mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in My right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” Revelation 1:9-20 (KJV)

This chapter describes John and his exile, who the book is written to, John’s vision of the glorious Christ, a description of Christ’s characteristics as the risen Lord, an outline of the book (v. 19), and explanation of the stars and lampstands, in order that we may know, that it is God’s will that we understand.

The glory of Jesus is certainly seen by John and will eventually be seen by all who believe and are not fearful of this prophecy.

This book is seen clearly in this first chapter as being for the sole purpose of revealing Jesus Christ in His glory. No longer a slaughtered and dead Lamb, but a resurrected Lord, God and Sovereign King.

He is Lord of His Church and He will ultimately be viewed by all people and nations as Lord of all.

Peter Marshall said, “It is better to fail at a task which will ultimately succeed, than to succeed at a task which will ultimately fail.”

As we look at verse nine John identifies himself with those to whom he is writing. He is involved in the same persecutions and trials. He is also one of the kingdom and enduring in the “Patience of Christ”.

John, faithful and powerful preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, was exiled by Domitian to the Isle of Patmos. Patmos was a prison island off the coast of Ephesus. It is said to have been an island where they used these prisoners as slaves for mining the mines on the island. Notice, John is not ashamed to write why he is being persecuted.

In verses ten and eleven we see John hearing from Jesus. John probably took every opportunity to hear God. “In the Spirit” simply means that he was caught up in Him in awe and adoration.

According to John Walvoord…

“There is no solid evidence, … , that the expression used by John (The Lord’s Day) was ever intended to refer to the first day of the week. It is rather a reference to the day of the Lord of the Old Testament, an extended period of time in which God deals in judgment and sovereign rule over the earth. The adjectival form can be explained on the ground that in the Old Testament there was no adjectival form for “Lord,” and therefore the noun had to be used. The New Testament term is therefore the equivalent to the Old Testament expression ‘the day of the Lord’.” (From The Revelation of Jesus Christ by John Walvoord).

I take it in the same way our brother in the Lord did. Most other times, in the New Testament, when they refer to Sunday, it is called “the first day of the week”. In Ezekiel 30:3 we have an example of “The day of the Lord”, “For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.” John, being in the Spirit was ushered into the future to see the ultimate “day of the Lord” when God’s judgment will flow upon all the world.

This Revelation could have seemed as a nightmare were it not for the appearance of the glorified Jesus. John heard “A great voice, as of a trumpet” (SEE PSALM 29). What a voice he must have heard. One of conficence and power. One of conviction and authority. One in which he found comfort.

The voice spoke of the eternalness of Himself. “The first and the last” the “beginning and the end”. He is everything in between. The A to Z. The voice commands John to write what he sees in a book (biblion GK), and send it to the seven churches of Asia.

John turns to see Him from whom the voice is coming and is overcome by His glory.
John sees seven golden “Lampstands” and standing in their midst was “One like unto the Son of man”. “Son of man” was a favorite title Jesus used for Himself. It was also used by Ezekiel very often. It denotes a prophet called and chosen by God. For Jesus it was title that identified His as being human and subservient to God the Father. John clearly recognizes Him as being the resurrected Jesus.

Jesus in His glorified state. In these descriptions we see the character of Jesus; 1. In the midst of the “lampstands” as a priest (Exodus 28:2), the “golden girdle” showing freedom of movement by tucking up the garment when needed; 2. He is seen as is the “Ancient of Days” (Daniel 7:9), He is the wise and eternal God; 3. John then identifies Him as having “Eyes… as a flame of fire” – He is Judge, seeking out the motives and desires of man to judge the righteous judgment; 4. Brass or bronze are seen as symbols of judgment, and they are on His feet. Remember Ephesians 1:22. Look at Daniel 7:9 again; 5. He is Sovereign and authority. His voice was in the creation; 6. He is protector, caretaker, and provider for the “stars”; 7. He is the Giver of the Word of God, Wielder of truth; 8. He is the Light of the world. Look at Ephesians 1:18.

John’s response was to fall down as dead, thus being similar to Daniel’s experience in Daniel 10 (vv. 17 – 18). Daniel declares, “I retained no strength” (Daniel 10:8). The touch of Jesus must have been an inspiring assurance. The very Word of God that brings conviction also brings comfort (v. 17), when there is submission to the conviction of the Word.

Here Jesus is again speaking the words “Fear not” to one of His beloved followers. This is in all probability the first time John has seen Jesus since He ascended into Heaven. To hear those words again. What joy, what peace they must have brought to his heart during this horrible persecution. “John, I am going to work my plan and bring it to pass; fear not”. Those are words of comfort to us as well.

In Matthew 22:31-32 Jesus said, “But as touching the resurrection of the dead…God says, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

Jesus’ words here tell of His life as man, as becoming dead, and rising from the grave living forever more. He lived in eternity past before He became man.

Having the keys is a symbol of authority. Jesus has the keys to eternity. He has the power, the authority to deliver from sins bondage of Hell. There is no death apart from His authority. By His resurrection He took the keys and has them for all eternity

In verses 19 -20 John is commanded to write, once again the things which he has seen. He is also given the outline of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Chapter one are the things which John has seen [past]. “The things which are” [present] are chapters two and three. Chapters four through 22 then are “The things which shall be hereafter [future]. As far as the prophecy of the Revelation of Jesus Christ we are still in the “Present” stage of chapters two and three which is the “Church age”.

In verse twenty Jesus gives us understanding of the “Candlesticks” or “Lampstands” and the “Seven stars”. If the “Lampstands” are the seven churches, then it stands to reason that the “Seven stars” being angels, means the angels to the seven churches are the pastors of each church. “Angel” means ‘Messenger’. The messenger to each church is its God-called pastor. It is the pastor who would stand before his congregation each Sunday morning reading and expounding the Word of God. He would be doing the same with this new letter sent from John. It does not seem at all likely, that an angel of Heaven would be the one reading these words to the local congregation.

Notice, John said earlier that Jesus was in the midst of the “Lampstands”. He is the central character of the Church (Matthew 18:20). He is to be found glorified in His Church.

In conclusion, we can see in the verses of this chapter that Jesus is the glorified One. He is the One who is, and shall be glorified in and through His Body, the Church.
We can see it is also His will that His people [the Church] understand the words of this prophecy. Only the wicked and unbelieving will be and are afraid and tremble before its teaching. It is a prophecy of comfort and encouragement to those who know Jesus.

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Living As Christians in The World Today (1)

Living As Christians In A World Gone Mad

To show Christians how we are to live in the world as the coming of our Lord Jesus draws near.

INTRODUCTION TO SERIES:
It appears that some of the people in the Church were being told or just believing the return of Jesus was so near, and that if they really believed that they should quit their jobs, sell their homes and lands.

These two letters teach completely the opposite. As a matter of fact the Bible teaches opposite of that. Jesus’s coming is certain and definitely near. We are to keep on yielding our lives to Him, and going about the daily Christian life as though He might not come for a million years.

First Thessalonians mentions the second coming of Jesus as the end or near the end of each chapter. Chapter four gives us an indepth look at the “Catching away” of the Saints which is commonly referred to as the “Rapture”.

In Thessalonica there was much heathen, pagan worship. The Church was greatly persecuted because they were living their faith. They would probably be called radical by even many professing Christians of our day.

We live in a society that is quite similar to theirs. People do not mind what god you worship, as long as you keep it to yourself. “Keep it [your faith] in the Church building.” Do not take it to your job. Do not take it on vacation. Do not take it to your friends, because if you do you will be tagged as a trouble maker, a rabble rouser, and you will be shunned by your peers.

That is why this series in the Thessalonian Letter; “Living As Christians In A World Gone Mad”.

Part 1 – Change By The Power of God
To commend the Church for their faith, and hope that is in the heart: and to challenge them to live exemplary lives to show forth the change that God has wrought in their lives.

INTRODUCTION:
The study actually begins in Acts 17:1-10 which tells of Paul’s short ministry in Thessalonica. It was only about three weeks in duration, but in three weeks there was an established Church – a body of Believers worshiping, praying, studying the Scriptures, and breaking bread together. The Believers fearing for Paul’s and Silas’s life sent them away (Acts 17:10).

Paul is a man of God greatly concerned about this young Church. He sends Timothy to them and Timothy sends word back to Paul of their growth and stedfastness of faith. Paul is thrilled, and fully knows that it is the work of God’s Spirit. He sends them a letter to assure them of His prayers, to encourage them, and to exhort them to continue strong in the Word and faith, no matter what.

“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:1 (KJV)

Looking at Verse 1 –
Paul begins the letter in pretty much his normal way; only he adds Silvanus [Silas] and Timothy. These are men the people at Thessalonica were familiar with. He also acknowledges that they are a Church in God and the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what counts. It really does not matter if a board of men, or a government recognizes a Church; as long as it is in God and the Lord Jesus, it is a Church.

Paul sends them a familiar greeting “Grace and peace”. True grace and peace can only come through God and His Son Jesus.

“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father…” 1:2-3

Verses 2 – 3 —
There is thanksgiving in Paul’s heart for this Church, and their faithfulness. He also assures them of his prayer for them.

Their faith that works; the love they show to others ministering to others and to one another; their patience in God – knowing He always knows best in every situation; these were all known by Paul as their spiritual leader, and He remembered them.

BE READY JESUS IS COMING SOON.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; that He died on a cross for your sins, was buried and rose again from the dead; and He is alive forever more.

LAST DAYS: No Man Knows

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.” Matthew 24:36-44 (KJV)

There are some who try and date the Second Coming of our Lord. It has always been ended with embarrassment, and loss of credibility. Why is it that we cannot believe what Jesus has taught us; “No man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only,”. He gives us a clue as to the conditions of the times, but still without a date.

Some have looked at this verse and indicated that since Jesus didn’t know the day or hour this was surely evidence that He was not divine. Jesus was divine, but limited His knowledge as a man, to only what the Father would have Him know. It would seem to me, that now that He is seated on the Father’s right hand, and all things have been “Placed under His feet”, that Jesus would definitely know the day and hour of His coming.

Jesus gives us some signs to look for before that great and notable day of the Lord comes. There is the sign of Noah. Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD, and God called him to build a huge boat, with its inhabitants being the animals of the earth, and eight human beings – Noah and his wife, their three sons and their wives. The days of Noah were evil. Everyone was going about life without much thought and little to no thought of God. They were wealthy, comfortable, and there seems to have been no war; all is well! At least on the surface. Then Noah comes along, hears the Word of the LORD, obeys, and begins building this large floating boat, and ark for deliverance. Not only is Noah preaching to the people around him, but the building of the ark itself is a message to the people. Let’s hear what the writer of Hebrews says of this;

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11:7 (KJV)

The culture of Noah’s day was probably very similar to our own. Jesus describes it as, “…before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage…”. To see this and read it just seems like the casual, everyday thing. People were going about their daily task, play, work, as though everything were fine. Jesus is most likely getting us to see that cultural laws had become common place. Cultural law basically being if it is alright for the culture your in then it is right. We could look at this way – if exchanging marriage partners is culturally okay, then it is okay to practice for all; if homosexuality and same sex marriage is acceptable then, it should be acceptable for all; if giving the unborn babies up on the altar of abortion is the going and approved thing, then by all means don’t over burden yourself; if prostitution is just another way of making a living, and can be unionized, then don’t criticize those who must earn their keep by slaving themselves out for pleasure oriented people; you see the phrase of the cultural elite is “You got to go along, to get along”.

As long as you don’t “rock the boat” or “make waves” you are an okay sort of person. However, if you speak out about these culturally acceptable vices, and call them “evil”; the culturally elite will turn that around on you and call you the “evil”. Remember Isaiah the prophets words, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20 (KJV). There has been a changing of words and semantics plays a large part in our understanding. It used to be that the word “Gay” meant “Happy, merry, cheerful”. Now the word “Gay” is used culturally to define a deviant lifestyle which is growing more and more acceptable by our world, and culture.

That is probably the like of Noah’s day. The cultural thing is to be accepting of all fads, frauds, and failures; with one exception, and that exception being those who will have the courage and boldness to say what is right and wrong. That day when Jesus comes back to earth to set up His kingdom will be a dramatic day. Most of those who hold power positions will be put down. Every nation who exalts itself against the God of heaven will fall. Every individual who exalts themselves against the Lord Jesus will crumble and bow in His presence. There will be no humility here from these; they will be pleading for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them.

On that day it seems there will be a separation which takes place in that moment; at least in that very day. Two working side by side – one will be left to live on in the kingdom of Jesus because of their faith in Him, and the other will perish. Matthew’s gospel mentions two men in the field, and two women at the mill, and would probably cover every situation of the workers in that time to come. It leaves us to understand that no gender, or workplace, is without the separation. One believes and is left to live on in the Kingdom or our Lord, while the unbelieving perish, and await the final judgment.

Jesus gives us these words to cause us to be “watchful” and vigilant concerning the matter of His Second Coming. Though this Sermon on Mount Olive is probably a message solely for the Jewish people it should have a profound impact on the Body of Christ – the Church. Though there are many preachers who use these words of two being together and one taken as referring to the rapture of the Church, the rapture of the Church does not seem to be mentioned in the sermon; at least in this part of it. We are uncertain of when the LORD may return, but we can know that since these signs are having to do with the Second Coming of Christ and not the Rapture, then the Rapture of the Church is closer. Therefore, we are to be ever vigilant, and diligent to do the works that will glorify our Lord.

LAST DAYS: The Sign of the Son of Man

“And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:19-31 (KJV)

For clarification and better understanding we need to see “The elect” mentioned in the
Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25) as being the Hebrew people, and not the Church of Jesus Christ.

The days of the Abomination will be sad and troubled days for the Jewish people. The one to whom they had turned for peace and safety, is now proclaiming himself as their god. Women with babies fleeing for their lives and the lives of the babes. This will be a time when all Jews will be told to bow and worship or perish. These babies will be used as means of coersion to persuade the mothers to worship the Beast. Using them, threatening death to the babe, if they do not worship. This would be a terrible plight for any mother. It will be another time of “Rachel weeping for her children”, only this time it will not be because of the birth of the Lamb of God; but the pretentious act of the Beast of hell.

Jesus says here, “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day”. A Winter flight (that means fleeing, not flying) would be hazardous, cold, and difficult. The Sabbath would catch them in their rituals, worship, sacrifices and dedications, thus shortening their response to flee time. Would it be safe to say that this day will not take place in the Winter or on the Sabbath day? I ask this because Jesus gives instruction to pray that their flight not be in either of these times. Usually the things for which Jesus instructs us to pray; we receive.

This time will be the last three and one half years of the tribulation, and Jesus calls this “great tribulation”. The first 3.5 years seems to go well for the Jewish people, and some of the people of the earth. The Gospel of the kingdom is being preached by 144,000 Jewish preachers traveling the world over, and the gospel reaches the whole world. It seems that every ear will hear of the coming, the nearness of the glorious appearing of our great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. The thing is these 144,000 witnesses and their converts will be subject to death when they are captured, and be put to death. These will be hated by the “earth dwellers” – those whose hearts and ties are bound toward the things of this world, and who hate God and His truth.

It is clear from our text that though evil will be seemingly having its way, that God is still superintending, and will only let things go so far as fulfills His will (v. 22). “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved…” The people of the earth will be so deceived they will believe they finally are free, having their way without God and there may be a time of seeming prosperity among the “earth dwellers”, but it will also be short lived. When I refer to the “People of earth” or “earth dwellers” be reminded that these are those who love the world, themselves, and are only out to get all they can, “And can all they can get”.

Thomas Ice has written on the “Earth dwellers” in Midnight Call magazine;

“When we survey the eleven uses of ‘earth dwellers’ in Revelation, we see an interesting composite that develops. Not only are they to be tested in order to show their true metal (3:10), they are clearly identified as those who are persecuting and killing believers during the Tribulation (6:10). Many of the judgments of the Tribulation are targeted for the earth dwellers (8:13).” Thomas Ice, MIDNIGHT CALL Magazine, August, 2008, p.15, titled “The Earth Dwellers of Revelation”.

It is great to know that God is never out of control. “but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened”; God knows how much chastening the people of Israel needs, how much will be necessary to complete the work He began in them.

As they have fled Jerusalem to the place God prepares for them, and they are protected by God, there will come false prophets, and false christs to them saying, that they know christ is in the desert, or that they themselves are christs.

There is great deception in the world today (2015) with many who do not see, choose not to see or hear what God has to say.  Many putting priority on what they call science, rather than God and/or His Word and His Son; righteousness, holiness, and justice and peace in God.

O, flee to the cross of Jesus Christ today.