Be Very Alert!- By Val Hollard (NZ)
On Watch at the Door No 227, September 27, 2016
A TIMELINE FOR THE CHURCH
Somebody asked me if I would produce a timeline, so here is one for the Church. It may not be totally accurate but I have endeavoured to base it on Scripture. I ask you to be good Bereans and check everything out for yourself.
- The embryonic church: Following His resurrection, Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22) The disciples were now indwelt by the Holy Spirit. On several occasions the disciples were instructed to go to Jerusalem and wait there until they received the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4, Luke 24:49)
- Pentecost and the receiving of the power of the Holy Spirit: Up to this time the disciples had received the Holy Spirit but did not have the power of the Holy Spirit to enable them to go out and evangelise. At Pentecost in Jerusalem, Peter explains to the crowd what has happened. (Acts 2) He quotes from Joel 2 where God says He will pour out His Spirit on all people. Peter then tells the crowd, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Thousands were added to the Church that day. The Church Age begins, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
- The signs of the end of the Church Age: There have now been about 2000 years since the Church began at Pentecost, and started spreading to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8) Scripture gives us many things to look for at the end of this age.
A major sign is the falling away, or rise in apostasy, in the Church. False teachings are now spreading through the Church like wild fire. Scriptural truth is being rejected as well as the true Christ. Those turning away from the truth now will inevitably turn to Antichrist when he comes.
- This is where we are now in the timeline. True Christians are finding it harder and harder to find faithful churches as apostasy increases at an exponential rate.
- The removal of the Restrainer, the Holy Spirit: (2 Thess 2:3) At the moment the Holy Spirit is still at work in the world and we are seeing more converts. When the Holy Spirit no longer restrains or convicts, there will be no new converts but He will still be present in true believers, the saints. The door of opportunity will be shut. “Night” is used as a metaphor of this period in Scripture. Night is coming when no one can work. (John 9:4) It will be as in the time between Jesus breathing His Spirit on the disciples and Pentecost.
The full number of Gentiles is now complete. (Rom 11:25) However, they are to remain on earth for a while longer. Following the order of events in Matthew 24, they will remain on earth until after the midpoint of the 7-year tribulation.
The removal of the Restrainer also leads to the appearance of Antichrist, the man of sin, and the beginning of the 7-year tribulation as described in Daniel 9:26-27. The first Seal of Revelation 6 is opened.
- The persecution and betrayal of the saints: Jesus warns that at the end of the age the saints will be severely persecuted. They will be handed over and put to death and hated by all nations. They will also be betrayed by people who turn away from the faith. (Matt 24:9-10)
This corresponds to the fifth Seal of Revelation 6 where we see saints under the altar who have been killed because of their faithfulness to Jesus. This will be a terrible time of persecution for the saints. Jesus tells us that we will suffer tribulation (thlipsis) in this world (John 16:33), but not wrath (orge) (1 Thess 5:9).
- Celestial and terrestrial signs signal that the Rapture is near: In Luke 21:25-28 Jesus tells us when we will know when the Rapture is near: “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
In Acts 2, Peter addresses the crowd and quoting Joel 2 defines the limits of the Church Age. The Church Age began at Pentecost and ends with signs in the heavens and on the earth below. (Acts 2:19-21) These signs appear before the Day of the Lord and indicate to believers that the Rapture and the Resurrection are near.
These same signs are also described in Matthew 24 and in the sixth Seal of Revelation 6. These signs spell good news for the believer but strike utter fear in the ungodly. From Revelation 6:15-17, we see that the ungodly will be absolutely terrified and will try to hide, calling on the mountains and rocks to hide them as they realise the significance of the signs and that the wrath of God is coming. They want to hide from “the face of him who sits on the throne.” It is clear from Revelation 6 and Luke 21 that at this time everyone will see Jesus.
- The Rapture (Harpazo) of the remaining saints and the Resurrection: The remaining saints must be removed before the Day of the Lord begins with God’s wrath being poured out. (Rev 6:16-17) “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess 5:9) It is the time when believers will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, along with all those who have died in Christ, and be with Him forever. (1 Thess 4:13-18) This is the day Christians long for. It is the Resurrection and for those still on earth, includes the Rapture. It is also described in Matthew 24:31, where Jesus sends His angels with a loud trumpet call to collect all the living and dead elect, “from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
- The full number of Gentiles is now seen in heaven: Between the sixth and seventh Seals of Revelation 6 a great multitude wearing white robes is seen in heaven. The Church Age has finally ended. God will now turn His attention to the restoration of Israel as a nation, beginning with the sealed 144,000, and pour out His wrath on Antichrist’s kingdom. In heaven, the saints will appear at the Bema seat of Christ for their rewards (2 Cor 5:10) before eventually returning to earth to rule and reign with Christ for His millennial reign on earth.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CELESTIAL AND TERRESTRIAL SIGNS
It is said that if something is repeated more than once in the Bible, it is important. So if something appears in both the Old and New Testaments, and is referred to by Jesus more than once, it must be of huge significance. I refer to these celestial and terrestrial signs. From my interpretation of Scripture, this is what I see:
- They precede the Day of the Lord. (Joel 2:31)
- The sky recedes like a scroll enabling a view into heaven which delights believers as they know their redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:28) The signs signify the proximity of the blessed hope of all believers, the Resurrection, and for those still on earth, the Rapture too. (1 Thess 4:13-17)
- This same view into heaven terrifies the unrepentant earth-dwellers who want to hide from what they have seen as they know that the wrath of God is coming. (Rev 6:15-17)
- God’s wrath is held back until the 144,000 Jews are sealed. (Rev 7)
- The full number of Gentiles is now seen in heaven (Rev 7) and God can turn His attention to the restoration of Israel as a nation. (Acts 15:13-18, Rom 11:25-27)
- After the saints are resurrected, there is silence in heaven for about half an hour. (Rev 8:1) Silence before judgment in mentioned elsewhere in the Bible too, for example, Zephaniah 1:7, Habakkuk 2:20, Joshua 6:10.
- God’s wrath begins with the first Trumpet judgment and the Greenies will be in utter despair at the destruction of the earth! (Rev 8)
- In the US, the ‘transgender agenda’ has evolved and is spreading to the point where it is now a very real threat to Christian believers, churches, and ministries. It is becoming so woven into law and social fabric that those refusing to pander to their value systems now face some very real legal and licensing risks.
- Church of England leaders have announced the creation of a committee tasked with seeking “episcopal discernment” on the confluence of sex, marriage and church doctrine. The Bishops’ Reflection Group on Sexuality could issue a report as early as February, when the church holds its General Synod, according to observers. Wouldn’t their time be better spent just reading the Bible and following it?
- In NZ, we have homeless sleeping in cars and bedding down wherever they can find a spot. In the US, tent cities for the homeless are booming as poverty grows. There are dozens of them across the country, and many have been given names. The homeless will be living in them over the coming winter. More than half a million people are homeless there now. Often they are moved on by authorities, but that is just moving the problem to another place. As poverty increases, it is expected that many “middle class Americans” will be joining them soon.
- European leaders are discussing a plan for a European army. Critics say it would entail an unprecedented transfer of sovereignty from European nation states to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. Europe is continuing its quest to build a super state regardless of opposition.
- In the US there is now a clear disconnect between what the Bible teaches about the sanctity of life and what is being taught in churches and Christians schools. A Gallop poll has just shown that 52% of women who have an abortion identify as Christians. Last year Lifeway research found that 76% of church-going women who had abortions said that their church had no influence over their decision to have an abortion. It would appear that many Christian women are not receiving proper information from their pastors nor are they being told about the wealth of pro-life resources that exist to assist women with unexpected pregnancies.
- This comes at a time when Christianity is on the decline in America, according to Pew’s Religious Landscape study. Americans are giving up on God and those who have no religious ties are on the rise.
- Australian officials have confirmed that a 4-year-old child is going through a sex-change procedure despite a warning by the American College of Pediatrics that even treatments, much less surgical intervention, can cause sterility and are based on “unscientific gender ideology” that violate “the long-standing ethical principle of ‘First do no harm.’” The New South Wales provincial government has admitted that hundreds of other children are being “referred to the state’s hospitals for gender dysphoria.” Most treatments come in the form of chemicals that block gender development while a person sorts out their gender identity.
- Lebanon has a law forbidding its citizens from having any communication of any kind with Israelis anywhere in the world. They risk imprisonment if they do. This helps to explain why the Lebanese Olympic team refused to allow the Israeli team onto the bus they were supposed to share.
- The minds and souls of young kids are being killed by addiction to screens. Behaviour deteriorates and personal relationships suffer. Many of the effects are the same as seen in drug addiction. Screens are “electronic cocaine,” “digital heroin,” “digital pharmakeia” (“drug” in Greek).
Who is the Restrainer? – Jacob Prasch (but covers more than just the Restrainer)
Inner Healing Exposed – David Nathan
When Godly Believers Disagree – Jacob Prasch
Media on the Brain – an excellent warning
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