The two Beasts of Rev13 have united!

17 Mar

HISTORIC! Pope Francis Invited to Address US Congress!

“Pope Francis could become the first pontiff ever to address Congress after being offered a historic invitation by US House leaders on Thursday. House Speaker John Boehner sent a formal, open invitation to the pontiff, who on Thursday marked the first anniversary of his election to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.” (source)

The two beasts of Revelation 13 have united! Keep watching friends! – “When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near.” (E.G.White, Testimonies, Vol.5, p451)

Pope and WCC on new opportunities for Christian unity

13 Mar

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis and the general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev Olav Fykse Tveit, have discussed “new opportunities for Christian unity today”, focused on working together for peace, justice and environmental protection. At a meeting in the Vatican on Friday, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the path of “full and visible communion” among Christians of different denominations. They also talked about peace in the Middle East and on the Korean peninsula, about economic justice and about an upcoming summit of religious leaders to press for urgent action on climate change.

The Geneva based World Council of Churches is a fellowship of 345 member churches from over 110 different countries. In his words to the general secretary Pope Francis thanked the organisation for its work over the past half century in “overcoming mutual misunderstanding” and promoting “sincere ecumenical cooperation”. If Christians ignore the call to unity which comes from the Lord, he said, “they risk ignoring the Lord himself.” Though the road to unity is still an uphill struggle, he said, the Spirit encourages us to move forward in trust.

Just after the audience, Philippa Hitchen spoke to Rev Fykse Tveit to find out more about their conversation and about their shared vision for the future of the ecumenical movement…..

Listen: RealAudioMP3

“It was a very good conversation….I responded to what we understand is his vision of how the Church shall serve the needs of the world, sharing the Gospel, being together in doing this, but also how we shall address the issues of justice and peace in the world together…..I shared our vision as WCC and also my personal understanding and commitment to what it means to work for justice and peace as a Christian…..we recognize that we have, in many ways, the same perspectives but also the same spirit….

There is no doubt about his commitment to unity….what he said and what I said is that there are new opportunities for Christian unity today, particularly how we serve the world together and we should focus on how we can do that…..he was interested in particular issues I raised with him about the Middle East, about peace in Korea, our work for economic justice and for the environment….

[on Korean reconciliation]We are working on another meeting between participants from North and South Korea, to happen in Geneva before the summer…..I’m going to visit South Korea in April to discuss this…..it’s very important for us to see how the Churches can bring another vision on how things can change….the expectations from the Korean Churches are quite significant….

[on 10th Assembly in Busan] I think we realized we cannot divide the ecumenical movement into those who are evangelicals, those who are ecumenical, those who work for unity, those who work for mission, those who work for justice….it belongs together in a very strong way…and this was what we confirmed in the conversation today with his Holiness….

[on climate change] I referred to the call of UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon at the World Economic Forum in January this year when he called governments, the business sector and the civil sector – including religious leaders – to bring something new, to really make changes in how we give priority to the environment…..we believe it’s time to call other religious leaders to a summit, the day before the summit that Ban Ki-moon has called for heads of state in September in New York, and the Pope was apparently supporting this idea very strongly…”

Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/03/07/pope_and_wcc_on_new_opportunities_for_christian_unity/en1-779487
of the Vatican Radio website

The Deadly Wound is Almost Healed! Pope Francis, the man who won over the World! (March 2014)

12 Mar

“Never has a leader of the Roman Catholic Church become as popular in as short a time as Pope Francis did … Admirers from Manila to Mexico fondly remember his first appearance on the balcony in the Vatican when he began with the simple greeting, Good evening … We have never seen a pope become so popular in just a couple of minutes, said Odon Vallet, a French historian and an expert on religion.”

Revelation 13 tells us that the sea beast (the Papacy) who controlled the world for centuries would receive a ‘mortal wound’. History confirms this wound when in 1798 General Berthier of France marched his army into Rome, took the pope captive and locked him in prison, where he died. Then … “Half of Europe thought… that with the Pope the Papacy was dead.” (Lectures on the History of Religion, 1910). But Revelation 13 also tells us that this mortal wound would be healed and the whole world would ‘wonder after the beast’.

In 1929, Mussolini granted the Vatican it’s own state power again, and ever since, that ‘mortal wound’ has been healing. 85 years later and the whole world is beginning to wonder after the Papal beast. Even many of the Protestant churches are returning to their ‘mother’.

Do you believe this rhetoric of ‘Religious Tolerance’ will stand when the ‘kings of the world give their power unto the beast’? Not a chance friends. Once the Vatican receives world power again, like they did in the dark ages, persecution will rise again for God’s true Bible believing Christians. But please stand firm no matter what. An eternal bliss with Jesus awaits!

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The Rise and Spread of Futurism – Jesuit Futurism

12 Mar
 
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The Catholic Counter Reformation – Futurism
The Jesuits were commissioned by the Pope to develop a new interpretation of Scripture that would counteract the Protestant application of the Bible’s prophecies regarding the Antichrist to the Roman Catholic Church. All the reformers’ studies pointed the finger directly at the Roman Catholic Church as the Antichrist power described in Daniel as the “little horn.”

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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Francisco Ribera (1537-1591), a brilliant Jesuit priest and doctor of theology from Spain, answered Papacy’s call. Like Martin Luther, Francisco Ribera also read by candlelight the prophecies about the Antichrist, the little horn, the man of sin, and the beast of Revelation.

He then developed the doctrine of futurism. His explanation was that the prophecies apply only to a single sinister man who will arise up at the end of time. Rome quickly adopted this viewpoint as the Church’s official position on the Antichrist.

In 1590 Ribera published a commentary on the Revelation as a counter interpretation to the prevailing view among Protestants which identified the Papacy with the Antichrist.  Ribera applied all of Revelation to the end time rather than to the history of the church. Antichrist, he taught, would be a single evil person who would be received by the Jews and who would rebuild Jerusalem.i
 
Ribera denied the Protestant Scriptural Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2) as seated in the church of God-asserted by Augustine, Jerome, Luther, and many reformers. He set on an infidel Antichrist, outside the church of God.
ii
 
The result of [Ribera’s] work was a twisting and maligning of prophetic truth.
iii

Following close behind Francisco Ribera was another brilliant Jesuit scholar, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine of Rome (1542-1621). Between 1581-1593, Cardinal Bellarmine agreed with Ribera in his work Polemic Lectures Concerning the Disputed points of the Christian Belief Against the Heretics of this Time.

The futurist teachings of Ribera were further popularized by an Italian cardinal and the most renowned Jesuit controversialists. His writings claimed that Paul, Daniel, and John had nothing whatsoever to say about the Papal power. The futurists’ school won general acceptance among Catholics. They were taught that antichrist was a single individual who would not rule until the very end of time.iv

Through the work of these two clever Jesuit scholars, Jesuit futurism was born.

Read about the spread of futurism throughout the past centuries

 


The Secret Rapture

8 Mar
Why Would Jesus Promise?
There is a theological question that has disturbed millions of Christians and has lent untold doctrinal confusion to the modem religious world. That question revolves around the manner of Christ’s coming back to this earth at the end of the world. Multitudes have been led to believe that Christ will return secretly. What about the so-called secret rapture? A large number of Christians have been exposed to this “dispensationalist” or “futurist” interpretation of prophecy and have been hopelessly confused.

According to this view, the coming of Jesus will be in two separate events. First, He will come secretly to take the church to heaven, and then, seven years later, He will come in an open demonstration of power and glory. In between those two events, the Antichrist is supposed to come into power and the great tribulation period takes place.

But the truth is that the Bible nowhere speaks of these two separate comings of Jesus. There is no second stage of His coming that occurs seven years after the so-called “rapture.” By the way, that word “rapture” is also an invention of theologians. It can’t be found in the Bible in even a single instance. It is a word coined for the second advent of Jesus.

Now here is what we find in the Scriptures: Christ’s coming, the resurrection, and catching up of the saints to meet Jesus in the air, all take place at the same time, at the end of the world. This is why Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). Now why would Jesus promise to be with the church until the end of the world if He intended to come seven years before the end to take them out of the world? The promise would have no meaning.

Will It Be Secret?
The secret rapture doctrine contradicts the words of Christ in Matthew chapter 13 when He said that the wheat and tares would grow together until the “end of the world” and then would be separated. According to the two-stage teaching of His coming, both groups would not grow together until the end of the world. The righteous would be separated from the wicked seven years before the end. And what about the promise of the resurrection? Christ said, concerning the righteous, “And I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40). No one denies that this means the last day of the world. Yet Paul declares that the saints are caught up to meet the Lord at the same time the dead in Christ are raised. He says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).

Please keep in mind that Jesus called this resurrection the “last day.” But how could it be the “last day” if this gathering of the saints takes place seven years before the end of the world? And how could the “last trump” sound if it really wasn’t the very last moment of time?

Can you imagine the graves opening and the righteous rising and no one knowing that it had occurred? And consider this additional testimony of the Word of God:

Revelation 6:16,17 When the wicked see Christ come, they cry out to the rocks and mountains, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”

Matthew 24:27 “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.”

1 Corinthians 15:52 “For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised.”

Psalm 50:3 “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence.”

Revelation 1:7 “Every eye shall see him. “

Matthew 24:30 “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.”

Matthew 24:31 “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.” (This is clearly the time when Christ comes to gather His saints.)

To say that the second coming of Christ to gather His saints will be secret, in view of these clear texts of Scripture, and in the absence of any text that even hints at His coming being secret, is to deny the Bible as the Word of God. In an attempt to uphold their contrived theory, the rapturists quote Matthew 24:40, 41 out of context. Notice this entire passage:
“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” (Matthew 24:37-41).

Jesus is clearly drawing a parallel between the second coming and the days of Noah. Those who entered the ark in Noah’s day were saved, and those who refused to enter the ark were left outside. But what were they left for? For another chance? No, obviously they were left to be destroyed by the Flood. So, says Jesus, will it be when He comes at the end of the world. One will be taken to heaven with Jesus, and the other will be left for destruction. Verse 51 makes clear what will happen to those who are left: “And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Read Luke 17:26-37 for Luke’s parallel account of these same words of Jesus. In verse 36, this statement is made: “Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Now notice verse 37 and the question the disciples asked: “And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord?” They wanted to know where those who didn’t go to heaven were going to be left. Notice Jesus’ clear answer: “And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.”

Take note how Jesus taught that the bodies of the wicked are going to be left on the ground for the eagles to consume. Scripture is too plain to be misunderstood. Only as we accept all that the Bible says can we be safe from such deceptive teachings that are confusing millions of sincere Christians today concerning this most glorious event of all ages, the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Now, I realize that the rapturists hang onto the texts that liken the Lord’s coming to “a thief in the night.” They assume that this must be a quiet, secret coming. But does it really mean that? Let’s show that it definitely does not. Here is one of those texts in 2 Peter 3: 10: “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” Obviously the “thief’ part has nothing to do with secrecy because the heavens will pass away with a great noise! And if coming “as a thief’ is the secret rapture which takes place seven years before the end of the world, how can the heavens and earth “pass away,” as Peter describes it? The heavens and earth could not pass away seven years before the world ends – that is the end!

The fact is that Jesus Himself explained clearly just how a thief’s coming could be related to His coming: “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” (Matthew 24:42, 43). There it is, so plain and simple! The thief would come unexpectedly when the owners were not looking for a thief. In the same way, His coming would take people by surprise. They would not be watching or looking for it.

Will Christ Return in Two Phases?
The dispensationalists teach that the two separate stages of Christ’s coming are indicated “in the Greek.” They argue that there will first be the rapture (parousia), a secret coming; then seven years later will be the revelation (apokalupsis), His coming in power and glory. But, actually, instead of teaching two separate events, the Greek terms are used interchangeably in the Bible. They give no indication of a seven-year interval.

For example, Paul uses the word “parousia” in the famous rapture chapter of 1 Thessalonians 4 in speaking of the coming of our Lord and our gathering together unto Him. He then goes right on to show that this “parousia” will destroy the man of sin. Speaking of the Antichrist, Paul says, “whom the Lord shall … destroy with the brightness of his coming [parousia]” (2 Thessalonians 2:8). These texts clearly describe the coming (parousia) of Christ as taking place after the reign of the man of sin, not as an escape rapture before the reign of the Antichrist begins.

The other Greek word “apokalupsis” (revelation) is used in a way that indicates it is not a separate coming from the time the believers are gathered up. Peter said to “be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation [apokalupsis] of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). Why would Christians be exhorted to keep hoping to the very end of the world for the grace brought through the revelation of Christ if their real hope was a secret rapture seven years before the revelation?

Now look at some verses that prove beyond a doubt that the two words “parousia” and “apokalupsis” refer to the same event. In Matthew 24:37 we read, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming [parousia] of the Son of man be.” Luke’s account of the same passage says “As it was in the days of Noe … Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed [apokalupsis]” (Luke 17:26, 30). This shows that the coming (parousia) of Christ and the revelation (apokalupsis) of Christ are the same event. There is absolutely no basis for placing seven years in between.

Many dispensationalist teachers actually claim that the rapture is not really the “coming” of Jesus at all. They say His coming is when Christ returns in power seven years after the rapture. But what a contradictory, confusing explanation that is! The fact is that there are many Scriptures that admonish Christians to wait and watch for the coming of the Lord. For example, James 5:7 says, “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.” But why should Christians need to be patient unto the coming of the Lord if there is to be a secret rapture to take them to heaven seven years before His coming?

Strange as it may seem, this whole counterfeit secret rapture is built upon a constant repetition of words and ideas that are not found in the Bible at all. But they have been repeated so often that millions have assumed that they must be soundly biblical. Let’s take a look at some of the texts that have been used to support the doctrine of a two-phase coming of Christ. And please notice that none of the verses actually say what some try to read into them. In fact, it is only after a person has already assumed that Christ will return in two separate comings that these verses could even suggest the idea.

Revelation 3:10 is often quoted to try to prove that the righteous will be taken out of the world before the tribulation. “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” It is immediately obvious that this text does not speak of the righteous leaving this world at all. Jesus completely clarified the meaning by something He said in John 17:6, 15 which sounds very similar. “They have kept thy word. O I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” Don’t miss the significance of the term “kept the word” in both these texts. Both statements are talking about the same group of people – the faithful ones.

Now if those who “kept the word” can be “kept from the evil” of the world without being taken out of the world, why should we suppose that a special coming and secret rapture is required for those who “kept the word” to be “kept from the hour of temptation”? Whatever else may be taught in Revelation 3: 10, it is evident that no extra coming of Christ is indicated.

True biblical doctrine must be based upon clear statements of what the entire Bible teaches on a subject and not upon verses that offer only veiled inferences. Luke 21:36 is an example of that very thing. Jesus said to His disciples, “Pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass.” How? By a secret rapture to take them to heaven seven years before the end of the world? Definitely not, for in the prayer of Jesus we read, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” When He told them to “pray … to escape,” He must have meant the same as when He prayed, “I pray not … take them out of the world but … keep them.” This rules out a secret rapture entirely. The text that is used to prove the rapture is seen actually to forbid the saints being taken out of this world during the time of trouble.

The Seven-Year Tribulation
Since so much rapturist theology revolves around the seven-year period, one would assume that the Bible must speak frequently of such a time period. But not so. There is not one single scriptural reference that ties the seven years to the end of the world or the coming of Christ. Most rapturist literature mentions the seven-year tribulation period without offering any Bible proof or explanation. Millions have assumed that it must be so well documented that no proof is needed. In fact, the opposite is true. There just isn’t any evidence to give.

Most Bible students are amazed to learn that the rapturists try to justify their seven years by lifting a prophecy of Daniel completely out of its context. In Daniel 9:24-27 God made a daring prophecy concerning the probation of the nation of Israel. He said to Daniel, “Seventy weeks ['weeks of years' RSV] are determined upon thy people … to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins” (v. 24). Please notice that God was going to allow Daniel’s people seventy weeks to see what they would do with the Messiah when He appeared. The seventy weeks are prophetic time, and each day represents a literal year (Ezekiel 4:6). So the seventy weeks would be a literal period of 490 years, after which the Israelites would no longer be God’s people. They would be rejected as a nation because of their rejection of the Messiah.

Don’t miss the point in Daniel 9:25 that the prophecy of the seventy weeks was to begin with the decree to restore and build Jerusalem. That well-known date is 457 B.C., when Artaxerxes sent out the decree (Ezra 7:13). From that date, 457 B.C., the Jews would have exactly 490 years to finish filling up their cup of iniquity by rejecting the Messiah. That 490-year probation ended in A.D. 34, and the Jews ceased to be God’s chosen people. Daniel 9:25 says that the Messiah would be anointed after sixty-nine of those prophetic weeks had passed by. That would be 483 years from the decree date of 457 B.C. It takes no mathematician to figure the end of that prediction. It brings us to the year A.D. 27, the very year that Jesus was baptized by John and the Holy Spirit anointed Him for His ministry. Since “Messiah” means” Anointed One,” this had to be the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy that the Messiah would appear in A.D 27.

Now mark this fact: seventy weeks were assigned to the Jewish probation, but Christ appeared as the Messiah after sixty-nine weeks. That leaves the seventieth week for Christ to minister before the Jews’ probation ended. What was to happen in the seventieth week? Daniel 9:27 tells us, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.”

The midst of the week would be three and a half prophetic days (literal years) from His baptism. And according to the Bible, the ministry of Jesus lasted for three and a half years. In the spring of A.D. 31 He was crucified. The veil of the temple was rent (Matthew 27:51), signifying the end of sacrifices. By His death He caused them to cease. Another three and a half years would lead up to the end of the seventy weeks and the end of Jewish probation. During that three and a half years the disciples labored largely for the Jews. But in A.D. 34 the seventy weeks ended; Stephen was stoned and the gospel began to go to the Gentiles (Acts 8:4). The Jews had rejected the gospel message and were no longer God’s people – just as Daniel had predicted. Henceforth they could be saved only as individuals, in exactly the same way as the Gentiles. As a nation, they had been rejected as the chosen people. Here is the way the Bible describes that rejection:
Matthew21:43 “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you.”

Matthew 21:19 “And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.” (The fig tree was a symbol of the Jewish nation.)

Matthew 23:38 “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”

Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Galatians 3:29 “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Romans 10:12 “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.”

Romans 9:6-8 “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children; but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are … the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” (The New Testament teaches the acceptance of spiritual Israel, and the rejection of physical Israel and the children of the flesh.)

Romans 2:28, 29 “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter.”

Acts 13:46 “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.”

The rapturists get their seven years’ tribulation by lifting that seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy completely out of its context and shoving it far into the future. They claim it will be fulfilled after Christ comes to snatch away the righteous secretly. Incredible? Absolutely! But they must grasp desperately for some text to support their seven years. They agree that the sixty-nine weeks of Daniel 9:25 refer to the period before Christ’s first advent, but then they insert a 2,000-year gap before the seventieth week is fulfilled. They allot 69 weeks plus 2,000 years plus one week, or a total of 2,490 years. By this devious manipulation of God’s Word, the rapturists believe they have extended the Jewish probation; and based upon this, they teach that all the fleshly Jews will be saved in a great second chance after the “secret rapture” takes place.

The tragedy of the rapture theory is that it takes these beautiful verses of Daniel 9:24-27 that predict the coming of Jesus, His baptism and crucifixion, and apply them to Antichrist. They do this by stating that it is Antichrist that causes the sacrifice and oblation to cease after three and one-half years. But Daniel states that it is Jesus who caused the sacrificial system of the Jews to cease when He died on the cross. A misinterpretation that confuses something Christ has done, and applies it to the devil instead, is certainly a tragic occurrence. And yet this is the only way one can arrive at a seven-year tribulation period. How sad!

When Does the Antichrist Appear?
Now we are brought to focus on the most glaring inconsistency of the rapture theory, and that is that the Antichrist will not appear until after the saints are caught away – seven years before the end of the world. Paul settles the entire matter for us in the first few verses of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [of our gathering together unto Him] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin [Antichrist] be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (vs. 1-4).

The words of Paul are so plain that it is difficult to comment on them. How can they be plainer? Christ’s coming will not take place “except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed.” Show these words to any child who has learned to read; show them to anyone not prejudiced by “private” interpretations, and he will say, “These verses say that the man of sin (Antichrist) is going to be revealed before Jesus comes.”

Paul is not referring to some superman suddenly to appear 2,000 years after his epistles. He wrote, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work” (v. 7). While Paul lived, he combated the emerging spirit of the Antichrist. By the sixth century A.D., Antichrist had matured. The crowning act in the great drama of deception, however, occurs just before the return of Christ: “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”‘ Verse 8. This clearly states that Antichrist will be destroyed when Christ comes. He does not arrive after the Second Advent.

And here’s the crowning clarification in this whole thing. Revelation 20:4 assures us that some of those who are raised in the first resurrection will be those who refused to worship the beast and receive his mark! How completely this demolishes the futuristic school of prophetic interpretation is evident, for they claim that the emergence of the Antichrist and the imposition of his mark are to be looked for after the first resurrection and what they call the secret rapture. Recently a radio preacher expressed this belief: “I don’t expect to be here when the beast is enforcing his mark upon the people. I expect to go up in the rapture and be in heaven during the great tribulation time.” But these verses declare that some of those who come up in the “first resurrection,” when Christ comes the second time, have already refused to worship the Antichrist or receive his mark! Thus, the Antichrist must have already been on the stage of action carrying on his oppressive work before the “first resurrection” and well before the second coming of Jesus.

Without attempting to establish the identity of Antichrist at this point, let us notice how this teaching – that the Antichrist will come in the future – originated. At the time of the Reformation, most of the reformers understood the prophecy of the Antichrist to refer to the great apostate system of Romanism that developed during the Middle Ages. Of course, Rome did not appreciate this interpretation. Please notice Rome’s course of action to nullify this interpretation:
“So great a hold did the conviction that the Papacy was the Antichrist gain upon the minds of men, that Rome at last saw she must bestir herself, and try, by putting forth other systems of interpretation, to
counteract the identification of the Papacy with the Antichrist.

“Accordingly, toward the close of the century of the Reformation, two of the most learned doctors set themselves to the task, each endeavoring by different means to accomplish the same end, namely, that of diverting men’s minds from perceiving the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Antichrist in the papal system. The Jesuit Alcazar devoted himself to bring into prominence the preterist method of interpretation, … and thus endeavored to show that the prophecies of Antichrist were fulfilled before the popes ever ruled in Rome, and therefore could not apply to the Papacy.

“On the other hand, the Jesuit Ribera tried to set aside the application of these prophecies to the papal power by bringing out the futurist system, which asserts that these prophecies
refer properly, not to the career of the Papacy, but to some future supernatural individual, who is yet to appear, and continue in power for three and a half years. Thus, as Alford says, the Jesuit Ribera, about A.D. 1580, may be regarded as the founder of the futurist system of modern times.

“It is a matter for deep regret that those who advocate the futurist system at the present day, Protestants as they are for the most part, are really playing into the hands of Rome, and helping to screen the Papacy from detection as the Antichrist.”1

Thus, the whole theory of the secret rapture with its future Antichrist had its origin with the Jesuits in an attempt to take the blame off the Papacy.

The origin of the two-phase coming of Christ has an equally unsavory history. It was not until around the year 1830 that this view began to be taught. In the Scottish church pastored by Edward Irving, a Miss Margaret McDonald gave what was believed at the time to be an inspired utterance. She spoke of the visible, open, and glorious second coming of Christ. But as the utterance continued, she spoke of another coming of Christ – a secret and special coming in which those who were truly ready would be raptured.

However, it was John Nelson Darby – Brethren preacher and diligent writer of the time in England – who was largely responsible for introducing this new teaching on a large scale. The teaching spread to the United States in the 1850s and 1860s, where it was to receive its biggest boost when Cyrus Ingerson Scofield, a strong believer in Darby’s teachings, incorporated it into the notes of his Scofield Reference Bible, which was published in 1909. Since that time, this view has been widely accepted – often by people who are completely unaware that this was not the belief held by Christians over the centuries. Many fine Christians hold his view today who have never questioned its authority.

Oswald Smith, noted minister and author of Toronto, says in his booklet Tribulation or Rapture – Which? that he once held the two-stage teaching, but that when he began to search the Scriptures for himself, he discovered that there is not a single verse in the Bible to uphold this view. He confessed: “I had been taught that the Greek word ‘parousia’ always referred to the Rapture and that other words were used for the coming of Christ in glory … but I found that this is not true. … We might go through all the writers of the New Testament, and we would fail to discover any indication of the so-called ‘two stages’ of our Lord’s coming … That theory had to be invented by man. Search and see. There is no verse in the Bible that even mentions it.”

The Second Chance
Finally, the secret rapturists claim that during the tribulation those not raptured will be given another chance to be saved. Let it be categorically stated that nowhere does Scripture speak of a second chance, nor does the Bible anywhere speak of people being saved after Jesus comes. This is just another manmade doctrine that is indeed pleasing to the carnal heart of man. Actually, the Bible teaches the opposite. Notice these clear texts of Scripture:

2 Corinthians 6:2 “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

Revelation 22:11, 12 “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me.” (Evidently probation closes just prior to the Second Advent.)

Jeremiah 8:20 “The harvest (day of second coming) is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”

When Jesus comes the second time, He carries “in his hand a sharp sickle” (Revelation 14:14). This is the reaping time after sixty centuries of the sowing of the seeds of sin. This is the harvest time, and “the harvest is the end of the world” (Matthew 13:39). “And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped” (Revelation 14:16). Truly did Jeremiah say, “The harvest is past … and we are not saved” (Jeremiah 8:20). There can be no saving after the reaping of earth’s harvest at the coming of Christ.

When Jesus and His holy angels appear, then “before him shall be gathered all nations” (Matthew 25:32). There will only be two classes in that great company. The destiny of each has been set by what he did before the coming of Christ.

Let us stand firm on the Word of God alone and reject these man made, man pleasing ideas that form the bulk of the whole secret rapture theory. As we have noticed, the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus Christ will come the second time in glorious majesty to take His redeemed home with Him. It will be a personal, visible, and earthshaking event that everyone alive will know about. The righteous will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4: 17), whereas the wicked will be slain by the brightness of that coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Let us carefully study our Bibles that we will not be deceived concerning this most important and wonderful hope, the second coming of Jesus.

ENDNOTES

1 Reverend Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 16,17. (See also L. E. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol 2, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950, pp. 484-510.)

2 Dave MacPherson, The Incredible Cover-Up, Logos International, 1975, Omega Publications, Medford, OR.

The Two Witnesses

5 Mar
By Doug Batchelor
An Amazing Fact
The brightest man-made light on earth emanates from the top of the Luxor hotel, a giant pyramid structure, in Las Vegas, Nevada. A total of 45 xenon lights, each one as big as a washing machine and with the brightest bulb available, shoots a powerful blast of radiant light straight up into the sky. The light beaming from the top of this artificial mountain is so bright, astronauts can see it as they fly overhead. Airline pilots are cautioned to avoid the area, as the beam of light can blind them temporarily if they fly through it. Sadly, this brightest man-made light on earth is totally wasted—it’s not illuminating anything as it blazes into empty space.

 

Did you know there is a story in the Bible that tells of a mountaintop blazing with heavenly light? Even though it is seldom addressed, this event, called the Mount of Transfiguration, or sometimes the Glorious Mount, is one of the most pivotal moments in the New Testament. This monumental experience found in the Gospels of Matthew 16, Mark 9, and Luke 9 is full of profound meaning for Christians, and it helps illuminate many other amazing Bible truths.
ASCENDING TO THE LIGHT
After a long day of teaching and ministering to the multitudes, Christ and His disciples separate from the clamoring crowds. Jesus then says something very unusual: “There are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power” (Mark 9:1 NKJV). It probably seemed to His disciples that Jesus was predicting something really big. But what?
Then, six days after Jesus makes this cryptic announcement, they reach the foot of a “high mountain.” There He handpicks His own trusted “trinity” of apostles—Peter, James, and John—and with them in tow, He leaves the others in the valley and begins the long assent up the steep hill. As the sun is setting, they finally stumble wearily onto the summit. Jesus immediately kneels and begins to pray, and at first the disciples attempt to join him; yet exhausted, they soon drift into a deep sleep.
Then something extraordinary happens! Combining the testimony of Luke and Mark, we’re told, “As He prayed, He was transformed before them. The appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. Exceeding white, like snow such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.” (See the full account in Luke 9:29-31 and Mark 9:2-9 NKJV.)

THE REASON FOR THE REVELATION
Suddenly awakened by the cosmic event, the disciples see Christ shining with a heavenly light radiating from within. He is not just the humble son of Joseph and Mary, but with unveiled glory, He now appears as the majestic Creator of the universe.

In the classic book, The Desire of Ages, the author helps us better understand Jesus’ primary reason for this heavenly visitation. In His prayer, “He pleads that they may witness a manifestation of His divinity that will comfort them in the hour of His supreme agony, with the knowledge that He is … the Son of God and that His shameful death is a part of the plan of redemption.”

The loving Father grants them this brief glimpse of His Son’s glory, because He knows the disciples were soon to see their Master completely humiliated. Their teacher was about to be naked, beaten, and bleeding—appearing very helpless and very mortal. So in the same way a little tree stores sap during the warm, bright spring to sustain it during the cold, dark winter, Jesus knows His disciple’s faith needed a bright boost on the mountain to see them through the approaching dark day on Calvary.

The disciples also needed the reassurance of this event because they continued to confuse the purpose of the Messiah’s mission with the popular Jewish fables of earthly glory. Jesus knew it was going to be devastating for them to see their hopes for earthly glory punctured by Roman nails, so the Father granted this vision to remind them Christ’s kingdom was heavenly, not earthly.

WHY MOSES AND ELIJAH?
Along with the glorious light of heaven, the brightest ever seen on earth, two of the greatest celebrities of Scripture appeared at the side of Christ. “And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus” (Mark 9:4 NKJV).

Someone might ask, why these two individuals? God had also taken Enoch to heaven, why didn’t he come along for this special visit? Very simply, the two prominent individuals who did come were living symbols of the Word of God. Moses represents the law, and Elijah represents the prophets. Jesus says in Matthew 5:17, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to [fulfill].” Moses is the great lawgiver, and Elijah is the greatest of the Old Testament prophets.

Throughout the Bible, the Word of God is often portrayed with a dual image. The Ten Commandments were written on two tables of stone. The Word of God is also portrayed as a sword with two edges. Two lamps and two olive trees portray the two sacred divisions of the Bible. But the ultimate testimony of God’s Word is Jesus: “In the volume of the book it is written of me” (Hebrews 10:7). The volume of the Book, the Bible, all points to Jesus, who is the combination of two natures, the human and the divine. Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1:14).

In Luke 16:31, Jesus concludes His parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Here Jesus places a very high priority on God’s Word, and we shouldn’t miss it. No matter what miracles you witness, even someone rising from the dead, you should still place the plain Word of God on higher ground.

THE ULTIMATE ENDORSEMENT
Around election time, politicians begin to campaign and jostle for the support of voters. One common way for them to achieve this is by getting endorsements from as many popular and credible leaders as possible. The Glorious Mount experience is the ultimate endorsement.
Ever since the time of Abraham, every Jew had been looking for the coming Messiah. Several counterfeit Christs had appeared on the landscape of Hebrew history. Now as a symbol of supreme support, Jesus stands glorified flanked on the right and left by the two greatest heroes of ancient Israel. Moses and Elijah surround Jesus to give us a very vivid picture that the Word of God points to and endorses Jesus as the Messiah.
This endorsement from Moses and Elijah represents the endorsement of the law and the prophets, God’s Word, that Jesus is the “coming one” (Matthew 11:3). No other individuals could have offered greater validation for Jesus’ ministry than these two giants of Scripture.
The transfiguration is also a direct fulfillment of prophecy. Malachi foretold, “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” One reason the Word of God is so wonderful is because it is so precise. Both Moses and Elijah did appear in the New Testament prior to Jesus’ sacrifice to encourage and endorse Him.
TWO OR THREE WITNESSES
In Revelation 11:3-12, we find the great prophecy of God’s two witnesses. “These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth” (Revelation 11:4). We know that a lamp is a symbol for the Word of God, “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). When Zechariah sees two olive trees in vision, he asks the angel what they represent. “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6). It also takes the olive oil of the Spirit to illuminate the lamp of God’s Word.

Revelation warns what will happen to those who would harm God’s two witnesses, the Holy Bible. “If anyone wants to hurt them fire proceeds out of their mouths and devours their enemies.” This happened in the experiences of both Elijah and Moses. Fire came down from heaven on the Egyptians as they pursued God’s children and it consumed the sons of Aaron. It also consumed the soldiers when they challenged Elijah. In addition, “These have the power to shut up heaven so no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over water to turn them to blood.” Did Elijah pray and the rain stop? Did Moses pray and the water turn to blood? So again we see why God likens the two witnesses, His Word, to the ministry of Moses and Elijah.

Then, as if the endorsement of Moses and Elijah was not enough, a cloud overshadows the mountaintop and the voice of the Almighty is heard saying, “This is My beloved Son, Hear Him.” The Bible says, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (1 Corinthians 13:1). On the Mount, two humans redeemed by Christ testify He is the Messiah, and of course, the third is the voice of God Himself! And what better confirmation of truth could God have offered—the lawgiver and the greatest prophet and His own audible testimony? In effect Moses says, “This is the One.” Elijah says, “This is the One.” Then God Almighty says, “This is the One.”

A DIVINE DISCUSSION
When I first read this passage, I wondered, “How did they know it was Moses and Elijah?” They had no journalistic photographs or archived video footage with which to compare these beings. Then I realized they probably overheard some of the conversation and heard Jesus address them by name.

Fortunately, the Gospel of Luke even gives us a little insight regarding what these great men discussed. It says, “Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem” (Luke 9:30, 31 NKJV). Of course, “decease” refers to His sacrifice on Mount Calvary.

I cannot imagine any other two individuals who would be better qualified to encourage Jesus to go forward with His sacrifice. Both Moses and Elijah understood the sting of persecution, and rejection by their own people. Keep in mind, both Moses and Elijah had been in heaven for hundreds of years, not because of their good works, but because they were enjoying an advance payment on the sacrifice that Jesus was about to make. In other words, if Jesus did not go through with the plan to die for mankind, Moses and Elijah had no right to remain in heaven. They were obviously very motivated to encourage and inspire Jesus to go forward. Ultimately, their purpose was to be witnesses to Christ and to support Jesus in His coming trial and sacrifice.

THREE TABERNACLES
As the eyes of the disciples adjusted to the light and they collected their wits, I image the first thing they did was remove their shoes when they realized they were on holy ground. After a few terrified minutes of eavesdropping on this divine dialogue, Peter feels compelled to say something. “And Peter answered and said toJesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (Mark 9:5).

It is interesting that Bible history records three earthly temples: one in the wilderness during the time of Moses; Solomon’s temple standing during the time of Elijah; and the third temple built after the Babylonian captivity. This third one is the one Jesus cleansed. There are also three aspects or stages of salvation: justification, symbolized by Moses; sanctification, the ministry of Elijah; and the God-filled man or glorification represented by Jesus.

MOUNTAINTOP EXPERIENCE
Many of the high points in the Bible are also mountaintop experiences. The Lord often arranged profound events on mountaintops because they make natural monuments. Whenever God’s people looked upon these prominent peaks, they would remember the important events of their sacred history.

Consider, for example, that after 40 years in the wilderness, God delivered His covenant to Moses on a mountaintop. Mount Sinai had the fire of God with smoke and thunder shaking the summit. After 40 days in the wilderness, God also spoke to Elijah on Mount Sinai with fire, wind, and an earthquake (1 Kings 19:11, 12). After 40 days in the wilderness, Jesus rebuked the devil on a high mountain (Matthew 4:8-10). God also makes His promises on mountains. It was in the mountains of Ararat that God made His covenant with Noah. He made His covenant with Abraham on Mount Moriah. The whole nation of Jews confirmed its Promise Land covenant from Mount Gerizim (Joshua 8:33). Of course, Elijah was on Mount Carmel when fire and rain came down, a symbol of God’s reviving Spirit raining on the church. Moses first glimpsed the Promised Land from Mount Nebo, and it is from a high mountain John first sees the holy city (Revelation 21:10). Most important, God’s loving covenant of salvation was sealed on Mount Calvary.

Like Jesus, Moses stood on a mountain with stretched-out hands, supported on the right and the left by Aaron and Hur (Exodus 17:12). Of course, when Jesus died on Calvary, two thieves surrounded Him on the right and the left representing two kinds of sinners, the same way you have Moses and Elijah flanking Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. I think before we climb the Glorious Mount, we need to climb Mount Calvary. God wants to confirm a covenant with you and fill you with His Spirit, and it will happen when you humble yourself upon the mountain where Jesus was slain.

THE FINAL WORD
The Glorious Mount rings with divine authority. Mark 9:7 says, “And a cloud came and overshadowed them” (NKJV). This cloud is actually veiling the glory of the Father, who declares, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him.” God the Father comes to sanction His Son who receives His total approval.
This is so important for us to understand. At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, God the Father speaks personally at Christ’s baptism in the low Jordan valley, and identifies Jesus as His Son. He says, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” announcing that the Jewish nation no longer needs to look for anyone else as the Messiah (Matthew 3:17 NKJV). Anyone who came before Him was a fraud, and anyone else coming after is a counterfeit. Jesus is the one!
Then at the end of Jesus’ ministry, God the Father again identifies His divine Son on the mountain, commanding something very simple. “Hear Him.” That’s a complete sentence, easy to understand. But “hear” means more than just hearing the audible sounds. It really means “listening with undivided attention and doing.” Jesus says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the church” (Revelation 2:17). God the Father, in person, is commanding you and me to listen to Jesus’ word and to do it.
There have been be a lot of counterfeits, frauds, imposters, and cult leaders trying to impersonate Christ. But God the Father says about Jesus in the Bible, “Hear Him.” He is the true Word! That’s something very powerful to contemplate.
SUDDENLY
As the last echoes of God’s thundering voice resonate from the mountain, the trembling disciples cower in fear. Mark 9:8 says, “Suddenly” it all ended. Just as quickly as the light flashed on, it went off. “When they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesusonly with themselves.” As the glory evaporates and their eyes become adjusted to the darkness, Moses and Elijah and the Father and the cloud are all gone; all they can see is Jesus. He promised, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

It’s easy to have our vision obscured by the kaleidoscope of images that we see in the Bible. And it’s easy to have our minds clouded with the collage of images we see in modern life. But after it all fades, and we’re at the base of the mountain again, what really matters? I think God is telling us to only hear Jesus, to only see Jesus. He was the only one left with them; everyone else might forsake you, but Jesus says, “I will be with you till the end” (Matthew 28:20). Always remember that Jesus is still there for you even after the glory disappears.

DON’T MENTION IT
Christ again says something else very unusual to the dazed disciples. You and I can barely imagine how these three apostles are feeling “as they came down the mountain” (Mark 9:9). That incredible event must have been life-changing, and they were probably in spiritual shock, even more than when Christ calmed the storm or walked on water. They might even have been glowing with the lingering residue of light still dissipating from their faces, like Moses was glowing after speaking with God. What doubts about Jesus could they possibly have now? They were probably ready to die for Jesus that very moment.
But then Jesus commands them not to tell anyone of the things they had seen. I imagine that might have been one of the most difficult mandates they ever received from their Lord. They have just witnessed a glimpse of heaven. They’ve seen Moses, and they’ve seen Elijah. Like ancient Israel, they’ve heard the commanding voice of God reverberating from a mountain, and now, they are told not to make any comments regarding this remarkable event. Don’t mention it. Keep in mind. He is asking three fishermen not to comment on the most exciting experience of their lives. I don’t know if I could have kept it quiet.
TIMING TO TELL
Fortunately, they were not asked to “never mention it.” More precisely, Jesus asked, “That they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of Man were risen from the dead” (Mark 9:9).

Why would Jesus make this request knowing their hearts had been so profoundly touched through this event? I believe He wanted them to store this experience in reserve for when they would really need it. Peter, James, and John were chosen to be the leaders of the early church, and when all seemed lost, and when things got hard, they could say, “Don’t be discouraged. We want to tell you about something we saw that night with Jesus on the mountain.” But sadly, it appears just when they needed it the most, they didn’t remember this experience—when their Lord went to the cross, they forgot who He was.

Has God given you a mountaintop experience? Maybe He has answered prayers and worked miracles that right when they’re happening, you say, “Wow, praise the Lord!” But then when the glory fades, you end up in a valley with the devil crowding you. And the memory of what’s happened on the mountain has all but evaporated.

It’s just like when God had told the children of Israel not to make idols, and they heard the voice of God, and they felt the ground shake, and they saw fire consume a mountain. They glibly promised the Lord they would obey. Yet a few days later, they’re worshiping a golden calf.

The devil is a master at inducing mountaintop amnesia. If you give him just five minutes of your attention, he can make you forget a whole lifetime of miracles. If you entertain his suggestions, if you embrace his discouragement and his doubts, all those mountaintop memories can dissipate just when you need them the most.

LAST-DAY SIGNIFICANCE
The experience on the Glorious Mount is especially important for the end-times; that’s why after His resurrection, Jesus returned to teach on this. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets [here are Moses and Elijah again!], he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

Revelation 12:17 says, “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” The woman represents the church, and the dragon, the devil, wants to destroy her. The church in the last days has two outstanding characteristics: They “keep the commandments of God, and they have the testimony of Jesus.” What is the testimony of Jesus? Revelation 19:10 explains, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” So the members of the last-day church are identified as a people who will keep the law (the commandments) and have the prophets (the spirit of prophecy).

Isaiah 8:16 says, “Bind up the testimony, seal the Law among My disciples.” Moses, before he died, exhorted the children of Israel to keep the law. He repeats the Ten Commandments to them in Deuteronomy 5 and says, “These words that I have spoken unto you this day shall be in your heart. You shall bind them upon your hand. They shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” So the law and the words of the prophets are sealed by the Holy Spirit in the mind and hearts of God’s people. “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).

We must saturate ourselves with the law and the prophets, with the Word of God, for a special purpose in these last days. Mark 9 says, “His clothing became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them” (NKJV). Mark is really struggling here for words to describe the bright aura of light the disciples saw around this heavenly assembly. The garments of Christ were radiant white, just like new snow, and glowing like the sun. Of course, the robe that Jesus wore is a symbol of His purity. It is what He is wearing in heaven. Wonderfully, you and I are offered this same clothing purified by His blood, if we stay true to His Word. “These … washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love” (1 Peter 1:22 NKJV).

WHAT ELIJAH AND MOSES WON’T DO
Since we are talking about the end-times, it’s important to look at one crucial issue that’s causing much confusion. In Revelation 11, we read about two witnesses. “And I’ll give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” Please note this doesn’t say these two witnesses will only prophesy for 1,260 days, for witnesses for God witness all the time. This of course, refers to the Dark Ages from AD 538 to 1798, when the law and the prophets, the Bible, was obscured.

There are many good Christians out there who believe that in the last days, Moses and Elijah will literally come down to the earth again to preach, only to be killed and lay in the streets for three-and-a-half days. It’s a half-truth, because the two witnesses, the Word, is symbolized by Moses and Elijah. But these two men of God are in heaven with their glorified bodies, and the Bible doesn’t tell us that He wants two others to step down from heaven to be killed. Moses and Elijah will not be coming back to earth in this way.

A TYPE OF THE SECOND ADVENT
To make a full circle, let’s go back a brief moment to where we began. One of the most important lessons from the Mount of Transfiguration is that it represents a miniature picture of the second coming of Jesus.

Referring back to this experience, Peter identifies the event as a sample of Jesus’ coming. “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (2 Peter 1:16, 17).

Remember that Jesus said some of His disciples would not experience death before they saw the kingdom of God coming with power. Of course, we know that these disciples died long ago, but they were given an advance peek of what it will be like when Christ returns.

A number of exciting insights can be gleaned from this story. Consider the parallels:

There will be two categories of saints when Jesus returns: the resurrected and the living. Moses, who died and was resurrected (Jude 1:9), is a symbol of the large class of people who will awake from their dusty graves when the Lord calls them -“The dead in Christ shall rise.” Elijah represents the other class of people who will be alive when Jesus returns. Like Elijah, who was caught up into heaven by a fiery chariot, and Enoch who walked with God until he walked right into heaven, they will be translated with new, glorious bodies without ever tasting death.

During the transfiguration, Jesus, Moses, and Elijah are wearing white garments, the same kind that the redeemed will wear. Clouds of glory also accompany them; Jesus left in the clouds and said He would come back in the clouds. And even the voice of the Father in heaven was heard on the Glorious Mount, just as it will be when Christ returns on the right hand of the Father (Matthew 26:64).

SIX DAYS TO COME
There might even be some significance to the fact that this all happens six days after Jesus makes the promise. After Christ told the disciples they would see His kingdom come, He tarried six days before He took them up the mountain. I believe this yields some fascinating truths.

However, before we go on, both Matthew and Mark record this period as six days. But Luke mentions that the delay was eight days. Many antagonists like to point at this and say, “Contradiction!” But that’s just not so. Matthew and Mark, both Jews, recorded time differently than Luke, who was Greek. Luke includes the day Jesus spoke of the event to happen and the time it took for them to return home, and he also gives a rough estimation, “about eight days.” No, there is no fire or smoke here—these three accounts match up just fine.

But after six days, Jesus takes the disciples up. In 2 Peter 3, we’re told, “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (NKJV). After the fall of Adam, God promises that Christ will come to defeat the devil—and when Christ came, He said He would come again. If we can approximate the date of creation to about 4004 BC, we know that for 2,000 years, God preached His message through the patriarchs, men like Adam, Methuselah, Enoch, and Noah. In 2004 BC, Abraham was born. For the next 2,000 years, God reached out with His gospel through the Jews, the Hebrews. And they faithfully waited for the Messiah to come through their descendants. Then roughly in 4 BC, Jesus Christ was born, and for the last 2,000 years, God has shared His good news through spiritual Israel, the church. If you add these three 2,000s together, you get 6,000. If we apply the theme Peter writes about, well, that should give you goose bumps! Psalm 90:4 reaffirms, “A thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it has passed.”

I’d also like to add that the Lord says the righteous will live and reign with the Lord for 1,000 years—a Sabbath of rest. After this time in heaven, God creates a new heaven and a new earth, upon which New Jerusalem will come down. I could certainly be wrong, and date setting is prohibited in the Bible, but I believe that the plan of salvation is encompassed in seven thousand years. I believe it is going to happen this way.

If we’re in overtime right now, we should not be surprised. We should be thankful, because the Bible says the Lord is longsuffering and not willing that any person should perish. God is going to do as much as He can, but with all that is happening in the news today, we ought to be trembling that we are living during the sunset of the sixth day. The millennial Sabbath is soon to begin!

A BIBLE THEME
The story of the transfiguration is not the only story in the Bible in which a six-day period is invoked. For instance, in Job 5:19, “He will deliver you in six troubles, yes in seven no evil will touch you.” In addition, Athaliah reigned for six years before Josiah was coroneted. When Josiah came forth from the temple, Athaliah was slain and he was crowned—the trumpets even blew, and afterward the Sabbath began.

Hebrew servants were released after six years of servitude. They also sowed the fields for six years and left the land desolate on the seventh. Likewise, the earth will be desolate for a thousand years, a time when the gospel will not be sown. Jesus says, “I am the Sower. The Gospel is the seed.” When He comes in Revelation, it is with a sickle to harvest.

But most interesting is when Moses stayed at the base of Mount Sinai. We all know that he stayed on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights, like the flood. But the time before that, Exodus 24 says, “For six days he stayed at the base of the mountain.” After that, God called him up to the top to receive the commandments. This is just like what happened on the Glorious Mount. After six days, Jesus went up the mountain, and Moses met Him there.

The Bible fits together perfectly! It’s like a puzzle. It’s significant that it says, “after six days.” That tells me that if this is a miniature picture of the second coming, we are very near the return of the Lord.

THE TRANQUILIZED CHURCH
It is prudent to keep in mind that the Glorious Mount happened very unexpectedly. The atmosphere surrounding the mountain was quiet and dark—the drowsy disciples were snoozing. Then, BANG! It happened. Christ will come as a thief in the night, when many of His followers are unprepared.

There is a sober warning for us in this experience. At the most pivotal moments of church history, Satan seems to sedate the saints. Just before this revelation of glory, the Scriptures declare the disciples “were heavy with sleep” (Luke 9:32). When Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane, the Bible tells us that He picked the same three disciples to pray with Him. And they again went to sleep. Likewise, in the parable of the 10 virgins, Jesus warns us just prior to the second coming that “they all slumbered and slept” (Matthew 25:5). It seems at the most critical moments in Jesus’ ministry, the saints are snoring. This is why Jesus warns, “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming; in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping” (Mark 13:35, 36 NKJV).

When they should have been kneeling with Him in the garden, remembering the glory they witnessed, they fell asleep. And because Peter, James, and John were asleep on the Mount of Transfiguration, they lost the full potential of their experience. They forgot the Glorious Mount, so they were not ready to follow Christ to Mount Calvary. I wonder if that haunted them for the rest of their lives: that missed opportunity because they slept when they should have prayed?

A MORE SURE WORD
So how do we stay awake? To the powerful weapon of prayer, we can add the witness of Moses and Elijah, the law and the prophets. God’s Word can prepare you for anything. In 2 Peter 1:17, Peter refers back to the Glorious Mount. It is the only time that any of the three disciples write about it. But before Peter’s death, he writes passionately, “For [Jesus] received from God the Father honor and glory when there came such a voice to Him from the Excellent Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’ And this voice which came from Heaven we heard when we were with Him on the holy mount” (vs. 17, 18 NKJV).

Yet even after Peter reflects on that defining moment in his life, he adds, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto to ye do well that ye take heed” (v. 19). Can you imagine saying that after seeing Christ in all His glory sandwiched between the two greatest Old Testament characters, with the voice of God the Father seared forever into your memory? Yet Peter confesses that however great that experience was, he had something more important, more dependable. God’s Word is a light that “grows brighter and brighter until the day dawn.”

Peter saw Christ glorified; he received a glimpse of heaven. But you and I have something worth more. We have the Bible. Christ tells us through Peter that your Bible is more trustworthy than a vision. If you want a mountaintop experience, you have it within your reach if you reach for your Bible. Nothing is more important than the testimony of Moses and Elijah, the double-edged sword, the Law and the Prophets, the commandments of God, the testimony of Jesus—it is the most precious thing God has committed to mortals. It is Jesus, the Word who became flesh.

GLOWING FOR GOD
As a child, I was always fascinated by those pale green illuminating plastic toys you could hold up to a light and watch glow even after the light was turned off. I remember one of those toys was a glow-in-the-dark plastic sword. After exposing it to the light, I could find my way through the dark house just by the glow from my sword.

The Lord has given us a special warning message in the Mount of Transfiguration. There are some very troubling days ahead, and now we must spend time on the mountain gathering light from God’s Word to see us through the dark valleys. The message from the mountain tells us that Jesus is the One, and that we too can wear the same robes He, Elijah, and Moses wore that day. He’s telling us to listen to the testimony of Jesus, and to the laws and the prophets—which point to the fulfillment through Christ. It’s a picture of Jesus’ imminent second coming, and a warning not to become spiritually sleepy. The mountaintop experience helps to remind us that even when the glory fades, Jesus is always still with us and Jesus is the only way to heaven.

Seven individuals appeared on the mountain that day: Three from heaven—Moses, Elijah and God the Father; Three from earth—Peter, James, and John. And then there was Jesus—the bridge, the ladder, between heaven and earth

Central Bank of Ireland Kicks off 1 Million Euro Campaign for Cashless Society (February 2014)

4 Mar

.

Central Bank of Ireland Kicks off 1 Million Euro Campaign for Cashless Society (February 2014)

“The Central Bank is launching a major national campaign to persuade consumers and businesses to stop using cash and cheques in favour of online transactions … The campaign aims to win the hearts and minds of consumers and merchants and change the behaviours of both consumers and businesses.”

Visa Exploring Biometric Payment Systems

The drive for cashless societies is really moving forward all over the world now. The powers that be will tout different ‘positive’ reasons as to why we should get rid of cash. But the real reason is to do with the enforcement of the mark of the beast. Revelation 13 says that those who don’t take the mark will not be able to buy and sell, and getting rid of cash will make it easy for those in control to stop our ability of buying and selling by the simple press of a button.

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