Voices: The Seven Churches of Revelation by Christine Peters



Who they represent in this day and age

 

 

by Christine Peters

The book of Revelation opens with the letters from Jesus to 7 churches in Christendom.  In these letters, He acknowledges what these churches are doing right, where they are going astray and He counsels them as to how to get back on track.  

 

Jesus additionally addresses the individual believers in each church, commending them for seeing through the fog of doctrinal teachings to the core message of the gospel, challenging them to withstand and overcome.  The believers, however, are not the intended audience of the letters.

The Lord's purpose is to focus on the leadership of these churches, admonishing them to take a gut check on what they are teaching their flocks and where His core message of salvation may be getting lost in their mix of doctrinal interpretations.  

These 7 churches have historical roots as actual churches that existed in the Roman province of Asia.  The churches are addressed by the city that they were located in.  

There are also prophetic applications of these letters.  One application is that the 7 churches represent different ages in Church history and that they are progressive.  This interpretation holds that at the end of days, two main traits will remain - that Christendom is either going to be very alive or very dead (apostate) in their teachings - a very black and white approach to the Lord's warnings.  The progressive interpretation is not wrong, merely incomplete.

This article is written as a study on a different prophetic application of these writings, the interpretation holding that each of these 7 church characteristics are alive and well today.  The intent is to look past the black and white interpretation of right and wrong and delve into the Lord's warnings about all of the shades of grey in the middle.

The Lord cautions over and over in the bible about false prophets and false teachers.   The purpose of these letters is to address the churches with the Lord's specific concerns as to the unsound doctrines and practices that have invaded them, putting their flocks at risk.  Given the following warnings from the Lord about false teachers in the end days, I would think that people would look beyond their comfort zone and compare their approach to the core teachings of scripture.

Matthew 7:22-23 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

2Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

There are 4 elements to each of the letters in scripture, and they are as follows:

·        Praise - what the Lord is pleased with

·        Condemnation - what the Lord is upset about

·        Advice - to the leaders of the group as to how to get back on track

·        Challenge - to the true believers within the group, to hold fast and overcome

The fifth element in this summation is the application of the letters and is subjective based on the characteristics and symptoms presented in the scripture.      

The Lord's purpose in writing these letters was not for people like me to sit around and point fingers and I intend no offense with my conclusions here.  His purpose was for all to take a good hard look at the focus of their doctrinal stances and teachings.  

The Lord tells us that he has sent us out as sheep amongst the wolves, that we are to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16).  Additionally, he counsels that we will know false teachers by their fruits (Matthew 7:20), that we are to study the scriptures to show ourselves approved (2Timothy 2:15) and that we are to try every teaching to see if it is from God (1John 4:1).

Where I have mentioned specific denominations in my applications, my motive is not to condemn - I am merely comparing their doctrines and/or teachings to the Lord's warnings and adding their stated positions as real life examples to the characteristics mentioned.  An individual church is only as solid as its local leadership.

Don't take what I have to say about this as the gospel truth - use these letters how the Lord intended - as a measuring stick.

 

1. Church of Ephesus -- Revelation 2:1-7


Praise: I know that you do good deeds, and work hard. You are patient and cannot stand evil. You condemn those who do wrong and hold false teachings to the fire. 

Condemnation: You have left your first love - the core of the gospel. 

Advice to leaders: Remember where it is that you have fallen from, repent and go back to the original teachings. 

Challenge to believers: To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. 

Application: Men intent on abandoning the word of God (their first love) for their own doctrinal interpretations. 

The inference here is the addition of doctrines into the church, placing more importance on them than on the Word of God.  This refers to legalistic churches that institute man-imposed salvation requirements, such as specific baptism rituals, or organization membership, and teach that there is no salvation unless these requirements are met. They focus more on dos and don'ts and on who does and doesn't do, than on the core message of scripture and thus they deny salvation by grace through faith. The easiest way to spot a church of Ephesus is their claim of being the only true remnant church of Christ and their insistence that there is no salvation outside of their organization and without their rituals.  

Denominations known for this practice include the International Church of Christ, Seventh Day Adventists and the United Pentecostals (UPC - Oneness Pentecostals).


 

2. Church of Smyrna -- Revelation 2:8-11

 


Praise: I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) 

Condemnation: Nothing !! 

Advice to leaders: Don't fear your suffering - satan will torment you and you will be tried. Be faithful unto death and you will have the crown of life.. 

Challenge to believers: He that overcometh shall not be hurt by the second death (and will have eternal life). 

Application:  Throughout the world, Christians are being persecuted in places like China, Russia, the Philippines and the Islamic Nation States.  Witnessing is illegal in many of these places and sadly, it is all too common to hear of Christians being jailed, tortured and even beheaded for the crime of attempting to spread the gospel and the testimony of Jesus. 


 

3. Church of Pergamum -- Revelation 2:12-17

 


Praise: You live where satan lives, yet you never renounced me. 

Condemnation: But I have a few things against you, your teachings pollute your people both spiritually and socially with unacceptable pagan practices. 

Advice to leaders: Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth! 

Challenge to believers: To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth [it]. 

Application: Those teaching false doctrines, causing people to sin because they think it is 'ok', based on the interpretations of their leadership.  What these leaders are doing is teaching that the Word of God is to be treated as a cafeteria plan where you can pick and choose what you want to believe and disregard that which you don't.   Pergamum is not lukewarm to the gospel, they have just chosen to believe that certain things in it don't apply to them.  

The first group that comes to mind here is the MCC - The Metropolitan Community Church - gay Christians. This is a huge denomination that teaches that it is OK to be gay and Christian - maintaining that God created them gay (so it must be all right) rather than acknowledging that their homosexuality is merely a manifestation of the sin nature that we are all born with.


 

4. Church of Thyatira -- Revelation 2:18-29

 


Praise: I know your deeds, your love, your charity, faith and service. You are doing more of these things than you ever have! 

Condemnation: While on the outside, you appear as a model church, you are rife with corruption and corrupt teachings, from deep within.  You have committed adultery against me with your idol worship.

Advice to leaders: Repent now or I will spew you into the tribulation 

Challenge to believers: To those who are faithful within, rejecting the false doctrines, hold fast till I come. 

Application:  The Lord references Jezebel in his condemnation to this church - referring to the woman who lured people away from Him with idolatry by focusing them on things other than Him. 

Traits seen today include viewing Mary as the mediatrix between man and God, the veneration of statues and images,  grace being administered through humanly prescribed sacraments, church tradition held as equivalent in authority to the Bible, and the doctrine of confessing to priests as a means of maintaining one's salvation.

The prime example of this is the Roman Catholic Church


 

5. Church of Sardis -- Revelation 3:1-6

 


Praise: I know your deeds - your name carries much recognition among men ... 

Condemnation: But now you are dead. 

Advice to leaders: Remember your beginnings, return to them and repent. You are not paying attention to my Word and you need to wake up! 

Challenge to believers: He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 

Application: This is referring specifically to name brand denominations with long, well known histories that have fallen from truth and are seeking ecumenical unity without regard to the gospel. The suggestion the Lord is giving here is that these are the Reform churches - once very alive but now dead in their doctrines - filled with Sunday Country Club pew warmers. 

Denominations that have embraced this ecumenical neutrality include the Methodists, Lutherans and Presbyterians.  I am speaking to the global stances here - again, a particular church is only as alive or dead as its local leadership. 


 

6. Church of Philadelphia -- Revelation 3:7-13

 


Praise: You may not be the biggest group, but I know your works and your teachings. Even without strength or power, you have kept My Word and not compromised My name. 

Condemnation: Nothing !! 

Advice to leaders: I am coming quickly. Hold onto what you have. 

Challenge to believers: Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name. 

Application:  This is written to those who are on fire for the Lord's return that have kept the winds of false doctrines out of their midst and maintained solid teachings.  While everyone wants to think that they are in the church of Philadelphia - it is important to note, that there are true believers in each of the 7 churches. The Lord is merely commending the leadership of Philadelphia for their adherence to sound doctrine. 

Ironically, the letter to the church of Philadelphia is used/abused by many churches to justify their exclusivity (no salvation outside of their organization) under what they perceive to be the "end times remnant church clause".  For this reason, these churches are in reality the churches of Ephesus, discussed above.


7. Church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22)

 


Praise: Nothing !!

Condemnation: You are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other but because you have no redeeming qualities whatsoever, I will spit you out of my mouth into the tribulation.  You say that you are wealthy and in need of nothing, but what you don't realize is that you are truly wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. 

Advice to leaders: You need to start concerning yourself with eternal riches and not earthly ones, humble yourself about  your sins and open your eyes to My truth before its too late. 

Challenge to believers: To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne 

Application:  Unlike the other churches that have let doctrinal interpretations cloud the message of salvation, this group is neither hot nor cold to it - they simply avoid it all together.  They teach of wealth and healing but not of salvation and repentance.  Rather than instruct people on how to humble themselves to the Lord's will, they teach that He is to conform to our will.  

Jesus said in John 18:36 that His kingdom is not of this world.  In Matthew 6:19-20, He explains that we are to store up our riches in heaven and not on earth.  All of this is seemingly lost on the church of Laodicea, whose complete focus is on the here and now.  They flaunt their opulent lifestyles as proof of the Lord's earthly blessings.  They teach that the first step to health and wealth is to give 'seed donations' to their ministries and then have the faith that the Lord will bless this gift and multiply it in return.  This becomes a vicious cycle when those who are not healed or showered with wealth are told that it is because they lack the faith to give enough to these ministries, thus soliciting even more donations - all the while, using the Lord's name to increase their personal wealth.

Not only are these teachings alive and well in Christendom today, they are the predominate focus in more ministries than I can count.   They are the hallmark of the Word of Faith/Revival/LatterRain movements who have taken the world by storm under the guise of "Fifth Wave" evangelism with such leaders as Benny Hinn, Paul Cain, Rick Joyner, Marilyn Hickey, Kenneth Copeland, Paul and Jan Crouch, Jesse Duplantis and Fred Price - the list is endless.

 

Bottom Line to the 7 Churches

 

Doctrines are nothing but man's interpretation of God's Word.  They in themselves do not save, but they can and do cloud the issue of salvation.  The Lord cautions over and over in scripture about false teachers in the end days, leading His flock astray.  Sadly, His message is getting lost in a sea of pick-and-choose scriptural teachings and rituals.

Now is the time for self-examination - are you leading someone away from the message of salvation with extraneous teachings rather than to it with the core of the gospel?

 


Grant Jeffrey: "The Non-Violent Early Christians"

 

"The Non-Violent Early Christians"

 


Epistle of Marcus Aurelius to the Roman Senate, in Which He Testifies that the Christians Were the Cause of His Victory.

The Emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Germanicus, Parthicus, Sarmaticus, to the People of Rome, and to the sacred Senate greeting: I explained to you my grand design, and what advantages I gained on the confines of Germany, with much labour and suffering, in consequence of the circumstance that I was surrounded by the enemy; I myself being shut up in Carnuntum by seventy-four cohorts, nine miles off. And the enemy being at hand, the scouts pointed out to us, and our general Pompeianus showed us that there was close on us a mass of a mixed multitude of 977, 000 men, which indeed we saw; and I was shut up by this vast host, having with me only a battalion composed of the first, tenth, double and marine legions. Having then examined my own position, and my host, with respect to the vast mass of barbarians and of the enemy, I quickly betook myself to prayer to the gods of my country. But being disregarded by them, I summoned those who among us go by the name of Christians. And having made inquiry, I discovered a great number and vast host of them, and raged against them, which was by no means becoming; for afterwards I learned their power.

Wherefore they began the battle, not by preparing weapons, nor arms, nor bugles; for such preparation is hateful to them, on account of the God they bear about in their conscience. Therefore it is probable that those whom we suppose to be atheists, have God as their ruling power entrenched in their conscience. For having cast themselves on the ground, they prayed not only for me, but also for the whole army as it stood, that they might be delivered from the present thirst and famine. For during five days we had got no water, because there was none; for we were in the heart of Germany, and in the enemy's territory. And simultaneously with their casting themselves on the ground, and praying to God (a God of whom I am ignorant), water poured from heaven, upon us most refreshingly cool, but upon the enemies of Rome a withering hail.

And immediately we recognised the presence of God following on the prayer-a God unconquerable and indestructible. Founding upon this, then, let us pardon such as are Christians, lest they pray for and obtain such a weapon against ourselves. And I counsel that no such person be accused on the ground of his being a Christian. But if any one be found laying to the charge of a Christian that he is a Christian, I desire that it be made manifest that he who is accused as a Christian, and acknowledges that he is one, is accused of nothing else than only this, that he is a Christian; but that he who arraigns him be burned alive. And I further desire, that he who is entrusted with the government of the province shall not compel the Christian, who confesses and certifies such a matter, to retract; neither shall he commit him. And I desire that these things be confirmed by a decree of the Senate. And I command this my edict to be published in the Forum of Trajan, in order that it may be read. The prefect Vitrasius Pollio will see that it be transmitted to all the provinces round about, and that no one who wishes to make use of or to possess it be hindered from obtaining a copy from the document I now publish.

 


 

Grant Jeffrey: "The Non-Violent Early Christians"

 

"The Non-Violent Early Christians"

 

Epistle of Marcus Aurelius to the Roman Senate, in Which He Testifies that the Christians Were the Cause of His Victory.

The Emperor Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Germanicus, Parthicus, Sarmaticus, to the People of Rome, and to the sacred Senate greeting: I explained to you my grand design, and what advantages I gained on the confines of Germany, with much labour and suffering, in consequence of the circumstance that I was surrounded by the enemy; I myself being shut up in Carnuntum by seventy-four cohorts, nine miles off. And the enemy being at hand, the scouts pointed out to us, and our general Pompeianus showed us that there was close on us a mass of a mixed multitude of 977, 000 men, which indeed we saw; and I was shut up by this vast host, having with me only a battalion composed of the first, tenth, double and marine legions. Having then examined my own position, and my host, with respect to the vast mass of barbarians and of the enemy, I quickly betook myself to prayer to the gods of my country. But being disregarded by them, I summoned those who among us go by the name of Christians. And having made inquiry, I discovered a great number and vast host of them, and raged against them, which was by no means becoming; for afterwards I learned their power.

Wherefore they began the battle, not by preparing weapons, nor arms, nor bugles; for such preparation is hateful to them, on account of the God they bear about in their conscience. Therefore it is probable that those whom we suppose to be atheists, have God as their ruling power entrenched in their conscience. For having cast themselves on the ground, they prayed not only for me, but also for the whole army as it stood, that they might be delivered from the present thirst and famine. For during five days we had got no water, because there was none; for we were in the heart of Germany, and in the enemy's territory. And simultaneously with their casting themselves on the ground, and praying to God (a God of whom I am ignorant), water poured from heaven, upon us most refreshingly cool, but upon the enemies of Rome a withering hail.

And immediately we recognised the presence of God following on the prayer-a God unconquerable and indestructible. Founding upon this, then, let us pardon such as are Christians, lest they pray for and obtain such a weapon against ourselves. And I counsel that no such person be accused on the ground of his being a Christian. But if any one be found laying to the charge of a Christian that he is a Christian, I desire that it be made manifest that he who is accused as a Christian, and acknowledges that he is one, is accused of nothing else than only this, that he is a Christian; but that he who arraigns him be burned alive. And I further desire, that he who is entrusted with the government of the province shall not compel the Christian, who confesses and certifies such a matter, to retract; neither shall he commit him. And I desire that these things be confirmed by a decree of the Senate. And I command this my edict to be published in the Forum of Trajan, in order that it may be read. The prefect Vitrasius Pollio will see that it be transmitted to all the provinces round about, and that no one who wishes to make use of or to possess it be hindered from obtaining a copy from the document I now publish.

 


Everyday Answers: "I will cry to God Most High,Who performs on my behalf and rewards me"

 

March 7


I will cry to God Most High,Who performs on my behalf and rewards me [Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them]!
— Psalm 57:2

Great worship leaders know to come into the presence of God with their entire being, prepared to give thanks and praise (See Deuteronomy 10:12). They don’t just roll out of bed, throw water on their face, and run a comb through their hair before church. They know that the anointing comes from a sincere pursuit of loving God with their whole heart. 

Likewise, as you approach God in the morning, come to Him with a heart full of worship, expressing your awe of Him for His faithfulness toward you. He promises that He will never forsake you, but will be with you all day long (See Joshua 1:5).

Alistair Begg: Faith gives feet to the soul,

Devotionals by Truth For Life

Pastor Alistair Begg photo
Little-Faith
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Faith gives feet to the soul, enabling it to march along the road of the commandments. Love can make the feet move more swiftly; but it is faith that carries the soul. Faith is the oil enabling the wheels of holy devotion and of practical holiness to move well; and without faith the wheels are taken from the chariot, and we drag ourselves along. With faith I can do all things; without faith I will be missing both the inclination and the power to do anything in the service of God.

If you want to find the men who serve God best, you must look for men of faith. Little faith will save a man, but little faith cannot do great things for God. Poor Little-faith could not have fought "Apollyon"; it needed "Christian" to do that. Poor Little-faith could not have slain "Giant Despair"; it required "Great-heart's" arm to knock that monster down. Little faith will go to heaven most certainly, but it often has to hide itself in a nutshell, and it frequently loses all but its jewels. Little-faith says, "It is a rough road, beset with sharp thorns, and full of dangers; I am afraid to go;" but Great-faith remembers the promise, "Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be";and so she boldly ventures. Little-faith stands despondently, mingling her tears with the flood; but Great-faith sings, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you,"and she crosses the stream at once.

Do you want to be comfortable and happy? To enjoy the journey do you desire cheerfulness rather than gloom? Then "have faith in God." If you love darkness and are satisfied to dwell in gloom and misery, then be content with little faith; but if you love the sunshine and would sing songs of rejoicing, covet earnestly this best gift, great faith.

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Exodus 18

verse 2 Luke 21

SundayOnMonday: Ed Rea (THE PACKINGHOUSE) 03/06/11


Ed Rea
Type: Church
Most Recent: 03/06/11MONTHLY

 

WATCH HERE

Daily Light: I will betroth thee unto me for ever;


March 7
MORNING
 Thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name.
 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken ... but thou shalt be called Heph-zibah, ... for the Lorddelighteth in thee. And as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. — He hath sent me ... to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in right-eousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness and in mercies.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
ISA. 54:5.  Eph. 5:32. Isa. 62:4,5. ‑Isa. 61:1‑3. Isa. 61:10. Hos. 2:19. Rom. 8:35.
EVENING
My times are in thy hand.
 All his saints are in thy hand. — The word of the Lord came unto Elijah, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. And the word of the Lord can unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. — Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.

PSA. 31:15.  Deut. 33:3. ‑I Kgs. 17:2‑4,8,9. Matt. 6:25,32. Prov. 3:5,6. ‑I Pet. 5:7.

SundayOnMonday: Ron Wilkins (Pacific Coast) 03/06/11


Ron Wilkins
Type: Church
Most Recent: 03/06/11MONTHLY

 

 

WATCH HERE

J.R.Lawendowski: "No matter how you slice it, it shows a belief of the pre-trib rapture over 1000 years prior to Darby."

 

 

 

 

 

Psuedo-Ephraem and the Pre-Trib Rapture

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Written by J.R.Lawendowski   
Monday, 20 August 2007 08:35

As I surf the net viewing pages upon pages of information about the varying views of the rapture and the millennium I am astounded by people's editing jobs. In some aspects I'm guilty of this as well. For the sake of brevity I will quote sources or subjects without providing in depth details in the assumption there are those who will investigate it further.

However I do try to provide complete sources when I can find them. Recently I found a copy of Psuedo Ephraem's sermon. I noted that when read without parts being highlighted by a proponent of one view or another and you take it for what it says it becomes pretty clear where the author stood on the subject.

So, here is the sermon without any emphasis on any part and I will put my comments at the end. Read it for yourself:

 


 

On the Last Times, the Anti-Christ, and the End of the World

A Sermon by Pseudo-Ephraem

 

Intro: The reason this is referred to a pseudo-Ephraem is that three historical references state it was written by Ephraem the Syrian, but one historical reference states it was written by Isadore of Sevelle.

Section 1
Dearly beloved brothers, believe the Holy Spirit who speaks in us. We have already told you that the end of the world is near, the consummation remains. Has not faith withered away among mankind? How many foolish things are seen among youths, how many crimes among prelates, how many lies among priests, how many perjuries among deacons! There are evil deeds among the ministers, adulteries in the aged, wantonness in the youths--in mature women false faces, in virgins dangerous traces! In the midst of all this there are the wars with the Persians, and we see struggles with diverse nations threatening and "kingdom rising against kingdom." When the Roman empire begins to be consumed by the sword, the coming of the Evil One is at hand. It is necessary that the world come to an end at the completion of the Roman empire.

In those days two brothers will come to the Roman empire who will rule with one mind; but because one will surpass the other, there will be a schism between them. And so the Adversary will be loosed and will stir up hatred between the Persian and Roman empires. In those days many will rise up against Rome; the Jewish people will be her adversaries. There will be stirrings of nations and evil reports, pestilences, famines, and earth quakes in various places. All nations will receive captives; there will be wars and rumors of wars. From the rising to the setting of the sun the sword will devour much. The times will be so dangerous that in fear and trembling they will not permit thought of better things, because many will be the oppressions and desolations of regions that are to come.

Section 2
We ought to understand thoroughly therefore, my brothers, what is imminent or overhanging. Already there have been hunger and plagues, violent movements of nations and signs, which have been predicted by the Lord, they have already been fulfilled (consummated), and there is not other which remains, except the advent of the wicked one in the completion of the Roman kingdom. Why therefore are we occupied with worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of earthly actions and prepare ourselves for the meeting of the Lord Christ, so that he may draw us from the confusion, which overwhelms all the world? Believe you me, dearest brother, because the coming (advent) of the Lord is nigh, believe you me, because the end of the world is at hand, believe me, because it is the very last time. Or do you not believe unless you see with your eyes? See to it that this sentence be not fulfilled among you of the prophet who declares: "Woe to those who desire to see the day of the Lord!" For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins. And so, brothers most dear to me, it is the eleventh hour, and the end of the world comes to the harvest, and angels, armed and prepared, hold sickles in their hands, awaiting the empire of the Lord. And we think that the earth exists with blind infidelity, arriving at its downfall early. Commotions are brought forth, wars of diverse peoples and battles and incursions of the barbarians threaten, and our regions shall be desolated, and we neither become very much afraid of the report nor of the appearance, in order that we may at least do penance; because they hurl fear at us, and we do not wish to be changed, although we at least stand in need of penance for our actions!

Section 3
When therefore the end of the world comes, there arise diverse wars, commotions on all sides, horrible earthquakes, perturbations of nations, tempests throughout the lands, plagues, famine, drought throughout the thoroughfares, great danger throughout the sea and dry land, constant persecutions, slaughters and massacres everywhere, fear in the homes, panic in the cities, quaking in the thoroughfares, suspicions in the male, anxiety in the streets. In the desert people become senseless, spirits melt in the cities. A friend will not be grieved over a friend, neither a brother for a brother, nor parents for their children, nor a faithful servant for his master, but one inevitability shall overwhelm them all; neither is anyone able to be recovered in that time, who has not been made completely aware of the coming danger, but all people, who have been constricted by fear, are consumed because of the overhanging evils.

Section 4
Whenever therefore the earth is agitated by the nations, people will hide themselves from the wars in the mountains and rocks, by caves and caverns of the earth, by graves and memorials of the dead, and there, as they waste away gradually by fear, they draw breath, because there is not any place at all to flee, but there will be concession and intolerable pressure. And those who are in the east will flee to the west, and moreover, those who are in the west shall flee to the east, and there is not a safer place anywhere, because the world shall be overwhelmed by worthless nations, whose aspect appears to be of wild animals more than that of men. Because those very much horrible nations, most profane and most defiled, who do not spare lives, and shall destroy the living from the dead, shall consume the dead, they eat dead flesh, they drink the blood of beasts, they pollute the world, contaminate all things, and the one who is able to resist them is not there. In those days people shall not be buried, neither Christian, nor heretic, neither Jew, nor pagan, because of fear and dread there is not one who buries them; because all people, while they are fleeing, ignore them.

Section 5
Whenever the days of the times of those nations have been fulfilled, after they have destroyed the earth, it shall rest; and now the kingdom of the Romans is removed from everyday life, and the empire of the Christians is handed down by God and Peter; and then the consummation comes, when the kingdom of the Romans begins to be fulfilled, and all dominions and powers have been fulfilled. Then that worthless and abominable dragon shall appear, he, whom Moses named in Deuteronomy, saying:-Dan is a young lion, reclining and leaping from Basan. Because he reclines in order that he may seize and destroy and slay. Indeed (he is) a young whelp of a lion not as the lion of the tribe of Judah, but roaring because of his wrath, that he may devour. "And he leaps out from Basan." "Basan" certainly is interpreted "confusion." He shall rise up from the confusion of his iniquity. The one who gathers together to himself a partridge the children of confusion, also shall call them, whom he has not brought forth, just as Jeremiah the prophet says. Also in the last day they shall relinquish him just as confused.

Section 6
When therefore the end of the world comes, that abominable, lying and murderous one is born from the tribe of Dan. He is conceived from the seed of a man and from an unclean or most vile virgin, mixed with an evil or worthless spirit. But that abominable corrupter, more of spirits than of bodies, while a youth, the crafty dragon appears under the appearance of righteousness, before he takes the kingdom. Because he will be craftily gentle to all people, not receiving gifts, not placed before another person, loving to all people, quiet to everyone, not desiring gifts, appearing friendly among close friends, so that men may bless him, saying;-he is a just man, not knowing that a wolf lies concealed under the appearance of a lamb, and that a greedy man is inside under the skin of a sheep.

Section 7
But when the time of the abomination of his desolation begins to approach, having been made legal, he takes the empire, and, just as it is said in the Psalm:-They have been made for the undertaking for the sons of Lot, the Moabites and the Ammanites shall meet him first as their king. Therefore, when he receives the kingdom, he orders the temple of God to be rebuilt for himself, which is in Jerusalem; who, after coming into it, he shall sit as God and order that he be adored by all nations, since he is carnal and filthy and mixed with worthless spirit and flesh. Then that eloquence shall be fulfilled of Daniel the prophet:-And he shall not know the God of their fathers, and he shall not know the desires of women. Because the very wicked serpent shall direct every worship to himself. Because he shall put forth an edict so that people may be circumcised according to the rite of the old law. Then the Jews shall congratulate him, because he gave them again the practice of the first covenant; then all people from everywhere shall flock together to him at the city of Jerusalem, and the holy city shall be trampled on by the nations for forty-two months, just as the holy apostle says in the Apocalypse, which become three and a half years, 1,260 days.

Section 8
In these three years and a half the heaven shall suspend its dew; because there will be no rain upon the earth, and the clouds shall cease to pass through the air, and the stars shall be seen with difficulty in the sky because of the excessive dryness, which happens in the time of the very fierce dragon. Because all great rivers and very powerful fountains that overflow with themselves shall be dried up, torrents shall dry up their water-courses because of the intolerable age, and there will be a great tribulation, as there has not been, since people began to be upon the earth, and there will be famine and an insufferable thirst. And children shall waste away in the bosom of their mothers, and wives upon the knees of their husbands, by not having victuals to eat. Because there will be in those days lack of bread and water, and no one is able to sell or to buy of the grain of the fall harvest, unless he is one who has the serpentine sign on the forehead or on the hand. Then gold and silver and precious clothing or precious stones shall lie along the streets, and also even every type of pearls along the thoroughfares and streets of the cities, but there is not one who may extend the hand and take or desire them, but they consider all things as good as nothing because of the extreme lack and famine of bread, because the earth is not protected by the rains of heaven, and there will be neither dew nor moisture of the air upon the earth. But those who wander through the deserts, fleeing from the face of the serpent, bend their knees to God, just as lambs to the adders of their mothers, being sustained by the salvation of the Lord, and while wandering in states of desertion, they eat herbs.

Section 9
Then, when this inevitability has overwhelmed all people, just and unjust, the just, so that they may be found good by their Lord; and indeed the unjust, so that they may be damned forever with their author the Devil, and, as God beholds the human race in danger and being tossed about by the breath of the horrible dragon, he sends to them consolatory proclamation by his attendants, the prophets Enoch and Elijah, who, while not yet tasting death, are the servants for the heralding of the second coming of Christ, and in order to accuse the enemy. And when those just ones have appeared, they confuse indeed the antagonistic serpent with his cleverness and they call back the faithful witnesses to God, in order to (free them) from his seduction ...

Section 10
And when the three and a half years have been completed, the time of the Antichrist, through which he will have seduced the world, after the resurrection of the two prophets, in the hour which the world does not know, and on the day which the enemy of son of perdition does not know, will come the sign of the Son of Man, and coming forward the Lord shall appear with great power and much majesty, with the sign of the wood of salvation going before him, and also even with all the powers of the heavens with the whole chorus of the saints, with those who bear the sign of the holy cross upon their shoulders, as the angelic trumpet precedes him, which shall sound and declare: Arise, O sleeping ones, arise, meet Christ, because his hour of judgment has come! Then Christ shall come and the enemy shall be thrown into confusion, and the Lord shall destroy him by the spirit of his mouth. And he shall be bound and shall be plunged into the abyss of everlasting fire alive with his father Satan; and all people, who do his wishes, shall perish with him forever; but the righteous ones shall inherit everlasting life with the Lord forever and ever.

 


Taking into consideration Section 2 one can easily see that this is based on the pre-tribulation rapture with the following statement:

 

For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins.

and:

 

and there is not other which remains, except the advent of the wicked one

The second statement when taken in context of the paragraph becomes obviously clear that the rapture occurs prior to the advent of the anti-christ.

Then in Section 10 it is pretty apparent this is a reference to the Second Coming following the tribulation. Consider this:

 

coming forward the Lord shall appear with great power and much majesty........with those who bear the sign of the holy cross upon their shoulders

The resurrected saints from the Rapture returning WITH Christ (which is the pre-trib belief).

Then comes the first resurrection of Revelation 20:

 

as the angelic trumpet precedes him, which shall sound and declare: Arise, O sleeping ones, arise, meet Christ, because his hour of judgment has come!

When does the resurrection of the tribulation saints occur? When is the judgement? After the tribulation.

On another note, what are we to prepare for? Section 2 tells us to "prepare ourselves for the meeting of the Lord Christ" not to prepare for the 7 year tribulation etc. In fact he warns us:

 

Why therefore are we occupied with worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of worldly business, and why is our mind held fixed on the lusts of the world or on the anxieties of the ages? Why therefore do we not reject every care of earthly actions

Advocates of the post trib belief tell us we need to stock up survival gear and food and focus on surviving the tribulation. Does this not contradict the clear warning in the sermon? Does it not cause people to focus on earthly possessions and the world? These same advocates seem to skip over any anaylysis of this.

Whether written by the true Ephraem or one later it is clear from several scholars (Dr. Paul Alexander, Wilhelm Bouset and Prof C.P. Caspari among them) that it was composed before the 6th century. Many of them believe it was written by Ephraem. No matter how you slice it, it shows a belief of the pre-trib rapture over 1000 years prior to Darby.

Tags: church | prophecy | rapture | tribulation

 

Got Questions: “What does it mean to have the fear of God?”

What are your thoughts on this week’s QOTW?

– http://www.gotquestions.org/questweek.html –

 

“What does it mean to have the fear of God?”



15 Comments »

  1. Comment by Robert

    I guess it means awe and respect (perhaps in the same way as a student might fear a principal/headmaster). It doesn’t obviously mean fear like we’d fear a wild animal or a natural disaster.

  2. Comment by R

    The fear of hurting God, by our sin.

  3. Comment by Dolores

    I read your article and as always I enjoy the messages as the come and for the most part I feel that I am having a personal relationship with God over the computer which is a really great thing. I just wanted to add to todays message as an after thought that the bible also says that God reproves and disciplines those he loves why else would he take the time to discipline us but for the only reason that he loves us and wants us to live.

  4. Comment by Michael James Stone

    For me this was a good questions:
    “What does it mean to have the fear of God?”

    I grew up with absolutely no religious teaching or training. I had not been in a church. I did not know about God. I had no thoughts about the subject one way or another because I wasn’t interested and frankly no one was interested in me, or so I thought.

    If you had asked me about Hellfire and Brimstone I wouldn’t have had a clue what you were talking about.

    I got saved in the Jesus Movement by love. Everyone around me was glowing and loving and I wanted what they had. I didn’t know what sin or salvation was and while Greg Laurie is polished now, back then it was more like: If you want what we got COME ON DOWN!!

    WOO HOO I CAME ON DOWN,..and yes I had a very emotional religious miraculous salvation everyone wanted and few got, but for me I still had questions.

    You see, when I got saved I had Jesus down, I understood the Father, I know all bout the Spirit but I hadn’t a clue about this thing called the “Fear of the Lord”

    So dummy me like I had done since I got saved, I asked God about it.

    Now maybe for you that is prayer, but for me we were in some pretty tight communication in my early days and ALOT kept happening which i would later be required to talk and write about.

    SO I was laying on my couch looking up and thinking about God and talking: “Father” I said, ‘why do people fear you?”

    Time stopped. Breathing stopped. I didn’t move. I could see the cieling swirl into a mass of clouds. Like cumulous nimbus or like on TV the Old Greatest Heroes of the Bible when they Swirled a cloud mass and God spoke.

    This was indoors. This was above me. This I could not move from. This I could not Speak. This I could breathe. This I watched.

    No thought, no voice, no movement, no fear per se, but I knew what Awe was before I could say I was IN AWE now as I was “likened unto dead man” without movement, breathe or “you name it.”

    An hour went by. Later I knew that. I could not move think or do but simply exist and while I had no fear the way we are afraid, I knew I was in the presence of God Almighty more than my Father and Lord Jesus and I could only exist.

    Looking back, it was awesome. I knew later it was for me to “know” that “Fear of the Lord” and what it actually is though it will be manifested by others in different ways.

    God, in His presence, is a Awe and if I may “selah” in creation of the dimensional reality of what who and How he is and the worst we have to describe is called the Fear of the Lord and the best we can say as just is to have bee there and seen that, like Paul said, It is Sin to describe, for nothing can.

    (For those who doubt, No offense, since i am the one who experienced it, it doesn’t matter, I can only say What I saw; Heard and experienced, and until you been there; you just don’t know).

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  6. Comment by Debbie

    I get my understanding about this topic from ISA 11:2; “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD” (ISA 11:2) These three Hebrew couplets speak of the seven spirts to the seven churches in the Book of the REV. I apologize for the lengthy discourse on the one leg of the one couplet, “THE FEAR OF THE LORD.”

    “The Fear of the Lord” (YIRAH JEHOVAH) (YIRAH) comes from a root word meaning a feeling of dread. (DEUT 2:25; GEN 3:10; 32:11; PSALM 119:120) The fear this torch represents is a fear of the LORD. This is a fear of God’s Holiness and power and produces a reverential awe of Him. (JOB 37:22-24; PSALM 33:8) The best way to describe this is a respect for God’s uncompromising holiness as the basis in all His dealings with mankind. (JONAH 1:10-16; EXODUS 14:31) Man is awed by anything that dwarfs his/her power. Fear of the Lord is awe for His sovereign power. (PSALM 8:1-4; ECCL 12:13) Stand in reverential awe of God. In order to avoid undermining this awe, keep His commandments. You can then fulfill your role as a priest of God, as an ambassador of God and as a soldier of God. (DEUT 10:12)
    a. One of the consequences of the fear of the Lord is that it keeps one from doing things that are evil. (EX 20:18-19; PROV 16:6; JOB 1:1)
    b. The fear of the Lord is the basis of all wisdom. (PSALM 111:10; PROV 15:13)
    c. The fear of God is the first principle of divine viewpoint knowledge. (PROV 1:7)
    d. The fear of the Lord is the source of personal happiness and prosperity. (PSALM 34:9:
    112:1-3; ECCL 8:12-13; PSALM 128:1-4; 34:9)
    e. The fear of the Lord extends one’s physical life. (DEUT 6:2; PROV 24:7; 19:23; 10:27; PSALM 33:18-19)
    f. The fear of the Lord provides access to divine help in time of need. (PSALM 145:19)
    g. The fear of the Lord is the mark of one in whom God takes pleasure. (PSALM 147:7)
    h. The fear of the Lord prevents the economic abuse of others. (LEV 25:14-17, 35-43; NEH 5:1-5)
    i. People who do not fear God cannot be trusted. (GEN 20:11)
    j. Those who fear God do not turn away from Him and His Word. (JER 32:39-40)
    k. Those who govern men in the fear of the Lord, rule in righteousness and are a source of refreshment and blessing. (2SAM 23:3-4)
    l. The early New Testament Christians were characterized by a Spirit of the Fear of the LORD. (ACTS 9:31)
    m. God is to be feared because He has power over one’s physical life and eternal destinay as well (LUKE 12:4-5)
    n. The fear of the LORD is developed through the learning of Bible doctrine truth. (DEUT 31:9-13)
    o. The fear of the LORD will preserve a person from idolatry (JOSH 24:14-15)
    p. The fear of the Lord preserves a nation from military conquest (2KINGS 17:39)
    q. The fear of the Lord secures infinite mercy for those who fall into sin. (PSALM 103:8, 12-18)
    r. Believers should seek close friendships only with those who fear the Lord. (PSALM 119:63)
    s. Those who are placed in positions of civil authority, are to be those only who fear the Lord (EX 18:21)
    t. The fear of the Lord prevents a heartless abuse of the physically handicapped. (LEV 19:14)
    u. The fear of the Lord preserves a respect for the aged. (LEV 19:32)
    v. God’s great desire for His children is that they would so fear Him that they would obey His commandments. (DEUT 5:29)
    w. Failure to fear the Lord leads to disobedience of His commandments and results in chastening of physical illness. (DEUT 28:58-61)
    MARANATHA

  7. Comment by John A. Lee

    GQ answer is correct – See my acroymn on FEAR at leewordcodes.com Father Expects Awe Respect – JAL

  8. Comment by ceseeley

    All;

    Being open to and not resisting the Sanctification Process … where it leads one Biblically, Spiritually, Psychologically, Emotionally, Physiologically … etc.!!!

  9. Comment by Phil Dennis

    To Michael Stone…..I believe your story, and thank you for sharing it. A lot of people seem to be having a serious connection with the celestial realm lately and I find it takes great courage to speak of it openly, again thank you…..Fear of God…I agree in part with what was posted but I fall away when it begins to accept one word for the meaning of another (fear =s some other word) changing the structure of the question, my view only…it IS a valid question and the answer to it one I have sought for some time, for me it goes like this. God IS my Father, He has created all of this for the all of us, I trust Him, I believe in Him, who else would you trust to have judge your life lived? I see all the creation of this world and think on what we as people do to one another, and If I was to fear anything about God it would be for me to face Him and the question to be asked to me…What did YOU do to help? I would fear that if my answer was a blank stare…yeah THAT would be the fear of God to me……

  10. Comment by Edith Jane

    I fear God with respect. I’m afraid to commit sins. I’m afraid to hurt Him by falling asleep during my night prayer. I’m afraid to lie, even if it’s “just a white-lie”. I’m totally in love with Christ Jesus that I want to please Him with EVERYTHING I do… and I fear not pleasing Him. That’s a good fear, it keeps me straight.

  11. Comment by Mimi

    Michael James Stone, wow! Amazing story! I have had some unique experiences myself, much different, but unique. Thank you for sharing.

    Debbie! Oustanding Scripture and the work you put into your post is amazing thank you for blessing all of us.

    Ceseeley, So true, HI Big Brother. Red Oak Tree.

  12. Comment by Mimi

    Hahahaha!!!! I forgot to write what I came here for…………
    So let me try again….“What does it mean to have the fear of God?” I like what Robert said that “it means awe and respect” & what R. said makes sense “The fear of hurting God, by our sin.”…I also feel that fearing the LORD keeps us safe and desiring to do good rather than evil. IT gives us a healthy balance to our lives.

    Proverbs 9:10 (King James Version)

    10The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

  13. Comment by Mimi

    Revelation Song – Live Worship
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzPTYHyXY-g

  14. Comment by alvin

    I have to confess that i never have experienced a ‘pillar of smoke and fire filling the temple experience’. And though i am a christian as Job was, i have not testified ‘now my eye sees You’ like Job 42:5, so perhaps i have not really reached the position of self awareness that is in verse 6 “therefore i abhor and repent in dust and ashes”. I know that it is not only an old testament experience because of verses like revelation 15:8 “and the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power; and no human was able to enter into the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.”
    The QOTW mentioned Hebrews 12:29 “our God is a consuming fire” which is experienced by unbelievers at the great white throne judgement, and by believers as the burning away of sin. many who have been used of God have testified of being exposed to their own sinfulness, and the burning removal through an experience of divine presence purity and power during their earthly life, like Isaiah. Others have claimed it falsely like Jobs comforter Eliphaz the Temanite in Job 4:15-17 “a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: it stood still. i could not discern the form of it. an image was before my eyes, silence… i heard a voice, ‘shall mortal man be more pure than his maker?’ ”
    and i am puzzling through the 3 verses in hebrews about ‘through the veil’. 6:19 we have the truthfulness of God as an anchor to the soul both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil where the forerunner entered, Jesus the eternal priest. and 9:3 about entering beyond the second veil into the holiest of holies with 9:12 as Jesus entered in once, obtaining eternal redemption. and 10:19-25 boldly entering into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, the new and living way that he consecrated for us(in the gospels, the veil of the temple tore from the top to bottom when Jesus died). and with this high priest drawing near with a true heart in full assurance of faith with hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and bodies washed with pure water,and holding fast in v23-25.
    I accept and believe the simplicity of salvation, but wonder if i fully understand what is going on here.
    Deb, thank you for your list on the fear of God.

  15. Comment by Mimi

    Revelation Song
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brreo8QlkEE

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