Larry Parker

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WHY WE SHOULD READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY


 The Apostle John tells us that the Bible (the Word) is Jesus Himself.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1 & 14, emphasis added).  Jesus said, “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:54).  By reading the Bible, we are obeying Christ’s command.  It is the spiritual food we need every day, to abide in Him. 


Truth plus error equals error.  Another way of saying it is; a little truth mixed with a little error becomes all error.  The Bible puts it this way, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9).  There are too many people out there giving us conclusions about diverse subjects in God’s word, without complete scriptural support.  Even worse, Satan sets traps for our downfall, by using men (knowingly and unknowingly) who use the word of God out of context for the support of false doctrines.  They are wrongly dividing God’s word.[i]  Some are actually wolves in sheep’s clothing deliberately distorting God’s word and teaching a false gospel.  If we are not constantly reading the Bible, how are we to know them?  That’s why we need to read the scriptures for ourselves. 


The Preacher Was Wrong

I was very surprised when I heard someone tell me that the Pastor of their church had said, “God is not sovereign.”  When I asked, how he could say such a thing, my friend said he was not sure but it had something to do with God’s covenant with Abraham, which we are parties to.  Somehow, this Pastor thinks our covenant with God prevents Him from being sovereign.  I can only surmise that this preacher thinks God gave up His sovereignty when He made the covenant with Abraham.  It appears he believes, because of that, God can no longer force man to do His will and thus does not have preeminent; indisputable power.  Therefore, he concludes that God is not sovereign.  How wrong can that be?  It is this type of un-thought-out statements from some Pastors that bring a disservice and confusion to congregants who are not sure of what the Bible says.  A Sovereign is a supreme ruler who has preeminent; indisputable power; a sovereign right.  My friend’s Pastor does not understand how God always has indisputable power.  God only chooses not to use it against man’s will; the power is still His.  God is sovereign!  He is never wrong!  We need to be reminded of this fact in order to understand how, because it is His will, things may happen in our life that we don’t like. 


A Personal Example of Sovereignty

I was very proud and touched when our son Jay, and his wife Kristin, named their first-born son after Jay’s brother, Wesley.  One day Lucky and I were visiting the family when she pointed out to me how Jay’s actions were a good example of how God gives us the freedom of choice and yet remains sovereign.  Our grandson Wesley was just two years old when he clearly let us know he had a will of his own.  We heard Jay tell his son to put away one of his toys.  Wesley, exercising his will, refused to obey.  Jay, having indisputable power over Wesley, could have carried him over to the toy and forced him to pick it up.  However, he elected to give Wesley a choice.  Jay told him he could either pick up his toy, or be taken to his room for a ‘time out.’  By doing nothing, Wesley let his dad know his decision.  Therefore, Jay took his son to his room.  Just so, our sovereign God gives us a choice.  We can accept His son Jesus as our savior and be reconciled with Him, or we can refuse His son and be condemned to hell.  By doing nothing, we are giving God our decision to reject His offer of salvation.  Therefore, we condemn ourselves to hell and God remains sovereign! 


We Can Disagree In Grace

I know there will be people who will disagree with some of the things I have written.  Any number of people can look at the same scripture and come to any number of different conclusions.  However, we should be able to share our differences without accusing each other of being wrong.  Who knows, we both may well be in error.  One of the teachers in my church, and I, disagree on the timing of The Rapture.  However, we still love and value each other in spite of our respective differences.  As long as we can agree together that Jesus Christ is the Son of God come in the flesh, that He died on the cross for our sins, arose again and ascended to heaven, we are brothers in the Lord.  It really doesn’t matter whether we agree on some of the other subjects or not.  Therefore, I am not asking you to believe everything I've written, on my word alone.  I believe I’ve given adequate scriptural support for my conclusions.  Even if you see things differently, I pray we would still remain united together in Christian love, because of our mutual love for the Lord Jesus Christ. 


Many times assumptions are made without support of scripture.  I have moved outside of this “assumptions box” while staying in the Bible in order to find truth.  If you know of any scripture that contradicts what I have said please contact me and let me know what it is.  I always want to be teachable and am willing to change my viewpoint when I find scriptures that require me to do so.  In the past, we have believed our teachers opinions about spiritual matters without confirming them in the word of God.  Over thirty-six years ago, because of my acceptance without confirmation of someone else’s teaching, I committed the sin of presumption.  That sin brought about great tragedy in my life.  I don’t blame anyone other than myself.  I had assumed the leaders, whom I studied under, knew what they were talking about.  However, it was my responsibility to read the Bible before accepting their view of what faith was.  I alone will have to answer to God for my actions, not my teachers.  For that reason carte blanche acceptance of assumptions and tradition and unsupported doctrine must end.  God gave us teachers to help guide us in our search for His truth in the word of God. 


We Must Be Teachable

The pride of life can be an unwillingness to be teachable.  This is what prevents us from changing our opinions even when others point out scriptural evidence that is contrary to the way we believe.  It is this, pride of life, that produces an inability in us to say, “I was wrong.”  I want always to have a teachable spirit.  None of us will be perfect in knowledge this side of Heaven.  It is my prayer that I can inspire members of the body of Christ to read their Bibles.  In this way, we can find out for ourselves what God is saying to His people, and not depend on someone else’s, possibly erroneous, conclusions.  I hope I have stirred your interest enough to send you to the Bible to find your own answers.  I pray that you will (as I do) search God’s word with a teachable spirit.  What I believed last year is different than what I believe today.  I’ll keep searching. 


One final word; it is okay to ask someone what the Bible is saying to them, and take into account their point of view, but don’t settle solely on their answer for yourself.  Learn to recognize assumptions, and think outside the box while remaining in the Bible, to come to your own conclusions.  Remember, while some assumptions we make about subjects in the Bible are true, some are not.  Therefore we must never accept an opinion, derived from an assumption, as doctrine.     Ask the Holy Spirit, “What does the Bible have to say to me?” 


And that’s my opinion


Larry Parker

May 1, 2010 


 READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY





God’s Promises Are Conditional


Salvation is a costly gift freely given from Father God to anyone who wants to go to heaven.  John 3:16 is the most quoted verse in the Bible.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  However, there is a condition one must meet, for salvation. 


As the scripture says we must believe in Him, i.e. that He died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead.  Jesus said, “…Repent, and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15).  The apostle Peter said, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Act 3:19).  These are the conditions we must meet; believe in Jesus, repent and ask forgiveness.


Just as there are conditions for salvation there are conditions for all of God’s promises including healings and blessings.  Preachers who teach, you can have promises without conditions are doing the same thing Satan did when tempting Jesus (see Matthew 4:1-11).  Satan takes scriptures out of context and misrepresents them by leaving out God’s conditions in order to fool you into tempting God.  When you act on these misused verses without meeting the conditions, you are tempting God.  This is a sin!  Jesus said, “… 'YOU SHALL NOT TEMPT THE LORD YOUR GOD' (Matthew 4:7)."


The following verses are misused to tell you, you can have anything you want: “…ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7).  “And whatever we ask we receive from Him…” (1John 3:22).  Some preachers say, “All you have to do is ask God and believe Him for it, and you will receive it.  If you don’t receive it, it’s your fault because you don’t have enough faith.”


 Are these scriptural statements meant for us to claim whatever we want?  The correct answer is, “No.”  But there are popular teachers who say, “Yes.”  They use these verses to encourage us to build up, what they incorrectly call faith; to claim healing and riches for ourselves.  They justify their teaching by quoting 2Corinthains 1:20 which says, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen…”  The only condition they mention is that you must sow monetary seeds into a ministry [hopefully theirs] for a harvest of material blessings.       


However, we must stop burying our heads in the sands of “You can have what you want, when you want it” false teaching.  The conditions from John 15:7 – left out by untruthful teachers are, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will…”  And in 1John 3:22 they omit, again, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will…”  However, by reading the conditions in scripture, we learn we must be abiding in Jesus and His Word before we can receive anything we want.


Abiding in Jesus means we pray without ceasing; we are seeking His will and His timing for what we want and are obedient to His Word.  It also means we are willing to wait, with confidence in Him, knowing He will accomplish what He wants in our life.  We must always wait on the Lord’s timing.


 I would like to point out two more scriptures that have been misused in a way that causes people to tempt God.  In Matthew 17:20 it says, “…assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”  We are taught all you need do is have a little faith, i.e. make yourself believe you have it and you will have it.  What is left out is the fact that we are to look to Jesus (a condition) who is the Author and finisher of our faith (see Hebrews 12:2).  It is not something we can generate on our own.  We must wait for Jesus to give it to us.


Mark 11:23 is also misused by telling us we can have what we say if only we will, will ourselves to believe.  The scripture says, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”  What is not mentioned when they use this verse is that the condition, “does not doubt in his heart” is not provided by our will power but by Jesus, the Author of our faith.  Therefore we must wait on Him! 


The Lord’s Timing

“Then He [Jesus] spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,” (Luke 18:1).  In 1Thessalonians 5:17 we read, “pray without ceasing,”  That means even though we may not get what we want we must continue to pray.


We are called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalms 122:6), however, it will not happen until Jesus returns.  We are called to pray “…Even so, come [quickly] Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).  However, it will not happen until the rapture.  We are encouraged to pray for healing, however, it will not happen until the fullness of God’s time.  (It is also true that sometimes it is the Lord’s will that healing be immediate.)  Abraham prayed for his son of promise, Isaac.  The promise was not fulfilled until twenty-five years later.  Hanna prayed many years for her son, Samuel before he was born.  Abraham and Hanna’s prayers were only answered in God’s timing.  In other words prayers are answered when God says, “It is time.” 


Sometimes God has an outright “no” to some of our prayers.  A good example of that is when Paul prayed for his “thorn” to be removed.  2Corinthains 12:9 records our Lord’s answer, “And He [God] said to me [Paul], "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."  Paul showed his great faith when he continued the verse with, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  Every one of us must develop that kind of faith in these “last days.”    


Psalms 119:71 says, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.”  David Guzik, who serves as Senior Pastor for the Generation Bible College, a ministry of Calvary Chapel of Santa Barbara California, explains Psalms 119:71 this way:


… The Psalmist speaks here of lessons learned the hard way. There was a time when he was far more likely to go astray from God's word and the wise life revealed there.  Yet, under a season of affliction, he was now devoted to the word of God.

Our trials sometimes act as guardrails on the side of a dangerous road, keeping us safely on the path. Prosperity and ease can be like gaps in the guardrail, where we can easily go astray. This principle has worked its way in the life of virtually everyone who has pursed God. This is one reason why God appoints affliction for His people (1 Thessalonians 3:3).


The eleventh chapter of Hebrews has been called the chapter of faith.  Men and women are listed who received affirmative answers to their prayers; however some did not receive what they asked for, this side of heaven.  But they are all listed as men and women of faith.  Real faith is confidence in Jesus.  We are confident that He will do what is best for us; when it is best for us.  The bottom line is, GOD IS IN CONTROL.  Therefore, we must learn to submit to Him.  When we do, we will experience a great joy we can never know otherwise.  We can always have great joy in the strength and salvation of the Lord (see Psalms 21:1).


And that’s my opinion.


Larry Parker

July 1, 2012


READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY





 




[i] See 2 Timothy 2:15


 

THE LAST TRUMPET

In the Bible, we read from the book of Revelation that the apostle John is given a vision while he is on the island, which is called Patmos.  “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last," and, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches… which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea" (Revelation 1:10-11).

 

Jesus has a message for the seven churches in Asia, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches…” (Revelation 2:7).  He points out to each one (writing to them through John) about their different strengths and weaknesses.  However, the Messiah has the same message to all the churches in that they are to, hear Him, and be overcomers.  What are they to hear, and what are they to overcome?  I believe Jesus, through His revelation, is about to warn the churches of the coming persecution from Satan through godless men.  He encourages His Church (including the Church today) by revealing to them the rewards of listening to His warning and overcoming such persecution:

 

  • I will give [the overcomer] to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

  • [The overcomer] shall not be hurt by the second death.

  • I will give [the overcomer] some of the hidden manna to eat.  And I will give him[/her] a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him [/her] who receives it.

  • …to him[/her, the overcomer] I will give power over the nations—

  • [The overcomer] shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his[/her] name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his[/her] name before My Father and before His angels.

  • He who overcomes, I will make him[/her] a pillar in the temple of My God, and he[/she] shall go out no more. I will write on him[/her] the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him[/her] My new name.

  • I will grant [the overcomer] to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

 

THE SEVEN SEALED SCROLL CONTAINS GOD’S WRATH

 

The scenario of the book of Revelation is played out by a scroll with seven seals.  The scroll John saw contains the final wrath of God, which cannot occur until the seals are broken and the Church has been raptured.  “And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals” (Revelation 5:1).  The seals represent events that build up to the releasing of the wrath of God.  After the seventh seal is broken the scroll is opened and the wrath of God is revealed.  God’s wrath begins with the sounding of seven trumpets.  After the “last” of these trumpets sounds, seven angels are seen with seven bowls of wrath.  The seven angels with the bowls contain the seven last plagues completing the wrath of God on the earth (see Revelation 15:1).  “…a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!" (Revelation 16:17). 

 

The Bible teaches us that when the last trumpet of God sounds, the rapture will take place.  “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1Corinthians 15:51-52).

 

Most people believe an angel sounds the “last trumpet.”  I have heard them say, “We are going up in the rapture when the angel, Gabriel, blows his horn.  However, the Bible makes no mention of Gabriel sounding any trumpet.  They also trust that the rapture will occur before any of the seven seals on the scroll are broken (pre-tribulation rapture).  Others mistakenly assumed the “last trumpet” Paul was talking about is the last of the seven trumpet soundings which begin after the seventh seal is broken.  I think the reasons people make these mistakes are because they don’t take into account that there are three different types of trumpet soundings.

 

 

WHO BLOWS THE LAST TRUMPET?

 

Trumpet signaling can be from God, from man, or from angels.  For this discussion I will call them, the trumpet [of God], the trumpet [of men] and the trumpet [of angels].  I believe Zechariah 9:14 is referring to the rapture when it says, “Then the LORD will be seen over them, And His arrow will go forth like lightning. The Lord GOD will blow the trumpet…”  Therefore, the “last trumpet” Paul is talking about that announces the rapture is the trumpet [of God] (see also Matthew 24:31, Psalms 47:5).  Scriptural evidence shows it is Jesus who sounds the “last trumpet,” “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1Thesolonians 4:16).

 

The only biblical account of angels blowing a trumpet is found in scripture after the seventh seal is broken and God’s wrath is released.  Christians are not meant for God’s wrath; therefore, we will have been raptured before that takes place (see 1Thesolonians 5:9).  We find then, that in this case, the trumpets [of angels] are meant for the release of God’s wrath.  There are many examples of the Jews sounding trumpets [of men] for various reasons in the Bible.  As this is not germane to this discussion, I won’t take time to list them here.

 

After the fourth trumpet [of angels] is sounded John says, “And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound" (Revelation 8:13).  After the fourth angel sounds his trumpet, there is a warning about the remaining three trumpets [of angels].  That would include the fifth, sixth and the seventh “last” trumpet.  The warning is to the inhabitants of the earth.  But there is no warning for the Church, because Christians will have already been raptured before the first trumpet [of angels] is sounded.

 

THE RAPTURE

 

There is ample scriptural evidence that the rapture will occur after the sixth seal is broken and before the seventh seal is breached.  Revelation 6:12 says, “I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.”  In the books of Matthew and Mark (quoted below) Jesus describes the sun becoming dark and the moon as blood when He sends His angels to gather together His elect at the rapture:

 

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken… And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24:29 & 31).

 

But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.  Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory (Mark 13:24-26).

 

THE TRUMPET OF GOD

 

I would like to focus once more on the fact that God sounds a trumpet, i.e. the trumpet of God.  Jesus’ voice can sound as a trumpet.  Revelation 1:10-11a reads, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last…"  In Psalms 47:5 we find, “God has gone up with a shout, The LORD with the sound of a trumpet.”  In Zechariah 9:14 it says, “…The Lord GOD will blow the trumpet…”  Matthew 24:31 reads, “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet [of God], and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”  Because of the harmony of the scriptures listed above, I believe this verse communicates, when Jesus sounds the last trumpet [of God] it will alert the Church and signal the angels to gather together His elect; not that the angels blew the trumpet.

 

The first time God sounds a trumpet is found in Exodus 19.  The blast was so long and loud it frightened the people so much they said, “let not God speak with us, lest we die" (see Exodus 20:18-19).  Paul pointed this out in Hebrews 12:19 when he said, “…the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.”  When Jesus sounds the “last trumpet” [of God] at the rapture, Christians will rejoice at His appearance and (gathered by His angels) ascend to be with Him.  The great blast of Jesus’ trumpet will be heard by everyone on the earth.  It will be long and loud, so much so that the, surprised, un-expecting world left behind (see 1Thessolonians 5:2), will tremble with fear.  Notice, this is not the description of a “secret” rapture!

 

Revelation 6:15-17 gives us the description of the reaction of mankind to the appearance of Jesus in the sky, when He sounds a long loud blast from His trumpet:

 

And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!  For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?

 

The first time God’s trumpet sounded was to inaugurate the law.  When Jesus sounds the “last trumpet” [of God], after the sixth seal is broken, it will be to culminate the work of His grace in the manifestation of the sons of God.  “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19).  When the last trumpet [of God] sounds, it will be the fulfillment of our blessed hope – the rapture we have all been waiting for.

 

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet [of God], and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other

(Matthew 24:29-31).

 

The great tribulation of the saints is Satan’s rage, not God’s wrath.  It will be cut short by the rapture – before the seventh seal (on the scroll) is broken.  However, the full seven year tribulation period will continue (see Daniel 9:25-27).  After the seventh seal is broken, God’s wrath begins with the sound of the first trumpet [of angels] and ends with the seven bowls of the Creator’s wrath.

 

Daniel’s fiftieth week culminates with the fury of God on those who refuse to repent of their sins (see Revelation 9:20-21, 16:9 & 11, 20:1-4).  Those who have not taken the mark of the beast and do ask forgiveness for their sins will be allowed to continue to live on the earth.  Those of us who were raptured, and received our glorified bodies, will reign with Christ over the mortals, with a rod of iron, for the next thousand years (see Revelation 19:15 & 20:6).

 

And that’s my opinion.

Larry Parker

August 1, 2012

EVEN SO COME QUICKLY LORD JESUS!

 

READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY




WISDOM’S PLATFORM 


With the completion of the GOP convention, and the upcoming DNC meeting, I am reminded of the document that presents the aims and principles of politicians.  This political document is called a “platform.”  The platform is made up of “planks,” which represents the party’s various principles. 


In reading through Proverbs this month I was intrigued by chapter 9, verse 1, “Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars.”  That scripture caused me to wonder about wisdom’s seven pillars and what they were.  I discovered, the English word “pillars” is translated from the Hebrew word “am-mood,’” and that am-mood’ may also be translated into the English word, platform.  As a result, I concluded that Proverbs 9:1 is telling us, wisdom stands on a “platform” represented by seven fundamental principles, called “pillars.”


I began a search to find out what the seven principles of wisdom were.  What I found was very interesting; however, I am not dogmatic about my list.  I have concluded, thus far, that the seven pillars (principles) of wisdom are:

  1. The fear of the Lord

  2. Knowledge of the Holy One (The Father)

  3. The law

  4. Grace (The Son)

  5. Confession of faith 

  6. The Holy Spirit

  7. Being teachable


The first pillar is - The fear of the Lord:

From Proverbs 9:10a, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…”  To fear the Lord does not mean we are to be afraid of Him, rather it means to, greatly reverence Him.  However, we must fear, disobeying Him because we cannot violate God’s word and escape the consequences’.  We must not think we can do what we want and afterward take advantage of the scripture, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1John 1:9).

Doing what we want, while banking on forgiveness, is a presumptuous sin that will be forgiven when we repent, but it will also bring consequences of our wrong doing that we will not want to suffer.  We find in Proverbs 16:6b that, “…by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil.”  “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).    

The second pillar is – Knowledge of the Holy One (The Father) and Understanding:


From 1John 4:7-8, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” and Proverbs 9:10b, “…the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”  Proverbs 2:2-6 says:


…incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God.  For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.


We can increase in the knowledge of the Holy One through loving one another, prayer, and by studying the Bible; pleasing God and being fruitful in good works and His service (see Colossians 1:10).   


The third pillar is – The law:

From Romans 5:20, “…the law entered that the offense [sin] might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,” and Romans 7:7, “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET."  It is the law that reveals to us, we are sinners in need of a Savior.


The fourth pillar is – Grace (The Son/Jesus):

From Romans 5:20, “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,” and “Romans 3:24, “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”  In 1Corinthians 1:30 we read, “…Christ Jesus, …became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—.“  We can only be reconciled to Father God through faith in Jesus.  Jesus said, “I am the [only] door [to the Father and heaven]. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved…(John 10:9).  It is Jesus’ grace, through His death and resurrection, which provides salvation.  


The fifth pillar is – Confession of faith:


From Romans 10:9, “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  In Proverbs 16:6a we find that, “In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity…”  Romans 3:28 assures us we are, “justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.”   Ephesians 2:8-9 emphasizes the point when it says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works….”  


The sixth pillar is – The Holy Spirit:

From John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”  We should be baptized in the Holy Spirit and be taught by Him.  Then we will have power to be witnesses of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).  With the Holy Spirit, we have power to do mighty signs and wonders and fulfill the great commission (see Romans 15:19 & Mark 16:15).     


The seventh pillar is – Being teachable:

From, Proverbs 23:12 “Apply your heart to instruction, And your ears to words of knowledge” and Proverbs 10:8, “The wise in heart will receive commands.”  Proverbs 19:20 instructs us to, “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, That you may be wise in your latter days.”  Daniel 12:10 says, “…the wise shall understand.”  In Psalms 32:8 we are told, “I [God] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.”  One of the things these scriptures reveal is that we must always be teachable.  When someone points out (or we find) a scripture that contradicts what we have previously believed, we need to reconsider our belief; be willing to change our minds and accept what the Bible says.


We Need To Be Flexible, While Being Biblically Correct

We don’t want to become like the Israelites who stiffened their necks and did not consider the words of the prophets.  “Yet the LORD testified against Israel and against Judah, by all of His prophets… Nevertheless they would not hear, but stiffened their necks, like the necks of their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God” (2Kings 17:13-14).  If we are not willing to listen to other opinions; examine and consider other scriptures, we are stiffening our necks, as Israel did, and show by that that we are not teachable.


We receive wisdom by asking God, and reading His Word in obedience.  “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good” Proverbs 19:8).  James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”


Therefore, when we ask for wisdom, we are asking; to know the fear of the Lord; knowledge of the Father; knowledge of the law; Jesus and His grace; a confession of faith; the Holy Spirit; a desire to be teachable.  We are asking for the seven principles of wisdom.  Through this study I have found that the seven pillars of wisdom, which forms the platform of wisdom, leads us to saving faith, through the revelation of Jesus Christ.  


And that’s my opinion.  

                                                                                                                           Larry Parker

                                           9/1/2012


READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY




ISAIAH’S PROPHETIC WORD FOR AMERICA

No matter what the rewriters of history try to do to change it, the fact remains that this nation (the United States of America) was founded on Christian principles.  The same God, who selected a chosen people (Jews) by freeing them and bringing them out of Egypt, also called a people (Americans) out of Great Britain to establish a new form of government under a constitution that recognizes Him as their Creator and giver of rights. 

Messianic Rabbi, Jonathan Cahn wrote a book called, The Harbinger.  A harbinger is a pronouncement of judgment.   It is degreed on a nation who has turned its back on God.  Rabbi Cahn points out that the harbinger, pronounced against Israel in Chapter Nine of Isaiah, was fulfilled 2,000 years ago.  However, he claims that because the United States has also turned her back on God the same harbinger applies to this nation today.

Could there be another harbinger meant for the United States in Isaiah, Chapter Five?  The prophet Isaiah says; speaking of Israel as a vineyard (and the United States):

Now let me sing to my Well-beloved A song of my Beloved regarding His [God’s] vineyard: My Well-beloved has a vineyard On a very fruitful hill.  He dug it up and cleared out its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, And also made a winepress in it; So He expected it to bring forth good grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes (Isaiah 5:1-2).

This prophecy is a description of the Jews (and Americans) being established as a God worshiping and God serving nation.  God meant for them to continue serving Him; bearing good grapes.  However they turned their backs on Him and worshiped “Baal” instead; bearing wild grapes.  Isaiah continues his prophesy by listing God’s warning to Israel (and the United States):

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!  Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink, Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away justice from the righteous man! (Isaiah 5:20-23)


The following prophesy reveals God’s pronouncements:

Therefore, as the fire devours the stubble, And the flame consumes the chaff, So their root [Jews and Americans] will be as rottenness, And their blossom will ascend like dust; Because they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts, And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.  Therefore the anger of the LORD is aroused against His people; He has stretched out His hand against them And stricken them, And the hills trembled. Their carcasses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this His anger is not turned away, But His hand is stretched out still (Isaiah 5:24-25).

DUEL PROPHETIC EVENTS

I do not claim to be a prophet.  Nevertheless, some prophetic events in the Bible have duel fulfillments.  That is why I believe the prophetic scriptures from Isaiah Chapter five, meant for Israel are also meant for the United States.  It is because we have turned our backs on God; removing mention of Him from public venues; killing babies before they have a chance to be born; promoting the perversion of marriage and human sexuality, and turning back from full support of God’s chosen people (the Jews) just to name a few of our sins.  We have brought forth “wild grapes,” which is resulting in God’s removal of His hedge of protection from our nation.  God’s response to the Jews’ rejection of Him 2,000 years ago and Americans’ rejection of Him today is in Isaiah’s prophecy:

And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem [Washington D.C.] and men of Judah [the United States], Judge, please, between Me and My vineyard.  What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, Did it bring forth wild grapes?  And now, please let Me tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it shall be burned; And break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.  I will lay it waste; It shall not be pruned or dug, But there shall come up briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds That they rain no rain on it.                                                                      (Isaiah 5:3-6)

The Chapter five prophesy of Isaiah was literally fulfilled for the Jews in the year 70 AD.  If we don’t change our ways, it may be fulfilled for the United States in the near future.

THERE IS HOPE

If we, the Church and nation, will repent, humble ourselves and pray (see 2Chronicles 7:14) we can delay God’s punishment.  Just as Nineveh responded to Jonah’s warning by fasting and repenting, which resulted in the staying of God’s hand, we too must respond in like fashion.  We have also sinned in not letting our “salt” and “light” influence our choice of Godly men and women for governmental positions.  Speaking about us (the Church) Jesus said:

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.  You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men… (Matthew 5:13-16).  

Politically speaking, our “salt” loses its flavor and our “light” is hidden under a bushel when we don’t vote in an election.  However, when we do, too many times we have voted for people because of their charismatic personalities rather than considering what they actually do; thus canceling our “salt” and “light.”  We must come against evil.  Our priority must be to vote against men and women who promote evil, no matter how much they smile and say differently.  Do we not know that people lie in order to get into office?  We must always question a politician’s words, and seriously take into account his or her actions.  In order to be effective “light” and “salt” in the election process, we must pray for our leaders and vote wisely. 

Billy Graham, a man I call, “one of God’s generals” recently wrote a letter to America.  In it he stated it better than I could when he said:

Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone-except God. Yet the farther we get from God, the more the world spirals out of control…  My heart aches for America and its deceived people.  The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance.  In Jonah's day, Nineveh was the lone world superpower-wealthy, unconcerned, and self-centered. When the Prophet Jonah finally traveled to Nineveh and proclaimed God's warning, people heard and repented. I believe the same thing can happen once again.

I agree whole heartedly with this great man of God.

And that’s my opinion.

                                                                                    Larry Parker

October 1, 2012


READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY




GOD LOVES US SOOO… MUCH

Tim Tebow is a quarterback who used to paint the scriptural reference, John 3:16, under his eyes when he played college football.  When he became an NFL player, league rules would not allow him to do that any longer.  However, God had other ideas.  During the 2011 playoff game between the Denver Bronco’s (Tim’s team at the time) and the Pittsburg Steelers, Tebow completed a total of 316 yards in passes.  I have been told he averaged 3.16 yards per pass and the TV viewers rating was 31.6.  The numbers, 316, did not go unnoticed.  On the Monday after the playoff game, which Denver won, Google recorded millions of searches for “John 3:16.”  Obviously, the search was not done by Christians, who know that verse.  Tebow’s testimony (albeit assisted by God) communicated to millions of unbelievers that God loves them so much He gave His only Son to die for their sins.  It is all about God’s great love for us.

God loves us so much He created us in His own image.  Those of us who are fathers or mothers know of the great burst of love we felt, the first time we saw our first born child.  That doesn’t even begin to approach the level of the love God feels for us right now.  When we (as man or woman in Adam) first sinned (“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” [Romans 3:23]) it broke His heart because, it meant our separation from Him, and death.  His Word says, “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a).  But because God loves us so much, He gave His only Son to die for us in order to remove that sin, which divided us from Him.  It is the greatest gift He could give His sinful children.  As Paul says in Romans 6:23b, “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


The Great Sacrifice of God, the Son

Jesus loves us so much He took our sins upon Himself and died for us.  He said, “As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”  "Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again” (John 10:15 & 17).  It was in the garden of Gethsemane where the unspeakable happened.  That is where the sinless Jesus, first became sin for us.  The Bible records it this way.  “Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He [Jesus] said to His disciples, "Sit here while I pray" (Mark 14:32).  “And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:41-42).  The “cup” Jesus was talking about was our sin and its punishment.  When Jesus said, “…nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done" I surmise that that is when He began drinking the bitter cup of our sins.

“Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.  And being in agony [from the load of our sin and its consequences], He prayed more earnestly.  Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:43-44).  Nevertheless, Jesus continued to drink the cup of our sin and punishment.  After He was arrested and beaten unmercifully, Jesus took our sins, which were placed on Him in the garden of Gethsemane, to the cross and died in our place.  The apostle Peter relates, “…who [Jesus] Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed” (1Peter 2:24).  In doing so He became our propitiation, which means He made the atonement i.e. paid the price for our sins.  When we accept His sacrifice for us as our Savior, He makes us “favorably inclined” i.e. righteous, before the Father.  We are reconciled with our Creator.  We are “saved.”  The apostle John says, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1John 2:2).


The Great Sacrifice of God, the Father

God is sovereign and nothing happens in creation that He either does Himself or allows to be done.  Therefore, nothing is done on the earth without His permission.  Many times God uses people, even bad ones, to do His bidding.  God used Caiaphas the high priest, to advise the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people (see John 18:14).  He used the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar to punish the Jews for worshiping idols (see Ezra 5:12).

Caiaphas and Nebuchadnezzar were the instruments in God’s hands; but it was God’s work and will.  Abraham took Isaac to Mount Moriah (the exact place where Jesus would die on the cross many years later) and made him carry the wood, on which he planned to sacrifice his son.  It was Abraham who tied Isaac’s hands.  It was Abraham, who laid him, on the alter, upon the wood.  Had the Angel of the Lord not stopped him, Abraham would have slashed Isaac’s throat in obedience to God’s command.

The scenario of Abraham offering up Isaac as a sacrifice, is an example of God the Father offering up Jesus, His Son, for our sins.  Although it was a Roman soldier who spit on Jesus; because it was God’s will, it was the same as an act of the Father – pouring out punishment for our sins.  Therefore, you could say; it was the Father who struck Him on the face and plucked out His beard; it was the Father who wheeled the whip that slashed open His Son’s body and shed His precious blood; it was the Father who nailed His Son to the cross; it was the Father who drove the spear into His side – all for OUR sin.  And yet, He wasn’t doing it to Jesus, He was doing it to sin – for Jesus had become sin for us and sin’s wages had to be paid.  Because our sin was on Jesus, God the Father had to separate Himself from Him.  Jesus felt that separation!  It caused Him to cry out, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" (Mark 15:34).  Oh how it must have cut the Father to His very heart to punish and forsake His only begotten Son.  He did it because He loves us so much!

Jesus’ death paid the price for our sins because there was no way we could be good enough to earn restoration with the heavenly Father.  No amount of good works will get us into heaven; it is only our acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.  We must, “Repent therefore and be converted, that …[our] sins may be blotted out…” (Acts 3:19).  And “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and … be saved…” (Acts 16:31).  That is the only way Jesus will give us access to Father God and that wonderful place of peace and happiness called heaven.  Therefore, “how shall we escape [hell] if we neglect so great a salvation…?” (Hebrews 2:3).  That’s why the apostle Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Our Sacrifice

Jesus gave His all for us; therefore, we must give our all for Him.  We have been bought with the great sacrificial price of the Father and Son, and no longer belong to ourselves.  Therefore, when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior we are giving ourselves back to Him.  Chapter six of Romans, points out that before we were saved we were slaves of sin, but now we are slaves of righteousness.  Therefore, we cannot expect to continue living as we were before we were saved.  To “repent” and “convert” as it says in Acts 3:19 means to start doing the will of God.  We must feed our spirits with the Bible and become “doers” of the Word.  If we don’t, we are deceiving ourselves, thinking we have committed our lives to Jesus when, in fact, we have not.  James says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).  Jesus, “…died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2Corinthians 5:15).  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

America, the Prodigal

Recently, I have been hearing many preachers expound on the prodigal son, emphasizing the love of our heavenly Father.  It made me realize the Holy Spirit was revealing to us that America has become a prodigal.  We have rejected God from public expression and turned our backs on Him to live a shameful life of sin.  Nevertheless, God wants us to come back to Him.  He is waiting for America to “wake up” and ask for His forgiveness.  He also wants us to fulfill our responsibility to place godly men and women into public office so that the nation will continue to serve Him.  The Church (believers in Jesus Christ) has a great responsibility to get out and vote their biblical values as never before (Billy Graham recently reminded us of that).  We need to vote for men and women who will lead us back to the biblical values our forefathers envisioned for America.  If we will do that, our heavenly Father will welcome us back with open arms. 

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  It was all because He loves the world, including us and our nation, sooooooo much.

And that’s my opinion.

                                                                                    Larry Parker

November 1, 2012


READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY




THE INCARNATION OF GOD
During the month in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus, I would like to reveal two little known facts about the nativity 1) Jesus’ painless birth and 2) how His sinless incarnation was possible from a mother who carried the original sin of Adam.
Jesus’ Birth Was Without Labor Pain
As a result of the original sin of Adam and Eve, women suffer labor pain while giving birth.  We learn that in Genesis 3:16, “To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children….”   Children inherit the original sin of Adam, which gives us a sinful nature in our bodies.  Jesus was sinless and therefore caused no pain for Mary at His birth.  This truth is revealed in Isaiah 66:7, “Before she [Mary] was in labor, she gave birth; Before her pain came, She delivered a male child.”  However, Mary did have labor pain when she delivered her and Joseph’s biological children. 
There is no question that the virgin, Mary, was the mother of Jesus.  However, the assumption has been made that He was her biological son; but Mary too (like all of mankind born from Adam) carried the stain of “original sin.”  Therefore, all of Mary’s biological children were born in sin (see Psalm 51:5). 
First and Last Adam
It was Father God’s intention that men remain sinless.  However, we all know Adam did not obey God’s command and became guilty of sin, which separated him, and consequently us, from his Creator.  Therefore, because God loves us so much He provided a second, and “last Adam” who would remain sinless and pay the price (the wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23]) that would reconcile men with God.
Paul called Jesus the last Adam in 1 Corinthians 15:45, “... The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”  In order to find out why Jesus was called the last Adam, we must know some facts about the first Adam.  Adam means, “First man.”  The first Adam was created, by God without the benefit of a biological mother or father.  He was also created sinless.  To be called the “last Adam” Jesus would also have to be without a biological mother or father and be completely sinless.  Just as Adam was created a wholly, sinless, man; Jesus was a wholly sinless man, while also being wholly God.  You may ask, “How, then, can Jesus be Mary’s baby?”  
God Incarnate
God became man through the incarnation (embodiment) of Jesus Christ.  “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”[1]  “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.”[2]   Consequently, God became man through the incarnation (embodiment) of Jesus Christ, and was born of the woman Mary. 
The Hebrew word that Isaiah used for conceive was, haw-raw which also can be translated as “become pregnant.”   We know that conception takes place in the fallopian tube; therefore, it is interesting to note that the angel told Mary she would conceive “in your womb.”  He also said, “…The Holy Spirit will come upon you, [Mary] and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” [3] 
When the angel told Mary she would conceive, he used the Greek word sullambano, (sool-lam-ban’-o) which primarily means to figuratively clasp, i.e. seize.  It is also important to note that he said she would conceive [seize or clasp] in her womb.  Compare this verse with Hebrews 11:11: “By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed….”  Here, the Greek word used for conceive is katabole (kat-ab-ol-ay) a word which clearly means a normal (although miraculous, because of her age) conception.  The natural process is that conception takes place in a woman’s fallopian tube.  Therefore, I found it strange that the angel told Mary she would conceive in her womb.  Luke, also points out in chapter 2 verse 21, that: “He [Jesus] was conceived in the womb.”   The evidence supports the fact that Jesus, in embryo form, was “placed” in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit.
Mary Was the Surrogate Mother of Christ
A surrogate mother is a person who acts in the place of another person’s biological mother.  In other words, a surrogate mother carries another woman’s child in her womb and gives birth to a baby that is not her own son or daughter.  It was not until the twentieth century that scientists discovered how a woman could carry to term, and give birth to a child that was not biological hers.  That process is called a gestational surrogacy.  The surrogate becomes pregnant via embryo transfer with a child of which she is not the biological mother.
Therefore, I believe the Holy Spirit created the embryo (with no biological mother or father) that was to become the body of Christ, and placed it into Mary’s womb where her body clasped, i.e. seized it, so that it would became attached to her womb for nourishment and growth.  Mary was to be the gestational surrogate mother of Christ.  I believe biblical evidence shows that that is exactly what happened to Mary two thousand years ago.  It has become clear to me that Mary was not Jesus’ biological mother; but rather His surrogate mother.
And that’s my opinion. 
                                                          Larry Parker
December, 2012


READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY

PS – I write about this subject extensively in my new book, Thinking Out of the Box, In the Bible.  If you have questions about Jesus’ genealogy, how He is the son of David and how Jesus can be Mary’s seed, I will be glad to send you a copy of the manuscript of the chapter that answers these questions; just email me and ask.




[1] Isaiah 7:14

[2] Luke 1:31, emphasis added

[3] Luke 1:35



                  THE TRINITY                              

                                      GOD’S IMAGE

Genesis 1:27 points out, “So God created man [the species, mankind] in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”[1]  We see by this scripture that man, (male and female), was made in the image of God.  When a man and woman are joined together in marriage they become one flesh.[2]  When a child is born to them they all become one family – in the image of God.  The family unit is, father, mother, child.  We (a male and female family unit) are made in the image of God.  In the previous verse (26) God said, “…Let Us make man… according to Our likeness…”   If we are made in God’s image, according to His likeness, then it is only logical to conclude that God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is Male and Female.  Therefore, could you not look at the Godhead as composed of Father, Mother and Son?

One of the names of God is Shadday, more commonly known as, El-Shaddai, the Almighty.  El Shaddai is composed of the Hebrew relative pronoun she.  The title Shaddai is connected with the word breast and signifies one who nourishes, supplies, satisfies.  Geneses 49:25 says, “…the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that lies beneath, Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.” 

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word, which is translated into the English word, ‘God’ is elohiym (pronounced, el-o-heem).  Elohiym is a plural word, because God is the triune being we call, the Trinity.  Matthew 28:19 says, “…Father,…Son,…Holy Spirit,” That is why God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…”[3]

THE TRINITY

In John 17:22 Jesus said, “…We [Father and Jesus] are one.”  Although He does not mention the Holy Spirit in this verse, the Holy Spirit is included in their “oneness.”  We find that in 1 John 5:7, “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word [Jesus], and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.”

Therefore, God, as a triune being, is represented as, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The Son is a prophet[4] who speaks and is, God’s Word.[5]  The Greek words for Holy Spirit are hagios and pneuma, meaning Holy Breath [of God].  Jesus said, “…He (gender inferred by translators)  [Holy Spirit] will teach you all things…”[6]  Therefore, I have concluded that the Holy Spirit is the breath of God breathing life (Jesus) into the heart of a believer, and teaching, him or her, the ways of the Lord.

All three personalities of the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) are One.  Therefore, each personality is masculine and feminine.   However, each personality also has a central characteristic.  Obviously, the Father and the Son are characteristically masculine.  Hence, I suggest the Holy Spirit may be the feminine characteristic expression of the Godhead.  In other words, I would like to suggest that if the primary masculine personality of God is manifested in the Father and the Son, then the Mother feminine personality of God is manifested in the Holy Spirit.  In a manner of speaking, the Holy Spirit is the Mother of Jesus.  It was the Holy Spirit who came upon Mary and overshadowed her,[7] placing the fetus of what became the body of Jesus, into her womb, making Mary – the surrogate mother of our Savior.


A TYPE OF THE TRINITY

God uses Moses, Aaron and Miriam as a “type” of the Trinity.   In Exodus 7:1 the Lord said, “…See, I have made you [Moses] as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.”  In this verse God was making Moses and Aaron a “type” of two members of the trinity; Moses as a type of Father God, and Aaron as a type of Jesus, who speaks the words of Moses; but what about the Holy Spirit?  I believe the Lord completes the trinity “type” in Micah 6:4 when He says, “… I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.”   In Exodus 15:21 we find Miriam as a prophetess, teaching the Jews the mighty works of God; a “type” of Holy Spirit.  Moses and Aaron represent the male personalities of the Father and Son, and Miriam, represents the female personality of the Holy Spirit.   Therefore, a “type” of the trinity is represented by two males and one female.  “…God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”[8]

And that’s my opinion.

Larry Parker

January 1, 2013

READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY


 




[1] Emphasis added

[2] See Genesis 2:24

[3] Genesis 1:26, emphasis added

[4] See Matthew 13:57 and Luke 24:19

[5] See John 1:1

[6] John 14:26

[7] See Luke 1:35

[8] (Genesis 1:27)


THE PRIDE OF LIFE

The second temptation of Christ found in Matthew 4:5-6 gives us a basis for a definition of presumption, which is the pride of life, i.e., a confidence in one’s self:

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down.  For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge concerning you.’ and ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” 

I have gleaned from this scripture the following definition:

The pride of life is a confidence in one’s self that you can prove to others; you are a child of God who can claim your right, by scripture, to do what you want and influence God to do your bidding.

In verse seven, Jesus calls that, “tempting God.”  It is a faith in one’s self rather than a faith in God.  It is the process of (on your own initiative) taking the general word of God and making it specific for you.  The idea that we can find a scripture, which says we can have what we want and quote it back to God, because He must do what we ask, is presumptuous.

The Bible is God’s general word (logos) to all of us.  It is the Holy Spirit, who makes the logos word a specific word (rhema) to us.  When the Holy Spirit makes God’s logos a rhema to us, we can quote that “rhema” back to God and He will perform it because He said He would.  It is the Holy Spirit who makes a general word from the Bible specifically (rhema) for us.  That is the only time we may quote it back to God and expect Him to accomplish what He said He would do.

Whenever leaders teach on the subject of faith, it is important that they explain how it differs from presumption, the pride of life.  When we act presumptuously we are, in fact, testing God.

Tempting (testing) God was the sin I was guilty of.  Sometime before the fateful events that took my son’s life, I can remember thinking: “God would have to heal Wesley if only I had the courage to stop his medicine.”  When Wesley was prayed for, the evangelist said he was healed.  Wesley told me he believed what the minister said; that he was healed.  Satan used my son’s response to whisper in my ear:

Don’t take his faith from him.  If you are a child of God and believe that He loves you, you have a right for your son to be healed.  Show your faith by stopping his insulin.  For it is written: “...by whose [Jesus’] stripes you were healed.”[1]

I didn't know I was listening to Satan or that the word ‘were’ was not in the Greek text.  I thought the time had come to strengthen myself with courage and to speak – what I though was a ‘word of faith.’  I wanted to believe my son was healed so badly, I didn’t wait for God to give me a faith that knows without doubt.  Unwittingly, on my own initiative I claimed, “Wesley is healed.”  The price of that presumption was my son’s death.  Me, my family and many of our relatives and friends, all had to suffer the consequences of my presumptuous act. 

People who encourage others to claim healing, wealth or possessions, without waiting for God to give them real faith are unknowingly persuading followers to commit the sin of presumption.  Sadly, they don’t even realize how close they are coming to the teachings of those who believe we can commit sin, repent, and not worry about it.  Such people say that all we have to do is ask God to forgive us.  They don’t mention that even though we may be forgiven, we will still have to suffer the consequences of our actions. 

I was wrong in thinking I was acting in faith; wrong in thinking that taking medicine was faithlessness; wrong in not waiting for God’s timing and His gift of a, knowing without doubt, faith, i.e., a specific word (rhema) from Him.  As one who lives on the Mojave Desert, Psalm 106:13b-14 describes my sin perfectly.  Let me paraphrase it as it applies to me.  “I did not wait for God’s counsel, but passionately yearned exceedingly in the wilderness (for healing), and tested God in the desert.”

Some teachers today still tell believers, “If you have enough faith, you will not need medicine.”  They themselves don’t understand what faith is, especially when they say, “If you don’t get healed, it is your fault because you don’t have the faith.”  They embolden believers to presumptuously tempt the Lord God; to, on their own, make God’s logos (word) a rhema (word).  They encourage us to tempt Him by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”[2]

False teachers also teach us to lust excessively for prosperity rather than wait for the counsel of the Lord.  No matter where they live, Psalm 106:13b-14 fits them as well: “...They did not wait for His counsel, But lusted exceedingly... And tested God....”  Sadly, they continue to teach and commit presumption.

Thank God, He forgives the sin of presumption through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Many years ago I asked, and received forgiveness for my sin.  Since then, I enjoy a renewed fellowship with Christ as my Savior and healer.  Nevertheless, come this August, I will have suffered the absence of my first born son every day for the past four decades.  I will continue to do so until the day I die.  I have learned the hard way; we must always wait on the Lord and not act presumptuously.  That sin, is the pride of life.

And that’s my opinion.
                                                                                    Larry Parker

February 1, 2013

READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY

 



[1] 1Peter 2:24

[2] Exodus 17:7



THE HOLY SPIRIT AND WISDOM

The apostle John tells us that; “All things were made through Him, [Jesus] and without Him nothing was made that was made.”[1]  Being One with Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit were with Him when all things were made.


While reading the Bible, I found it interesting to note that wisdom was with Jesus when He made everything.  We read that in Proverbs 8:27-30:


When He [Jesus] prepared the heavens, I [wisdom]was there, When He drew a circle on the face of the deep, When He established the clouds above, When He strengthened the fountains of the deep, When He assigned to the sea its limit, So that the waters would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth, Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him,

I was also intrigued by the personification of wisdom in Proverbs 9:1-3 as feminine in gender.  Jesus supports this feminine personification when He says, “…wisdom [Mother?] is justified by her children.”[2]  I wondered, “Who is this feminine person, wisdom, which was with Jesus?”  I know God is a triune being, i.e. – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; not Father, Son, Holy Spirit and Wisdom, so I dared to think, “Could she be the Holy Spirit?”


Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  This scripture is informing us the fact that the one God, (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is/are male and female.  I know it is difficult for our minds to get around this fact, nevertheless it is true.  


Isaiah prophesies that, “As one whom his mother comforts, So I will comfort you; And you shall be comforted..."[3]  Here, Isaiah associates the Lord (Holy Spirit?) like one who comforts as a mother.  Jesus (the second person of the Trinity) calls those of us who do the will of the Father, His brothers.  “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother…”[4]  It is interesting to note that in Proverbs 7:4 we are told to, “Say to wisdom, "You are my sister…”[5]  (Could we also say She is my Mother?).  If God, the Father is our heavenly Father and God, the Son is our heavenly Brother; wouldn’t it be logical to think that God, the Holy Spirit [wisdom] is our heavenly mother/sister?  I’m not sure which on that point. 


Jesus told the disciples (as translated by the King James Version),  “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he (gender inferred by translators) shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”[6]  A teacher is one who instructs.  Proverbs 4:13 declares, “Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life.”[7]  This scripture refers to the instructor (Holy Spirit?) in the feminine gender.

Speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said in John 16:8, “And when He [Holy Spirit] (gender inferred by translators) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”   We see, then, that the Holy Spirit draws us to Jesus through the conviction of sin.  When we repent and invite Him into our hearts to be Lord of our lives, Jesus reconciles us to the Father through His death and resurrection.

In Proverbs 8:35, salvation is revealed in the Trinity when the author says, “For whoever finds me [wisdom/Holy Spirit] finds life [Jesus], And obtains favor from the LORD [heavenly Father];” Continuing in verse 36 he says, “But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; All those who hate me love death."  I find this interesting in that it sounds much the same as what Jesus said in Matthew 12:32, “…whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” 


As a result of studying these scriptures I would like to suggest that personified wisdom is, in fact, the Holy Spirit (Comforter), the third person of the Trinity.  This idea is enforced when we read the words of Wisdom talking in Proverbs 1:23, “Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.”  Here, Wisdom is saying she is a spirit and instructor.  Is this not a description of the Holy Spirit?

And that’s my opinion.

Larry Parker

March 1, 2013


READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY

THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER / SOILS


Jesus said, in Mark 16:15 “…"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”  We call that, The Great Commission.  Therefore, it is important we seek the Holy Spirit to find out what work we are charged to do in obedience to Jesus’ command. 


In fulfilling His directive, some of us are called to sow, i.e. plant the gospel (That does not necessarily mean preaching).  It could simply be a testimony to those around you of how God has changed your life when you invited Him into your heart.  Others are meant to water or nurture the believer, i.e., teach God’s Word.  The apostle Paul was known for doing both.  We see in 1Corintians 3:6, on that occasion, Paul was the planter and Apollos was one who watered.   


The Parable of the Soils, (more frequently called The parable of the sower) was Jesus’ way of training the disciples how to propagate His Word.  Its explanation by Jesus is found in Matthew 13:4-23.  Jesus relates how a sower of seed sowed on four types of soil.  The point is made that there is a place we are not to sow (the wayside) as well as what kind of response we will get on three other types of soil (stony, thorny, and good).  We do not know the hearts of men, so we cannot be the judge as to what type of ground they may represent.  Thus, it is critical that we wait and listen to the Holy Spirit’s analysis of the soil we want to sow on.  This could take a few days or just seconds.      


The Wayside

Sowing seed on the wayside (see Matthew 13:4 & 19) is a waste of time.  People there, are not ready to receive the gospel.  They may hear it, but will not understand it.  Also, Satan is there to snatch it away.  Paul and Timothy were forbidden by the Holy Spirit from going to Asia because the Asians were not yet ready for the gospel.  If they had gone, the evangelists would have been sowing the seeds of the Word of God by the “wayside” (see Acts 16:6).  There is nothing we can do to prepare these people for the gospel.  Only God can move them to suitable ground.  When He does, then the Holy Spirit will guide us to plant the gospel.  Eventually, God did prepare the way, and the gospel was taken into Asia. 

Stony Places

Stony places are not good for sowing seed (see Matthew 13:5 & 21).  There is not much ground or depth of earth to support the one who may receive the word with joy.  When tribulation or persecution comes, as it surely will, (see 2Timonthy 3:12) the new believer will stumble and fall away.  Therefore, the stones must be removed first.  


Thorny Places

If we sow seeds among thorns (see Matthew 13:7 & 22), the thorns will spring up and choke out the new plants.  The person in this place hears the word but the cares of the world and the thorns (deceitfulness of riches) choke it from him or her and they are fruitless.  I can’t help but think that churches, which preach about claiming riches for the believer, are full of thorns.  As with the stony places, the thorns, i.e., the deceitfulness of riches, must be removed before the gospel can be preached effectively.


Good Ground

Good ground is where we should always plant the word of God (see Matthew 13:8 & 23).  The individual there has been prepared by the Holy Spirit to receive Jesus.  He or she will hear the Word and understand how Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was for their salvation.  They will grow in God’s grace and bare much fruit, producing from thirty to a hundredfold.  On a personal note, I became “good ground” when I was a teenager, having gone to church for ten years.  All it took, then, was a friend to ask me, “Would you like to ask Jesus into your heart.” 

Preparing the Ground 

Another lesson we can learn from this parable is the need for preparing the soil.  When the Holy Spirit identifies the type of ground we are on, i.e., the people we want to witness to, we will know how to respond.  If it is the wayside, we should avoid it.  We can do nothing about it; only God can change this type of ground.  We should not plant in ground that has not been prepared.  That is what Jesus meant when He said, “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine…” (Matthew 7:6).  It may even drive the unbeliever farther away from a decision to repent. 


If it is a stony place, we should begin by clearing out the stones and plowing the ground in preparation for planting seed.  The stones could represent obstacles in a person’s life that would hinder them from growing in the Lord; things such as sickness and poverty, which would inhibit their reception of the knowledge of Jesus’ love for them.  Plowing could be represented by praying for their illness and helping them out in some materialistic way.  Only when they are ready (have become “good ground”) to receive the news that they are sinners in need of a Savior do we plant the seed of God’s Word.


A thorny place is much harder to deal with.  It is very difficult to get rid of thorns there.  However, it is important that we clear out the thorns, before we can plant in that field.  That means being friendly with the person and somehow showing them how riches will not bring them happiness.  Allowing the joy of the Lord to be seen in our lives, in spite of difficulties we may have, can be a way of doing that.  Again, we must wait on the Holy Spirit to let us know if that person is ready to receive the good news of Jesus Christ as Savior.  We must always let the Holy Spirit guide us in sharing our faith; but share it we must. 

And that’s my opinion.
                                                                                    Larry Parker
April 1, 2013
READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY










We Must First Become As Little Children

In order to enter heaven we must repent and accept Jesus as our Savior and allow His Lordship over our lives.   Nevertheless, in Matthew 18:3, Jesus said: "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  And in Luke 18:17  He says, “ Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."  Therefore, according to Jesus, we must also, “become as little children.”  What did He mean by that?  What childlike characteristic does Jesus require us to emulate? 

 

The primary distinction that every child displays (up to an un-definable age) is that they believe, and accept as true, everything his or her parents tell them.  Just so, Jesus wants us to believe, and do, everything He says.  Jesus is the Word (the Bible) and expects us to believe what is written there, by our heavenly Father through the Holy Spirit; just as a child believes what their parents tell them.  Therefore, when we read the Bible we are to accept everything the Holy Spirit says as true.

 

The Holy Spirit (using godly men) did not write the Bible with a need for theologians to explain it to the average person.  While there are mysteries there that need close scrutiny, the Bible was written plainly so the average, Spirit born, reader could understand its plain text.  When the Bible uses metaphors or allegories, it is clear by the context.  Such is the case with Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a statue which represented kingdoms of this world (Daniel, 3).  The “beasts” in Daniel, chapter seven, as well as the “beast” in Revelation, thirteen are clearly not literal beasts, but metaphors for kingdoms and their leaders.  When Jesus used parables, it is understood by the hearer; such is the case of the parables about the vinedresser and the builders who rejected the cornerstone (see Luke 20:9-19).  Jesus went on to explain ambiguous parables to His disciples (see Matthew 13:3-23).

Plain Words Mean What They Say

As we study the Bible we are to believe what the plain words say.  When the Bible describes God’s creation in Genesis 1:1-27, it articulates that He created the heavens and the earth in six days (resting on the seventh).  The fact that He said each day was “the evening and the morning” lets us know He meant 12 hours for a day, and by insinuation,  12 hours for night; a twenty-four hour day.  We are not required to understand scientifically how He did it; just, like a child, we are to believe it. 

It would be incorrect to think each day of creation was an indefinite amount of time in an attempt to match the Bible with science.  Science has been wrong in the past.  In time, as men study it, our understanding of science changes.  The Bible never changes.  When we get science right, it will always agree with the Bible.  The day will come when science will be able to explain  how seven days of creation can look like it took place billions of years ago.  Therefore, we must never use science to change what the Bible teaches.

Church Doctrine

 

Church guidelines change as well.  That is why we have so many different denominations.  There are different opinions on when the rapture will occur, how one is saved, how one is baptized, how one receives the Holy Spirit, how one receives healing, or even if healing is for today – to name a few.  However, what we believe about any of these things must be based on what the plain text of the Bible says; a doctrine that never changes, rather than on what is taught by a denomination which may use assumptions and traditions of men to reach their conclusions.

 

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2Timothy 3:16).  When people claim a particular part of the Bible was not meant for you, remind them of the scripture just quoted.  Remember, in Genesis 3:1 the first temptation from the devil was his questioning of God’s Word to Eve, “Has God indeed said…?”  People of today have rephrased that question to ask, “Did God really mean to say that to you?” 

 

We Are In The “End Times”

 

The headlines of today reveal we are plunging headlong toward the end of the age.  As Christian overcomers we must be prepared.  The apostle Paul warns us not to be deceived.  The following is an important scripture about the rapture of the saints.  As a little child, we must believe just what it says:

 

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him [the rapture], we ask you…”  “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin [Antichrist] is revealed, the son of perdition,…” (2Thessalonians 2:1&3)

                         

These verses clearly say the rapture will not happen until after there is a falling away from Christianity and the Antichrist has been revealed.  I believe any teaching that claims the rapture will occur before the Antichrist is revealed is clearly contrary to this scripture, and therefore, in error.  In Matthew 24, Jesus agrees with Paul when He says we will see the abomination of desolation, because when we see the abomination of desolation committed by an individual, we will know that that individual is the Antichrist.

 

We must draw closer to God and learn how to trust in Him for everything; especially in these last days.   The increasing persecution of Christians will cause many who are not fully committed to Christ to “fall away.”  In Matthew 24:42 Jesus said we must “watch.”  Prior to that statement Jesus tells us when the rapture will occur and what we are to watch for.  We have already seen nations rising up against nations, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes.  We are also to watch for:

 

  • Many will come in Jesus’ name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many (Matt.24:5, Mark 13:6, Luke 21:8).

  • Christians will be delivered up to tribulation and killed, and hated by all nations for Jesus’ name's sake (Matt. 24:9, John 16:33).

  • False prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect (Matt. 24:11 & 24, Mark 13:22).

  • We will see the 'ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (Matt 24:15, Mark 13:14).

  • The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the entire world as a witness to all the nations (Matt. 24:14).

  • There will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be (Matt 24:21, Rev. 7:14).

  • The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken (Isaiah 13:10,24:23, Ezekiel 8:12, 32:7 & 8, Matt. 24:29, Mark 13:24). 

 

The rapture does not occur first and then, seven years later, the second coming.  They are not two separate events, but rather one.  It is only after we experience the Great Tribulation and see the sun darkened that the rapture, which is Christ’s second coming, will occur.  The rapture is the second coming, which will not be a hidden event but will be in view of the whole world.  Jesus makes that plain in Matthew 24:30-31:

 

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He [Jesus] will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather [rapture] together His elect [the Church] from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (emphasis added). 

   

The apostle Paul distinguishes Israel [the Jews] from the elect [the Saints] in Romans 11:7 when he says, “…Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.”  However, Jews who accept Jesus as Savior do become members of the elect, body of Christ, which is the Church.  These are the ones who will go up in the rapture.

 

As little children let us believe what Jesus is telling us about the rapture in Matthew 24.  Now that we know what to watch for, let us always be ready and watching. 

And that’s my opinion.

Larry Parker

May 1, 2013

READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY









[1] John 1:3

[2] Matthew 11:19, emphasis added

[3] Isaiah 66:13

[4] Matthew 12: 50, emphasis added

[5] Emphasis added

[6] John 14:26, KJV

[7] Emphasis added to “her” and “she”





The Tribulation Period

Daniel’s 70th Week has been traditionally called “The Tribulation Period,” or “The Seven Years Tribulation Period.”  This misnomer has caused many to be confused in interpreting events that will happen during this critical time in the lives of believers; especially the timing of the rapture.  That is because; tribulation and the wrath of God are two different things!  The great tribulation i.e., great persecution (see Mark 4:17), starts when the Antichrist, stands in the new Jewish temple, and declares he is god.  Satan’s persecution of the saints (see Rev. 13:7) is cut short by the rapture, after which the wrath of God is released on those left behind.

To learn about Daniel’s 70th Week we must, of course, start in the book of Daniel.  When the prophet was praying about Israel, the angel Gabriel told him:

Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy (Daniel 9:24).  (theologians agree that this time period is in terms of ‘weeks of years’ totaling 490 years.) 


After Jesus’ death on the cross, and the destruction of Jerusalem, 483 of the 490 years (69 weeks) were finished.  One week (Daniel’s 70th Week) is yet to be completed.  It has inappropriately been called, the Tribulation Period.  The final seven years clock of Daniel’s Week will begin when the Antichrist confirms a peace treaty with Israel.[1]


The Scroll of Wrath

As related in the book of Revelation, John saw a scroll, which was a parchment describing the wrath of God.  The scroll’s contents were secured with seven seals that only Jesus was worthy to release.[2]  Before the parchment can be opened and God’s wrath released, the seals must be broken.


Romans 5:9 & 1Thessalonians 5:9 assure us that the Church is not appointed to wrath.  Because of that, God’s elect will be raptured before the seventh seal is broken.  With the breaking of the seventh seal, the scroll will be opened releasing Jehovah’s fury allotted to those who defy Him during Daniel’s 70th Week.


Revelation 6:1-12 reveals the breaking of the seals.  When Jesus breaks the first seal, a white horse appears.  The man on the white horse is the Antichrist, imitating Jesus and going out “conquering and to conquer.”  He begins with a peace treaty with Israel.  When he breaks that treaty 3 years later the great tribulation starts. 


The breaking of the second seal brings out a red horse.  The rider of this horse was given a great sword to take peace from the earth and cause the people to kill one another.


The third seal brings a black horse, and he who sat on it had power to cause famine on the earth causing food to be exceptionally expensive.


The fourth seal brings a pale (green) horse whose rider had power over one fourth of the earth to kill with hunger, death, and beasts of the earth. 


The fifth seal reveals the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for their testimony.  They are temporally held under the altar of God in heaven. 


The Rapture

When Jesus breaks the sixth seal the saints are still on the earth suffering under the great tribulation.  They have been present during all of the events, which happened with the breaking of the previous five seals.  The suffering of the Church, in the great tribulation, will produce a bride without spot or wrinkle, ready to meet her Groom (Ephesians 5:27).  Because she is not meant to suffer God’s wrath, the Church will be gathered together with Him, in the air, (the rapture) before the seventh seal is broken.  Read it in Jesus’ own words:


And unless those days [great tribulation] were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened (Matthew 24:22).


Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other [the rapture] (Matthew 24:29-31, underline added).


The reason it is inappropriate to call Daniel’s Week the tribulation period is because only part of that time is called the (great) tribulation.  Jesus Himself says so in Matthew 24:21.  My study of scripture reveals Daniel’s 70th Week as divided into three sections, or elements:

  • The Antichrist’s peace treaty;[3]

  • The great tribulation;[4]

  • The wrath of God.[5]

The first 3 years is initiated by a peace treaty confirmed by the Antichrist who allows the Jews to build their third Temple on mount Moriah.  He uses this time to consolidate his power over a new world order.  This first section of Daniel’s Week ends with the abomination of desolation (desecration of the new Jewish Temple) committed by the Antichrist.  This is followed by the persecution of the Jews and Saints of God, which is orchestrated by the “man of sin.”[6]  Jesus calls this time, the great tribulation and cuts it short by the rapture of His Church.[7]  The third part of Daniel’s Week is the remainder of the second 3 year period, which incorporates the wrath of God.


Most people who call Daniel’s 70th Week, The Tribulation Period, believe the whole seven years incorporates God’s wrath.  They have set themselves up for error.  When they read Romans 5:9 & 1 Thessalonians 5:9 they conclude the Church must be caught up before then and therefore believe in a pre-tribulation rapture.  The problem with this teaching is that, not only is it wrong, it does not alert the believer to the times of great trouble just ahead.  They will not see the critical need to get close to Jesus and learn how to trust Him during the great tribulation.


Scriptures such as Isaiah 13:10, Matthew 24:29, Mark 13:24, Acts 2:2 and Revelation 6:22 give confirming prophesies about how the sun and the moon will be darkened just before Jesus appears above the earth; before the seventh seal is breached and the saints go to meet Him in the air.  The following scriptures prove the rapture will occur after the sixth seal is broken, and just before the seventh seal:


I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood (Revelation 6:12).


Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24:29-31).


It is time we stopped accepting traditional teaching on the rapture, or anything else, just because our denomination or someone else says it is true.  Rather, we must search the scriptures, for ourselves, and believe what the Holy Spirit says about these subjects.  We are to believe what religious leaders say, only when it is supported by God’s Word.  In these last tumultuous days, it could be very dangerous to our lives and even our souls if we don’t.

And that’s my opinion.

Larry Parker

June 1, 2013


READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY


 




[1] Daniel 9:27

[2] Revelation 5:5

[3] Daniel 9:27

[4] Matthew 24:21

[5] Revelation 6:16

[6] 2Thessolonians 2:3

[7] Matthew 24:22


 PEOPLE, WHO NEVER HEAR ABOUT JESUS

Do people who never hear about Jesus go to hell?  Let there be no doubt, there is no way to heaven except through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Jesus said…, “I am the door.  If anyone enters [heaven] by Me, he will be saved…” (John 10:9), and "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father [goes to heaven] except through Me (John 14:6, emphasis added).”  Jesus is the only way to heaven! 

Everyone must go through heaven’s ‘door’ (Jesus Christ) in order to get to paradise.  However, there is a verse in the Bible that gives us pause.  It says, “…it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).  While reading that verse it would seem if a person died and faced the judgment without knowing Jesus, he or she would have to go to hell.  But would God be righteous and just if He allowed anyone to go to hell because they never heard about, and had a chance to accept, Jesus?” 

 

What Must We Do To Be Saved? 

Simply put, salvation requires two things: 

  • A person’s acceptance of the knowledge of God and

  • A person’s acceptance of the sacrificial death of His Son Jesus (for our sins).

     

    The Bible says that by simply observing the world and universe around him, man knows there is a God and is therefore, without excuse.  “For since the creation of the world His [God’s] invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

     

    Jesus is God, so when we reject the Creator God, whom we know exists, we are also rejecting Jesus.  When we acknowledge and accept God we must also acknowledge and accept His Son Jesus—in order to be able to go through the ‘door’ to enter heaven.  How can we do that if we never hear about Him?  This brings us to the subject of this article.  What happens if we die having never heard about Jesus?  To clear up this conundrum we must be alerted to a hypothesis we have been making. 

     

    The Dead Are Reserved for Judgment

     

    We have been assuming that the Hebrews 9:27 verse means judgment is immediately after death.  Because of that, we conclude anyone who dies without learning about Jesus (and therefore, not accepting Him) must go to hell.  There are no scriptures to confirm that assumption; but the Bible does talk about the dead—both the unjust and the saints, being reserved for judgment. 

…the Lord knows how to… reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,—2Peter 2:9, emphasis and underline added. 

…the time of the dead, [has come] that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great…Revelation 11:18, brackets and underline added.

 

The writer of Hebrews 9:27 tell us that man has two appointments; one with death and one with judgment.  He does not say judgment is immediately after death.  As we have learned from the verses mentioned above, the dead are judged after they have been resurrected.  The dead, subsequently, are reserved for a day of judgment.  The unjust are reserved under punishment, and the just are reserved in paradise.  Today, people of the world die in one of four conditions.  

    1. They heard the gospel and accepted Jesus.

    2. They heard the gospel and rejected Jesus.

    3. They did not hear the gospel, but would accept Jesus, if they did.

    4. They did not hear the gospel, but would reject Jesus, if they did.

       

      What Happens When You Die? 

The ones who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord go to be with Jesus.  Jesus told the thief, on the cross, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).  Speaking to Christians, the apostle Paul assures us, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body (being dead) and to be present with the Lord” (2Cornithians 5:8).  However, those who reject Jesus are sent to hades (place of departed souls) waiting to be judged (Luke 16:23). 

Now we get to the ones who have never heard the gospel.  In Luke 16:15 Jesus says, “God knows your hearts.”  Therefore, because God knows the heart of a person who has died, and that he or she will reject Jesus; that person is sent to hades to await judgment.  He also knows the person who would accept Jesus if they were offered the chance.  So how does that person accept Jesus after they have died if they have never heard of Him?  The answer, confirmed by the Bible, is explained in Dr. Mary’s after death story.

 

Dr. Mary’s Story 

In 1999 Dr. Mary C. Neal drowned in a kayak accident.  She went to heaven where she was told her work on earth was not done and she must return.  She writes of her experience in the book To Heaven and Back.  In it Dr. Neal writes: 

We [spiritual beings and I] were traveling down a path that led to a great and brilliant hall, larger and more beautiful than anything I can conceive of seeing on earth.  …I felt my soul being pulled toward the entry and, as I approached, I physically absorbed its radiance and felt the pure, complete, and utterly unconditional absolute love that emanated from the hall.  It was the most beautiful and alluring thing I had ever seen or experienced.  I knew with a profound certainty that it represented the last branch point of life, the gate through which each human being must pass.  It was clear that this hall is the place where each of us is given the opportunity to review our lives and our choices, and where we are each given a final opportunity to choose God or to turn away...To Heaven And Back by Mary C. Neal, MD, Water Brook Press, 2011, 2012 – Page 73, emphasis and underline mine. 

Notice that in Dr. Neal’s after-death experience, she was headed toward a room where everyone is given an opportunity to accept Jesus, i.e. go through the “gate/door.”  The brilliant hall seems to be a place where the gospel is preached to those who have never heard about Jesus.  While that sounds good, we must not give credence to her story unless it can be backed up with scripture. 

Support for her experience is found in 1 Peter 4:5-6. 

They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.  For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit—emphasis and underline added.     

The original Greek could also read, “gospel is preached.”  It would seem the translators recognized this fact when they continued the verse with the phrase “those who are dead.  Many Christians are taught and believe these verses apply only to those who died before Christ’s redemptive work on the cross.  I hope you will recognize this religious doctrine is an assumption.  I would like to point out that Peter penned these words after Jesus had ascended to the right hand of the Father, after His death and resurrection.  To me, Peter is telling us that the people, who die before they hear the gospel, will hear it and be judged the same as people “in the flesh” who die after hearing the good news of Jesus Christ. 

We must not base our doctrine on RC (religiously correct), tradition, or even on one scripture, unless it agrees with the sum total of God’s Word.  The entire Word of God is full of His love for us.  Therefore, it is not in His nature to allow anyone to go to hell without a chance to accept His offer of salvation. 

I believe, even people who have been raised in a false religious environment, where they are taught Jesus is not God and die having never been told the truth of the Gospel, will have it presented to them.  As mentioned above, 1 Peter 4:5-6 assures us that they will be given an informed opportunity, as to who Jesus is, and the chance to accept Him after death. 

People who never hear the gospel before they die will have the same chance that those have, who hear the gospel before they die.  There are none in hell who have not chosen to go there by their informed rejection of Jesus Christ.  For God so loved the world (all men and all woman) that He gave us His Son Jesus… (John 3:16).  Thank God!  He loves us enough to give all mandkind a chance to accept His son, no matter where or when we live, and no matter where or when we die.  Praise his merciful name!

And that’s my opinion.

Larry Parker

July 1, 2013

READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY


JESUS IS NEITHER CAUCASIAN NOR BLACK

 

I have been saddened recently by the attempts of certain antagonists to stir up conflict between races.  Growing up in the forties and fifties I know a little about how bad prejudice was then, and how much we have developed.  These activists are trying to say we have not improved and are the same as we were then.  While we are not “there” yet, I can’t understand why they won’t acknowledge the improvements we have made.  After all, the majority of the people of this country did elect a black president.  That never would have happened fifty years ago.

 

Even our churches reflect the problem of not getting around the skin color problemwhen we see black churches with a picture of a Black Jesus on the cross.  That is done because of the many typical depictions of a blue-eyed Caucasian Jesus.  However, both depictions are wrong!             

 

Jesus is not a ‘white’ God nor is He a ‘black,’ ‘red’ or ‘yellow’ God.  It is presumption and the pride of life for any one denomination or even any one race to say they are favored in any way by the Lord over others.  As the sun’s light passes through a prism, it is broken up into all the colors of the spectrum.  In much the same way, when God made man in His likeness, He passed His image (light) through the prism of “human flesh” and gave us all the colors of race.  As the Bible says, “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth….”[i]

 

When Jesus went through the human ‘prism’ to become flesh He was called the Son of Man.  He had a similar complexion as those He lived with.  However, when He arose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father, He no longer looked like, nor represented, any single race of people.  He was recognizable but different.  Jesus had returned to the ‘other side’ of the ‘prism.’

 

Revelation 1:14-15 gives us His description, “His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters… His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.”  Do you know of any people who look like that?  When Jesus raptures the Church we will no longer be of separate races; we will be like Him.  “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”[ii]  We will be the, manifested, sons of God – one race. [iii]  Even though we will look different, we will still recognize one another and know who we are.

 

DENOMINATIONS

 

When the light of the gospel of Christ, passed through the ‘prism’ of human perception, it resulted in the various denominations we have today.  No one race or denomination has all revelation or is better than any other.  People are too different in personalities and temperament for only one denomination to evangelize the world.  It takes all of us.  We are all, only parts of the whole of God’s image.  I believe it would be no stretch of the imagination to think of the seven Churches, which Jesus talks about in the book of Revelation, as seven different denominations.  You wouldn’t have to look too close to see separately, the characteristics of those seven Churches in some of the denominations we have today.  We must understand that each denomination, which relies on the blood of Jesus Christ for salvation, knows only a part of the revelation of God.[iv]  That is confirmed in 1 Corinthians 13:9: “For we know in part and we prophesy in part.” All people, of all races, who claim that Jesus is the Son of God who came in the flesh, are children of God.  That’s what John says: “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.”[v]  Consequently, if we are of God, we are His children.

 

 

WE MUST WORK TOGETHER IN UNITY

 

I remember growing up thinking how fortunate I was to attend a church that had all the answers in the Bible.  One of the most presumptuous things we did in the past was to say that our denomination taught the truth of God’s word, while others did not.  We actually thought that people of other denominations were not saved.  I know now, we were judging them, and it was not pleasing to God.  Psalm 133 communicates to us that it is God’s will for His children to live and work together in unity:

 

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity!  It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments.  It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing—Life forevermore.

 

God wants us to dwell together in unity so we may reveal His love to the entire world.  I like the way one pastor put it, when he was accused of being cultic because of his view of the Trinity.  He said he looked forward to when “Christians do not judge one another by our diverse associations, nor the nuances of semantics, but by our love and the sweet fruit of Christ in our lives.”  Jesus said, in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  We read His command again in John 15:12, “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”  And again in John 15:17, “These things I command you, that you love one another.”  Paul, in Romans 13:8, and 1 Thessalonians 4:9 repeats this commandment of Jesus.  Peter, in 1 Peter 1:22 does the same.  The Apostle John, no less than six times, repeats the command that we love one another.[vi]  Do we not see a pattern here?  Why is it so difficult to obey our Savior, Jesus?  Please, let’s stop fighting and complaining about each other and just do it!  Let’s love one another!

And that’s my opinion.

Larry Parker

August, 2013

READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY


[i] Acts 17:26a

[ii] 1 John 3:2

[iii] See Romans 8:19, KJV

[iv] 1 Corinthians 13:9

[v] 1 John 3:2

[vi] 1 John 3:




JONAH AND THE WHALE 


Most of us are familiar with the story of Jonah and the whale.  Briefly God called Jonah to go to Nineveh to warn them of coming destruction, but Jonah boarded a ship bound for Tarshish instead.  When God sent a storm to threaten the ship the sailors threw him into the sea.  This resulted in the calming of the sea and the sailors fearing God and offering sacrifices to Him.  God sent a great fish (we call it a whale) to swallow Jonah, from which he prayed for deliverance.  After three days, the whale vomited Jonah onto dry land.  Then Jonah went to Nineveh and gives them the warning from God.  The citizens repented of their sins and God spared the city. 


The first chapter of Jonah relates this story to the point where Jonah is thrown into the sea, which became calm.  This chapter concludes with verse seventeen when it says, “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah.  And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”  Then, chapter two starts with the statement that Jonah prayed to the LORD from the fish's belly.  Because those statements are recorded just after Jonah was thrown overboard, we have assumed he was swallowed by the whale the moment he was cast into the sea and, consequently, began praying. 


Traditionally we have believed that Jonah was kept, alive, three days in the whale’s belly.  God could certainly have done that if He had wanted too.  I believed this for many years.  In recalling this Bible story, we tend to put the fact, that Jonah was alive in the whale, into a religiously correct box.  However, the verse that says, “…the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah.” was only letting us know that God had made preparations for what was about to happen to Jonah. 


Recently I heard a message preached by Rabbi/Calvary Pastor, Steve Babkow, in which he points out Jonah was dead for the three days and three nights he was in the whale.  He showed us verses which contradicted the idea that Jonah was alive in the whale’s belly.  In examining the scripturesone must always do that to see if what is being taught is trueI found him to be correct.  It appeared that the second chapter of Jonah had a contradiction.  Verse 1 said Jonah prayed to the Lord “from the fish’s belly.” In verse 2 Jonah said, “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.”  (The Hebrew word used in the second verse means, a hollow place.)  That raised the question, “Which “belly” or place did Jonah pray from?”  

One way of reconciling the two verses would be a scenario in which Jonah was swallowed by the whale as soon as he was thrown into the sea.  While he was suffocating in the fish’s belly he cried out to God just before he died and went to Sheol.  There he continued his prayer.  From “Abraham’s bosom” Jonah prayed knowing his bodyin which he; his spirit/soul had lived inwas in the belly of the whale.  That is why Jonah 2:1 says, “Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish's belly.”  However, what was said in verse 5, “The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head” did not fit that picture.

Jonah Drowned


When we look at the verses of chapter 2 in chronologic order we learn what really happened to Jonah:


For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me (v.3).  The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head (v.5).  "When my soul fainted within me [he died], I remembered the LORD; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple (v.7).  And he said: "I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, And He answered me. "Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice (v.2).


Where is Sheol?
Before Jesus redeemed mankind, everyone who died went to a place of the dead named Sheol, also called the pit.  Sheol was an abode deep in the heart of the earth, which was divided into two places; a place of suffering called hell and a place of bliss called Abraham’s bosom.  The ungodly went to hell and the godly went to the place of bliss, known as paradise.  These facts are revealed in Jesus’ story of Lazarus and the rich man, recorded in Luke 16:20-23.
fter studying these scriptures I came to the conclusion that when Jonah was thrown into the sea he sank into the water where his head was wrapped with surrounding sea weeds.  The weeds entangled him and held him down until he drowned.  The way I understand it now is that  when Jonah died, his spirit left his body and he began to sink down to Sheol/paradise.  I surmise, as he sank his spirit may have seen the large fish swim up and swallow his body. 
                Jonah Was Raised From the Dead
After three days God raised Jonah from the dead.  This fact is confirmed in Jonah 2:6 when he says, “You have brought up my life from the pit [Sheol], O LORD, my God.”  The Lord, then, caused the whale to vomit him onto dry land.  The detail that Jonah was dead for three days and raised alive, is confirmed again by Jesus in Matthew 12:40 when He said, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth [Sheol].”  Therefore, if Jesus’ body was dead, in the grave, for three days while His Spirit went to Sheol to preach to those there, then Jesus was telling us Jonah’s body was dead, in the belly of the whale, for three days and nights while his spirit was in Sheol.

Some teachers respond to Matthew 12:40 by saying Jonah was only symbolically dead.  However, they have to add the words, “symbolically dead” to the verse, making the scripture read, “For as Jonah was [symbolically dead] three days and three nights in the belly…”   This “adding of words to scripture” is strictly forbidden.  Proverbs 30:6 says, “Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.”  And Revelations 22:18 says, “…If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book.”  

When God returned Jonah’s to his body he found himself in the whale, unable to breath.  He began to struggle.  It may have been that God used that movement in the whale’s belly to cause the great fish to vomit Jonah, alive, onto dry land; having caused the animal to swim near the shore after swallowing the prophet.  It would seem to me that this version of the story would reconcile all of the verses of the book of Jonah. 


In the third chapter of Jonahafter his resurrection and deposit onto dry landGod commissioned him, a second time, to preach in Nineveh.   This time the prophet obeyed Him.  He went to Nineveh and preached that the city would be overthrown in forty days.  The king and people repented and turned from their evil ways.  Jonah 3:10 says, “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”


The last chapter uncovers Jonah’s, less than compassionate heart, when he showed he was displeased with God’s mercy on the city.  God demonstrated to Jonahthrough His creation and destruction of a plant/shade that He is in control of everything; that He is a merciful God who loves mankind.  We see the flaw in Jonah’s character when the prophet showed pity for a plant but not for the people of Nineveh who were created in God’s image.


May we learn from Jonah’s story that nothing is impossible with God and that He is concerned with our relationship with Him as well as our relationship with our brothers and sisterswhich is much more important than our own comfort.       


And that’s my opinion.

Larry Parker


September 1, 2013


READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY

OUR NEW BODIES

THE TENT AND THE MANSION

Some of you old timers out there just might remember Stuart Hamblen’s tune, “This Old House.”  An old man is comparing his aging body to a house.  The chorus goes like this:

Ain't gonna need this house no longer, Ain't gonna need this house no more.
Ain't got time to fix the shingles, Ain't got time to fix the floor.
Ain't got time to oil the hinges, Nor to mend the window pane.
Ain't gonna need this house no longer, I'm getting ready to meet the saints.

I will be turning 75 this December and know just what Hamblen is talking about.  The sad thing about getting old, are the aches and pains that come with illnesses, as well as the lack of energy we have to do the things that were easy before.  However, praise the Lord, we have a blessed hope.  Thanks to the Lord’s sacrifice, when we are united with Christ in the air (raptured), we will be given new, glorified, bodies.

We have a saying about our natural bodies, “The spirit is willing but the body is weak,” meaning the body doesn’t always do what our spirit wants it to do (Romans 7:22-23).  However, when we get our glorified bodies; those bodies will be in perfect agreement and unity with our spirits.  God gives us a preview of our change with an example in nature.  The caterpillar, changing into a butterfly, is an illustration of the fundamental change that will take place in our bodies.  Boy, I am sure looking forward to that!    

In the fifteenth chapter of the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Church in Corinth, he gives us a treatise on “bodies.”  He speaks of heavenly bodies, earthly bodies, and different kinds of fleshly bodies.  Paul informs us that God planned two human bodies for our spirits to live in; the one we live in now, and the one we will live in in the future.  The natural (mortal) body is first and the spiritual (immortal) body will come second, i.e. our resurrection body (1Corintians 15:46).  Our first physical body is given life by God and, kept alive, by blood.  Our second physical body will be given life, and kept alive, by the Holy Spirit.  It is called a “glorified” or “spiritual” body.       

 

Paul calls our natural bodies (which our spirits live in) “tents.”  He says God has prepared new “buildings” for our spirits to live in in heaven (2Corintians 5:1).  In John 14:2 Jesus tells us there are “mansions” in heaven and He will prepare a “place” for us.  Because of these scriptures, I choose to liken the new buildings or “places” our spirits will live in to mansions; I call our two bodies, the tent and the mansion.  They both come from God.

    

THE TENT (NATURAL BODY)

The first man, Adam, was made a natural body from the dust of the earth.  That body became corruptible because of sin.  As a result, it must die (Genesis 2:17 & 3:6).  The apostle Paul confirms that, in Hebrews 9:27, “…it is appointed for men to die [at least] once…”  The only exception to that death is for those who are alive when the rapture occurs.  Just as it says in 1Thessalonians 4:17, “…we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”  Our natural body is the seed that becomes our spiritual body as 1Corinthians 15:44 says, “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body…”  Thus, is the natural body we have inherited from Adam. 

THE MANSION (SPIRITUAL BODY)

The second Man, Jesus, is the first to receive a spiritual body (1Corinthians 15:46).  In the verse before that, He is called the Lord from heaven; also named the last Adam.  Jesus received His spiritual body when He was raised from the dead; that is what the scripture means when it says, “And He [Jesus] is…the firstborn from the dead…” (Colossians 1:18, emphasis mine).  This verse shows us, that just as we must be born into a natural body, we must also be “born again” into a spiritual body.  In John 3:3 Jesus told Nicodemus, “…unless one is born again [into a spiritual body], he cannot see the [total] kingdom of God.”

When the Bible tells us Jesus is the “first born from the dead,” it means He is the first to be born into a spiritual body, i.e. resurrected into a spiritual body.  He is the first fruit of all, to be resurrected and receive a spiritual body.  The rest of us will complete our second birth, after Him, at Christ’s coming (1Corinthians 15:20 & 23).  Our second birth begins when we accept Jesus as our Savior.  That’s when we are conceived into the family of God.  We immediately become His children and can claim to be “born again.”  Nevertheless, the new birth process is not completed until we move into our spiritual bodies at the rapture.  

WHAT WILL THE MANSION BE LIKE?

By searching the scriptures we can learn what our new bodies will be like.  First and foremost we will be like Christ.  1John 3:2 says, “…we shall be like Him [Jesus]…”  We will be “one” with Christ; that carries with it instant, total, communication with God and each other.  It will be the answer to Jesus’ prayer to the Father, in John 17:21.  We will all be one together.  There can be nothing better!  

When Jesus met with the disciples, after His resurrection, He showed them that His glorified, physical, body had the ability to eat food (Luke 24:42-43).  Jesus had the capability to instantly appear and disappear at will (John 20:26).  When He did that He traveled at the speed of thought.  Jesus confirms we will be able to do this when He told Nicodemus everyone who is born of the Spirit [born again] is like the wind, you cannot tell where it (glorified body) comes from and where it (glorified body) goes (John 3:8).  The apostle Paul tells us, “…we have the mind of Christ” (1Corintians 2:16) albeit, as he says in 1Corintians 13:9, for now only in part.   In verse ten he goes on to say, “But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.”  That means when we are raptured, we will have the total mind of Christ, i.e., total awareness.

Our new bodies will be immortal (1Corintians 15:53).  Our senses will be fantastic.  As an example, if we were looking at the moon while standing on the earth, our eyesight will be sharp enough to clearly see Neal Armstrong’s footprints next to the remains of his lunar lander, and everything else the astronauts left there.  If we wanted to, just by thinking about it, we could instantly put ourselves on the moon next to those artifacts.  Our indestructible bodies would have no problem surviving on the airless moon without a spacesuit.  They will be sustained by the Holy Spirit [breath] of God (Genesis 2:7, John 20:22, Revelation 11:12).

We will be able to see the entire universe, supernaturally, clearer than the best pictures from the Hubble Telescope.  We will be able to fly, and have unlimited strength and endurance.  As the Bible says, “…They [spiritual bodies] shall mount up with wings like eagles, They [spiritual bodies] shall run and not be weary, They [spiritual bodies] shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).  I’m sure this is only a part of what our new bodies will be able to do.  Our senses of taste, smell and touch, will be comparable to our sense of sight.

To sum up what I do know, our new spiritual bodies will:

  • Always be “one” with Father, Son, Holy Spirit

  • Be indestructible

  • Be able to appear and disappear instantly

  • Be able to travel to anywhere in God’s creation, at the speed of thought

  • Have total awareness

  • Be able to communicate perfectly, without the need of speech

That is the spiritual body—our mansion, we will inherit from Jesus.  What a wonderful future we can look forward to, provided for us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ.  When we compare our natural bodies with our spiritual bodies, it is truly like comparing a tent with a mansion.

And that’s my opinion.

Larry Parker

October, 2013

READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY

THE RAPTURE AND DANIEL’S 70th WEEK

We are living in the end times.  One day soon, Christians will be caught-up in the air to be with Jesus.  This event is called the rapture and/or the second coming of Christ.  I grew up in a church that believed the rapture was imminent and would occur before the end-time event, known as the Tribulation Period, begins.  They taught this time period will commence with the antichrist’s signing of a seven-year peace treaty with Israel, followed by the horrors of the wrath of God.  That belief is called a Pre-Tribulation position on the rapture.  For a long time, I believed it was true.  I did not want to change my acceptance of this view because it assured me I would be taken out of this troubled world, at any time, before it got too bad. 

I believe, according to the Bible, this “Tribulation Period” should more correctly be called “Daniel’s 70th Week.”  A prediction in Daniel 9:24 reveals, seventy weeks are determined for Israel to finish the transgression.  A week, in this prophecy, means a span of seven years.  Jesus’ crucifixion completed the first sixty-nine “weeks” (Daniel 9:25-25).  Verse twenty-seven affirms, in the midst of the last (70th) week the antichrist will cause the Jewish sacrifices to cease (the abomination of desolation).  To call the entire seven-year period, the tribulation is confusing because Jesus said, in Matthew 24:15-21, the great tribulation will not start until the antichrist commits the “abomination of desolation.”  This doesn’t occur until we are halfway through that time period.     

Acting on incorrect beliefs can get us into trouble.  That is the reason I question everything I am taught by studying the Bible.  Eventually my inquiries included what I had been taught about the rapture.  These rapture traditions are as follows:

  1. The Rapture is Imminent

  2. The Antichrist Will Not Be Revealed Until After the Rapture

  3. The Entire Seven-Year Period Is the Wrath of God

  4. The Church Will Not Be Present During the Great Tribulation

  5. The Rapture Will Come “as a thief” for the Church

  6. The Rapture Will Be In Secret

I searched for scriptures to support these proclamations but could find none.  To the contrary, in studying the “whole” Bible I became convinced these Pre-Trib beliefs were in error.  

Error (1), The Rapture is Imminent

I discovered that the seven Jewish feasts were more than a celebration; they were prophetic of Jesus’ first and second comings.  The first three feasts were fulfilled when Jesus died, for our sins, and rose again during His first coming.  The fourth prophetic feast was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost when the Church was filled with the Holy Spirit; fulfillments of those prophecies were on the exact days of the feasts.  Consequently, it is logical to believe the prophecies of the last three feasts will be fulfilled in the fall of the year when they occur during Jesus’ second coming.  Therefore, the rapture could not be imminent during any other time of the year.

In Matthew 24:15 & 29 Jesus gave us three signs we are to look for, before He comes again.  1. The abomination of desolation must occur.  2. The third temple must be built for this to happen.  3. The sun and moon will be darkened.  These three signs must transpire before we will be caught up to be with Him.  Therefore, until they happen, the teaching that the second coming is always imminent is wrong.

Error (2), The Antichrist Will Not Be Revealed Until After the Rapture

While reading 2Thessoloians 2:1-3, I found this contradiction of that teaching:

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him [the rapture], we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.  Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the rapture] will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition [antichrist]. 

Paul is telling us clearly that the rapture will not occur until after the antichrist is revealed.  He goes so far as to tell us not to be deceived by any other incorrect interpretation.  Therefore, the teaching that the antichrist will not be revealed until after the rapture is wrong.

 

Error (3), The Entire Seven-Year Period Is the Wrath of God and (4) The Church Will Not be Present during the Great Tribulation 

When I look at Daniel’s 70th Week I find it to be divided into four different divisions.  According to Daniel 9:27 (1) the antichrist’s signing of a seven year peace treaty with Israel begins this period.  Halfway through the treaty he desecrates the rebuilt Jewish temple and (2) begins his persecution of Jews (and Christians) i.e., the great tribulation.  This oppression is the wrath of Satan, not God’s wrath.  Jesus confirms the fact that the cruelty is from the antichrist (possessed by Satan) who desecrates the Jewish temple (Matthew 24:15 & 21).  He also tells us the great tribulation will be cut short by (3) the rapture; after which (4) the wrath of God begins.  The last trump, at the rapture, will sound very much like God’s first trumpet did from Mount Sinai as recorded in Exodus 19:16.  It will be like this:     

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.  …Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect [the rapture] from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.  …For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand (Matthew 24:21-22 & 29-31, Hebrews 12:19-21, Revelation 6:17)? 

These scriptures clearly show the Church (the elect) being in, and gathered out of the great tribulation to be with Jesus.  It does not separate Jesus’ second coming from the rapture.  They are at the same time!  While the rapture is instant, the events of the second coming extend over a period of time.   

A sealed scroll, containing the wrath of God, is shown to John in Revelation 5:1.  The rapture will occur after the scroll’s sixth seal is broken and before the seventh seal is breached, i.e. before God’s wrath is released.  A great earthquake, the sun becoming dark and the moon, not giving her light, are the signs we are to look for.  Revelation 6:12 reveals this fact; “I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.”  Matthew 24:29-31, quoted above, and Luke 21:25-28 confirms that this is when we are to look up for the rapture.  Jesus said, “…when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near,” i.e. look for the rapture, which will be imminent only after we see these signs. 

After the rapture, the seventh seal is broken, which opens the scroll releasing God’s wrath.  Revelation 8:1-16:1 describes 7 angels blowing trumpets, that bring wrath, and concludes with 7 angels pouring bowls of wrath.  Thank God we will be gone before that happens.  “For God did not appoint us [the Church] to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.  Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing” (1Thessoloians 5:9-11).  The Pre-Trib teachers have confused the great tribulation, which is the wrath of Satan, with the wrath of God.  Therefore, the teaching that the entire seven-year period is the wrath of God and that the Church will not be present during the great tribulation is wrong.  

Error (5), The Rapture Will Come “as a thief” for the Church

The Pre-Trib teachers say, “Because the rapture is imminent, we will be surprised (like when a thief comes) when it happens.”  They quote 1 Thessalonians 5:2 as a proof text, ignoring verse 4, which contradicts them.  Nevertheless, Jesus said, “… as the days of Noah were, so also will the [second] coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37).  Noah and his family knew the Flood was coming and prepared for it.  Noah preached that message but was not believed.  Therefore the skeptics were surprised by the deluge (Genesis 7:4).  Just so, the Lord’s coming will not be a surprise to those of us who are watching for the signs Jesus has given us.  However, it will come as a thief in the night for the unsaved who do not believe the gospel.     

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief (1Thessalonians 5:2-4, emphasis added).

 

Therefore, the teaching that the rapture will come for the Church “as a thief,” is wrong. 

Error (6), The Rapture Will Be In Secret 

The series of Pre-Trib, Left Behind books, advocates a secret rapture in which believers (of Christ) suddenly disappear.  However, Jesus said He is “…coming on the clouds...” (Matthew 24:30, 26:64, Mark 13:26, & 14:62).  The angel, in Revelation 1:7 adds, “…and every eye will see Him…”  How will our Savior appear on the clouds?  He will appear with a great shout and an, ear piercing, very long, blast from God’s trumpet getting louder and louder.  His angels will gather His elect and The lion of Judah will roar mightily from on high to the, left behind, inhabitants below; frightening the unsaved so that they will hide in caves and say to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!”  (See Matthew 24:31, Exodus 19:19, Jeremiah 25:30, Revelation 6:16, Hebrews 12:19-21)  The Bible teaches that every eye shall see Him (Revelation 1:7).  There is nothing secret about that.  Therefore, the teaching that the rapture will be in secret is wrong.

Although the Church will have to go through the great tribulation during Daniel’s 70th week, Jesus does not want us to fear it.  The Bible articulates, in many places, we are not to have fear.  To have fear is to lack trust in God.  Jesus admonishes us on six different occasions, “do not fear.”  He will protect us just as He protected the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace and Daniel in the lion’s den (some of us may have to suffer martyrdom, which is happening in the world even today).  That is why it is so important we learn to trust Jesus now.  As it says in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”  Know that, “…the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one” (2Thessalonians 3:3).  

Think about it.  Daniel’s 70th week is about to commence.  We need to prepare ourselves for it by drawing as close to, and trusting Jesus, as much as we can.  Very soon now, God will wash away the curse of sin from this world and give us a new earth, free from all troubles.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1Thessalonians 4:16-18).

 

And that’s my opinion.

Larry Parker

November, 2013

READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY




JESUS’ INCARNATION
HOW JESUS, THE LAST ADAM, BECAME HUMAN
The First Adam
The word, Adam, means first man.  God created the first man and placed him in the Garden of Eden.  Adam was created a sinless being in the image of God, without a biological mother and father.  Although he had no earthly father and mother he was wholly human.  Our heavenly Father placed a tree in the garden and told Adam he was forbidden to eat its fruit.  God’s purpose was to give the first man a choice between obeying and disobeying Him; thus providing men free will.  

It was Father God’s desire that men remain sinless.  However, Adam did not obey His Creator’s command and became guilty of sin, which separated him, and consequently us, from our Maker.  The consequence of Adam’s choice is recorded in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death [separation from God], but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  In the second half of this scripture, we find that God loves us so much He provided a way (gift) for us to be reconciled with Him.  God’s method to accomplish this was to provide a second, i.e. last Adam, Jesus, “… to be made like His brethren … to make propitiation for the sins of the people (Hebrews 2:17).

The Last Adam

 

In order to be called, the last Adam or “second” Man (see 1Corinthians 15:45, 47), that person would have to be similar to the first Adam, i.e. without a biological mother and father and wholly human.  However, He would have to remain sinless, in order to pay the penalty of death for our sins.  Melchizedek, as pre-incarnate Jesus, the last Adam, is described in Hebrews, 7:3.  He is, “…without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God…”  Belief in this “last Adam” who became a “life-giving spirit” will give us reconciliation with God and eternal life (see Romans 10:9).  The last Adam, Jesus, remained God’s sinless Man while also being wholly God. 

God Incarnate

God became human through the embodiment of Jesus Christ; being born of the woman Mary.  In Luke 1:35 the angel said, “…The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”  It was prophesied to happen in this way.  “…the virgin [Mary] shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).  However, if the last Adam (Jesus) has no biological mother and father; how is the virgin, Mary, Jesus’ mother?  We find the answer in the New Testament books of Luke and Hebrews.

 

In Luke 1:31 the angel told Mary, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus” (emphasis added).  In Hebrews 10:5 we find a verse that says, “…a body You have prepared for Me.”  Because the angel told Mary she would conceive in her womb, I have concluded, from the interpretation of that phrase and the verse in Hebrews 10:5, that Jesus’ body was prepared as an embryo by God and placed in Mary’s womb.   

Important Details

The Hebrew word used in Isaiah for conceive, can also be translated, becomes pregnant.  We know natural conception takes place in the fallopian tube.  However, contrary to that, the angel told Mary she would “conceive” in her womb.  When the angel told Mary she would conceive, the Greek word translated as conceive primarily means to figuratively clasp, i.e. seize.  It is important to note where she would clasp it, i.e. in her womb.  Luke, also points out in chapter 2 verse 21, that: “He [Jesus] was conceived [clasped] in the womb.”

 

Biblical evidence supports the fact that Father God created Jesus’ body (Hebrews 10:5).  As I have said, I believe that that “body” was an embryo.  Psalm 2:7, Hebrews 1:5, and 5:5 all record God saying, "…You are my Son, today I have begotten You…"  There, Mary’s body seized and nourished it.  Therefore, the incarnation process, that was completed when Christ was born, makes Mary Jesus’ surrogate mother, with no biological association to the Lord.

The Surrogate Mother of Christ
A surrogate is a person appointed to act for another or a person who acts in the place of another person.  In other words, a surrogate mother carries another woman’s child in her womb and gives birth to a baby that is not her own biological son or daughter.  That process is called a gestational surrogacy.  The surrogate becomes pregnant via embryo transfer into her womb, a child of which she is not the biological mother.
Therefore, my conclusion is that God created the embryo (with no biological mother or father) that was to become the body of Christ, i.e. the last Adam.  That is when Jesus emptied Himself, from heaven, and entered the “body,” which was placed by the Holy Spirit into Mary’s womb.  (The NRSV Bible translates Philippians 2:7 this way, “…[Jesus] emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.  And being found in human form.”)  When the Holy Spirit placed the embryo into Mary’s womb her body clasped, or seized it, so it would became attached to her womb for nourishment and growth.  That is the moment when Mary became the gestational surrogate mother of Christ. 
                    Jesus’ Birth Was Painless
Children inherit the original sin of Adam, which gives us a sinful nature in our bodies.  As a result of the original sin of Adam and Eve, women suffer labor pain while giving birth.  We learn that in Genesis 3:16, “To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children….”   Jesus was sinless and therefore caused no labor pain for Mary at His birth.  This truth is revealed in Isaiah 66:7, “Before she [Mary] was in labor, she gave birth; Before her pain came, She delivered a male child.”  The phrase “Before her pain came…” means, because of original sin Mary would have labor pain later, when she delivered her and Joseph’s biological children. 
Jesus was born, and remained, sinless, therefor; there is no question that the virgin, Mary, was the surrogate mother of Jesus.  She (like all of mankind born from Adam) carried the stain of the first Adam’s original sin.  Therefore, all of Mary’s biological children, who were called Jesus’ brothers and sisters were also born in sin (see Matthew 12:46-47 and Psalm 51:5).  Because of that, Mary’s other children could not be organically related to Jesus nor could she.  Nevertheless, the false assumption continues to be made, by many in the Church today, that Jesus was Mary’s biological son and her other children were His half-brothers and half-sisters.  I respectfully disagree.
 And that’s my opinion.


Larry Parker
December, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY





We Must Make a Choice

God made man in His own image.  He was created a sinless, perfect human being.  In his loins was the DNA makeup of the beginningof all who were to follow him by birth.[1]  That means we were created when Adam was created.  God loves us, and wanted us to remain sinless and live with Him forever, so much so that He wrote everyone’s names in His “Book of Life.”[2]  No one was excluded!  It is a registry that gives the whole world access to heaven.  However, that registry needs an “RSVP” from each and every person, in order for them to remain on the list and enter heaven.    


Our heavenly Father placed trees in the Garden of Eden and told Adam he could freely eat of them, with one exception.  God’s purpose was to give man a choice between obeying and disobeying Him; thus providing men with free will.  To have free will is to have the ability to choose.  The initial choice God gave us is between two things.  1) Do nothing, or 2) obey God’s condition (prohibition).  We must choose; whether we want to or not, because to do nothing is, in fact, a choice.  For a sinless man (like Adam was at the time) to do nothing (not eat the forbidden fruit) was a choice for eternal life.  However, Adam decided to disobey God’s condition, and eat from the forbidden tree.[3]  This choice resulted in death and condemnation for Adam and all his descendants.[4] 


For mankind all was lostbut for God all things are possible.[5]  The Creator gave mankind a special gift because He loves us.  The scriptures tell us, “…the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”[6] and “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”[7]  “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…”[8] That means if you obey God by repenting of your sins and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will be saved from death and hell born again.


Salvation is the time when we are conceived, by the Holy Spirit, into the family of God.  This conception begins the process of being born again, which concludes when we receive our glorified bodies at the rapture, i.e. the first resurrection.  It is the “RSVP” we need, for our names to be saved in heaven’s registry[9].  Because Christ’s shed blood washes our sins clean, our names will not be blotted out from God’s Book of Life,[10] which He wrote before any of us were born. 


To Do Nothing is to Accept Condemnation

Adam’s decedents still have the freedom to do nothing or accept God’s condition (plan) of salvation through His Son, Jesus.  However, for us, the result of doing nothing is different than doing nothing was for a sinless Adam.  We are already condemned; therefore, to do nothing is to choose death.  However, Jesus came into the world that we might have another choice.  In John 3:17 we learn, For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” 


To accept God’s condition of salvation through faith in Jesus is to choose life.  “He who believes in Him [Jesus] is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”[11] Anyone who rejects Jesus, the Christ, will have his, or her name blotted out of God’s Book of Life[12] and cannot be admitted into heaven.  Sadly, those who reject Jesus will have, unknowingly, chosen death and hell.  That choice is a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, who draws men and women to Christ.  It is the only unforgivable sin.


The choice is between a curse or a blessing.  Deuteronomy 30:19 puts it this way, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may [make the same choice and] live.”  Even Jesus, our example, had to choose obedience as well (willingly go to the cross), “…that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good [life for mankind].”[13]


How does one choose life (heaven) or death (hell)?  It is a fact that one must choose not to go to hell.  We ignorantly choose hell, by not accepting Jesus as our Lord.  People who don’t want anything to do with God are making their choice to go to a place where He is not manifested (hell).  We choose heaven, by accepting Jesus as our Savior.  Remember, to do nothing is a choice, in and of itself.  Therefore, for sinful mankind, to do nothing (not accept Christ) is to choose death and hell.  When we obey God’s condition (of going through Jesus to have access to the Father) by repenting and asking His Son Jesus to be our Savior and Lord, we choose life and heaven.  Again, the choice is hell or heaven. 

What is Hell Like?

Hell is a place where God does not manifest Himself, or His attributessome of which are light and the water of life.  In Mark 9:43 & 47 and Luke 16:23, 24 we find that hell (or hades), is a dark place without God (light and water).  It is a place of unquenchable fire and torment.  I cannot believe anyone would purposely choose to go to hell.  If they do, it is because they reject Jesus and do not believe what hell is like.  The people who say they want to join their friends and have a party in hell don’t know they will not have access to anyone else there.  But they will have knowledge that other people are in heaven, which is another torment.  Water is a blessing from God that brings life.  That is why there is no water there.  We see that in Luke 16:24, “Then he [the rich man] cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.”  The ultimate end of death, hades and anyone not found written in the “Lamb’s” Book of Life is to be cast into a lake of fire.[14]  It will be because their names were blotted out when they rejected Christ[15]at their last opportunity.  

What is Heaven like?

God is there!  Heaven is a place where our heavenly Father manifests Himself and His attributes.  Heaven has a throne[16] with a pure river of life; water clear as crystal proceeding from it for the healing of the nations,[17] and a temple with the ark of His covenant. [18]  The heavenly city is called, the New Jerusalem.[19]  The book of Revelation reveals, “The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.  The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones:”[20]  There will be peace and tranquility there.  The scripture also says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  “There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”[21]    


Heaven is more than just a city.  Its vast countryside is full of beautiful flowers, grass and animals.  The prophet Isaiah describes heaven, which came down to earth,[22] "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them.  The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.  The nursing child shall play by the cobra's hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper's den.”[23]


Choose Life

We are advised, in the book of Job, “Let us choose justice for ourselves; Let us know among ourselves what is good [life or death].”[24]  Joshua admonishes us to, “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve …But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”[25]  This is not an exclusionary gospel.  Anyone who wants may come to Jesus.  Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out…”[26] Therefore, anyone may go through the “door” of heaven.  May we all choose Jesus, “….for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”[27]


Ohby the way, speaking of choosing life or death, we must never presume to make that choice for another person; no matter how small (fetus) they may be.  Just saying!

And that’s my opinion.

READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY


                                                      Larry Parker

January, 2014


 




[1] Hebrews 7:9-10

[2] See Psalm 139:15-16, Luke 10:20b, Ephesians 1:4

[3] Genesis 2:17

[4] Genesis 3:3,  John 3:18,  Romans 6:23a 

[5] Matthew 19:26

[6] Romans 6:23b

[7] John 3:16

[8] Acts 16:31

[9] Hebrews 12:23

[10] Exodus 32:33, Revelation 3:5

[11] John 3:18

[12] Exodus 32:33

[13] Isaiah 7:15-16

[14] See Revelation 20:14-15

[15] Exodus 32:33

[16] Revelation 4:2

[17] Revelation 22:1-2

[18] Revelation 11:19

[19] Revelation 3:12

[20] Revelation 21:18-19 

[21] Revelation 21:4

[22] Revelation  21:2

[23] Isaiah 11:6-8

[24] Job 34:4

[25] Joshua 24:15

[26] John 10:9

[27] Act 4:12




The Salt of the Earth


 


The preaching of the gospel is not just for pastors and teachers.  The gospel can be spread when a Christian gives his or her testimony of salvation; and life with Jesus to family and acquaintances.  However, our actions speak with a louder voice then our verbal testimony.  We are always being watched by the unsaved world to see how we behave.  Do we live the life of obeying Christians?


 


Christians Are Salt


 


In the Sermon on the Mount[1]  Jesus gives us a list of characteristics (beatitudes) of a certain group of people.  They arethe poor in spirit - those who mourn - the meek - those who hunger and thirst for righteousness - the merciful - the pure in heart - the peacemakers and those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake.  Jesus is talking about His followers, who are called Christians today.  He says, “You are the salt of the earth…”[2]  However, the label of “salt of the earth” carries a responsibility. 


 


Salt enhances the flavor and is a preservative of whatever it has been put into.  We Christians,


are not of this world but have been put into it for God’s purpose[3]; one of which is to be “salt” to those around us.  How can we, as human “salt,” enhance the flavor of life of those around us as well as introduce them to preservation, i.e. salvation?  We do so by being an influence to show them the way to Jesus; by the spoken word as well as our actions.  It is vital that this be done in public as well as personal life.


 


Salt in Politics


 


Satan’s strategy has always been to subvert God’s plan by diverting our attention away from what He wants us to do.  The evil one wants to divert us away from public life by suggesting we will be “holier” if we stay in church, away from “dirty” politics.  That way, he undermines the Christian groundwork our founding Fathers established for this nation.  However, God says we must be “salt” and that, “…to obey is better than sacrifice…”[4]  Therefore, Christians are responsible to be “salt” wherever we are; as well as in the environment of politicsby being involved.


 


The Salt Has Lost Its Flavor


 


By not participating in politics (voting), we Christians have lost the flavor of our “salt.”  Because of that, we have failed our nation.  Pastors have a responsibility and share some of the blame.  We have not been properly taught how it is our Christian duty to get out and vote for men and women who will govern according to godly principles.  I was amazed when some of our church leaders (who did inspire their follower to vote) actually encouraged congregants to vote for candidates who supported what the Bible clearly calls sin.  What were they thinking! 


 


Jesus tells us what happens when salt loses its flavor.  He says, “…if the salt loses its flavor… It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men…”[5] and “…men throw it out….”[6]  We have lost our flavor by allowing godless men and women to control our government and the result is that values of Christians are being trampled underfoot by them and we (the salt of the earth) are being thrown out of public life altogether.


 


Christians Must Re-Acquire Flavor


 


We need to repent of our failure to be a flavored “salt” to this nation.  We need a mighty revival that brings confession of our sins and repentance, with a willingness to get out and vote for godly men and women.  Only that will save us from the curse, and wrath, which comes from disobeying God.  "Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today;  and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you…”[7]  Let’s become flavored salt once again.  Mark 9:50 says, “Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it?  Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”  If we love our nation and want it to be blessed rather than cursedwe must


VOTE FOR GODLY LEADERS!


          


And that’s my opinion.


READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY


                                                      Larry Parker


February, 2014




[1] Matthew, Chapter five

[2] Matthew 5:13

[3] John 17:16

[4] 1 Samuel 15:22

[5] Matthew 5:13

[6] Luke 14:35

[7] Deuteronomy 11:26-28


The Salt of the Earth 


The preaching of the gospel is not just for pastors and teachers.  The gospel can be spread when a Christian gives his or her testimony of salvation; and life with Jesus to family and acquaintances.  However, our actions speak with a louder voice then our verbal testimony.  We are always being watched by the unsaved world to see how we behave.  Do we live the life of obeying Christians?


Christians Are Salt


In the Sermon on the Mount[1]  Jesus gives us a list of characteristics (beatitudes) of a certain group of people.  They arethe poor in spirit - those who mourn - the meek - those who hunger and thirst for righteousness - the merciful - the pure in heart - the peacemakers and those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake.  Jesus is talking about His followers, who are called Christians today.  He says, “You are the salt of the earth…”[2]  However, the label of “salt of the earth” carries a responsibility.  


Salt enhances the flavor and is a preservative of whatever it has been put into.  We Christians,


are not of this world but have been put into it for God’s purpose[3]; one of which is to be “salt” to those around us.  How can we, as human “salt,” enhance the flavor of life of those around us as well as introduce them to preservation, i.e. salvation?  We do so by being an influence to show them the way to Jesus; by the spoken word as well as our actions.  It is vital that this be done in public as well as personal life. 


Salt in Politics


Satan’s strategy has always been to subvert God’s plan by diverting our attention away from what He wants us to do.  The evil one wants to divert us away from public life by suggesting we will be “holier” if we stay in church, away from “dirty” politics.  That way, he undermines the Christian groundwork our founding Fathers established for this nation.  However, God says we must be “salt” and that, “…to obey is better than sacrifice…”[4]  Therefore, Christians are responsible to be “salt” wherever we are; as well as in the environment of politicsby being involved. 


The Salt Has Lost Its Flavor


By not participating in politics (voting), we Christians have lost the flavor of our “salt.”  Because of that, we have failed our nation.  Pastors have a responsibility and share some of the blame.  We have not been properly taught how it is our Christian duty to get out and vote for men and women who will govern according to godly principles.  I was amazed when some of our church leaders (who did inspire their follower to vote) actually encouraged congregants to vote for candidates who supported what the Bible clearly calls sin.  What were they thinking!   


Jesus tells us what happens when salt loses its flavor.  He says, “…if the salt loses its flavor… It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men…”[5] and “…men throw it out….”[6]  We have lost our flavor by allowing godless men and women to control our government and the result is that values of Christians are being trampled underfoot by them and we (the salt of the earth) are being thrown out of public life altogether. 


Christians Must Re-Acquire Flavor


We need to repent of our failure to be a flavored “salt” to this nation.  We need a mighty revival that brings confession of our sins and repentance, with a willingness to get out and vote for godly men and women.  Only that will save us from the curse, and wrath, which comes from disobeying God.  "Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today;  and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you…”[7]  Let’s become flavored salt once again.  Mark 9:50 says, “Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it?  Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”  If we love our nation and want it to be blessed rather than cursedwe must


VOTE FOR GODLY LEADERS!     


And that’s my opinion.

READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY


                                                      Larry Parker

February, 2014




[1] Matthew, Chapter five

[2] Matthew 5:13

[3] John 17:16

[4] 1 Samuel 15:22

[5] Matthew 5:13

[6] Luke 14:35

[7] Deuteronomy 11:26-28



Why I Love the Assemblies of God

It was late 1944 during the waning months of World War II.  A desperate woman had run out of coal for the furnace that winter day. The house was as cold as an ice box.  She was thirty years old; a mother alone with five children and no way of providing for them.  Her husband had deserted her for another woman a month after her fifth child (a boy) was born.  The father was never to return, nor did he ever offer any financial support.  The other two boys and two girls were cold and hungry.  The children had been underfed for weeks.  For several days now she had had no food for them at all.  Sobbing in despair, she was afraid and did not know what to do.  Her name was Evelyn Parkermy mom.  Thinking about it now, I believe she offered up a prayer in her distress, because God took control.

Somehow someone found out about the desperate situation in the little row house on Park Road in Washington D.C. and called the authorities.  We were taken to the hospital in a warm ambulance and treated for malnutrition.  I was only six years old.  I remember someone tenderly laying me on the same gurney as my seven year old sister.  Later, we were moved to some kind of government facility, for observation.  I kept crying for my mother and was told that if I would stop I could see her.  It was only a ruse.  It took several days before we were returned to her.

A lady, we later came to know as Gloria, heard about our circumstance.  She was a member of the Full Gospel Tabernacle; an Assembly of God church on Massachusetts Ave. in downtown Washington, D.C.  She informed her pastor, whom we later learned to call, Brother Mahan, of our desperate needs.  He was a man who believed James 1:27 when it says, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans [fatherless] and widows [single moms] in their trouble…”  He directed the board members of The Full Gospel Tabernacle to set up a plan that paid to have an adequate amount of milk delivered to our house on a regular basis.  Gloria helped mom get on the government “relief” program and talked her into taking us to church.  I looked up to Brother Mahan as my “surrogate” father until he died three years later.  I remember turning my face in a corner of the funeral parlor to hide my tears, shed over this kind pastor who had gone to heaven.

**********

The poor neighborhoods in Washington D. C were already integrated in the forties.  I remember playing with the colored kids (that is what black children were called then) as a normal event.  We thought nothing of it.  It did not matter what color you were, we were all poor; poor white children and poor colored children.  I was just another poor white boy.  I distinctly remember a kind colored lady friend of mom’s who lived across the alleyway from our house, buying and giving me my first belt (I have never forgotten that kindness).  I don’t remember any episodes of prejudice as a child.  Therefore, I was very glad to read that the Assemblies of God (AG) and the United Pentecostal Council of the Assemblies of God (UPCAG) has reconciled, during Black History Month.  General Superintendent George O. Wood said, "We have now been on a four-year journey with the United Pentecostal Council of the Assemblies of God, which was birthed in 1919 because of racism in the Assemblies of God.  Now, the Lord has brought us together again in a more formal partnership, to hold high the name of Jesus and advance His mission in the power of the Spirit."[1]


Church Camp

One summer Gloria arranged for mom and us kids, to go with her to the Assemblies of God Church Camp in the mountains of Falling Waters, West Virginia.  She rented a tent, which had been pitched over a wooden platform.  The tent had cots to sleep on and a small stove to cook our meals.  (Campers who wanted to could eat in a cafeteria.)  It was great fun, and I even enjoyed the church services with the spirited singing that was an important part of the worship.


When I was thirteen-years-old, Gloria arranged for me to be hired to work in the cafeteria.  The camp had a program of hiring less-advantaged children, which allowed us to experience two or three weeks of Church Camp during the summer.  There was a large bell mounted on a pole just outside of the kitchen door.  It was rung to alert the campers that dinner was ready as well as to announce when it was time for services.  I have fond memories of that bell and can remember its sound even today.  The cafeteria work, I was given, provided for my room and board.  My main job was to wash pots and pans and set up the tables for the dinners.  In addition, the leaders gave us a coupon each week, which was valued at one dollar.  We were able to use the coupons to purchase goodies from the snack bar (a bottle of soda was only five cents).  The boys sleeping quarters were rooms on the second floor above the snack bar.  I remember enjoying the delicious smells of cooking burgers and fries wafting up from below.


I Gave My Heart to Jesus


The summer, I was sixteen, became the most important year of my life.  It was after the evening service at the Church Camp.  A friend, who was my roommate, asked me, “Have you ever asked Jesus to come into your heart?”  I found it strange he would ask me that.  I have been going to church for years and had assumed, and told everyone, I was already saved.  That night, when he asked me that probing question the Holy Spirit convicted me.  My friend said, “Let’s go to the prayer room.”  I don’t remember my roommate being there after that.  I fell on my knees and forthrightly asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and come into my heart.  My confession was followed by a great sense of peace and of a great weight being lifted from my shoulders.  Joy filled my heart as I worshipped my newly found Savior and Lord.  Afterward, I walked across the campground to go to bed as great peals of thunder and bright flashes of lightning announced a coming rain (I like to think the angels were applauding my decision to follow Jesus).   


Two nights later I was praying in the prayer room after service.  I remember having a burden, and praying for my sister Jean when all of a sudden I began speaking in other tongues.  Strange words rolled off my tongue with no conscious effort on my part.  I had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit without specifically asking for it.  (This is not without precedence.  See Acts 10:44).  The next day, during the afternoon service I thought, “Can I still speak in tongues as easily as I did last night?”  As soon as we had opportunity for congregational prayer I opened my mouth to pray.  Once again I spoke in a clear prayer language.  I knew then that the Holy Spirit would never leave me.  And He hasn’t!  I believe it was the power of this “baptism of the Holy Spirit” that kept me from committing, more grievous sins than I did, later, in my weak times with the Lord.   


Mom never did remarry, so I never had a male leader in the house to teach me anything.  I never knew what it was like to call someone “dad” or have a father throw his arms around me and tell me he loved me.  Nevertheless my heavenly Father, who is all sufficient, has given me spiritually what I have missed in the natural and I am truly blessed.  As a child the Assemblies of God helped to feed me when I was hungry.  That helped to save my body.  However, more importantly, they introduced me to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who saved my soul for all eternity.  Therefore, no matter where I go or what church I attend, my heart will always be with the Assemblies of God.  My mother, brothers and sisters, all came to know the Lord as a result of the Assemblies of God’s demonstration of pure religion by caring for one needful family.   That was more than sixty-five years ago.  Although my mother and three of my siblings are now with the Lord, the seed that the Assemblies of God planted in our hearts so long ago is still there.

And that’s my opinion.


READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY                                                   


Larry Parker


March, 2014


 


 




[1]Assemblies




HOLINESS WITHOUT LEGALISM 


When we began our new birth by asking Jesus to forgive us of our sins and accepting Him as Lord of our life, we became a new creation in Him. [1]  We are no longer, our own, and our bodies became a temple of the Holy Spirit. [2]  That is why the Bible says, “…He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." [3]  Therefore, we must maintain the “temple of the Holy Spirit” i.e. our bodies, in holiness.  However, this holiness must not come from legalism.  Dr Charles Stanley has said, “Legalism is the pressure of personal preferences that we impose upon others as moral mandate[s] from God.” [4]  Nevertheless, we can have holiness without legalism.  The apostle Paul put it this way to the Galatians, “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law [rules of men] but by faith in Jesus Christ…”[5]   Therefore, we can obtain holiness through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. 


The “Good” Old Days


When I was growing up in the forties and fifties, there were many mandates our church leaders imposed on members in order for us to be holy, i.e. “saved.”  Women of all ages were not allowed to wear makeup of any kind.  No fancy hairdos.  Slacks were forbidden (thinking women were dressing as men).  If a woman came to church wearing lipstick and earrings, it was assumed she was a sinner, in need of salvation.  Sleeveless dresses and blouses were out.  No dancing!  Even children, were not allowed to dance in any way.  I remember wanting to square dance with other children in my school.  When I did, my mother told me I shouldn’t.  She said to tell the teachers, “Dancing was against my religion.”  After that, all I could do was watch, enviously, from the side lines as the other children danced with delight.  Going to the movies was definitely a no-no.  When we committed any of these “sins” it was taught that we would go to hell if we died before we repented.  If Jesus came while we were in a movie house we would be left behind.  We were required to be solemn and “religious.”  These (rules of men) caused me to lose the joy of my salvation. 


I enjoyed the science fiction and “cowboy” movies of the era and have to admit I did disobey some of the rules.  I knew I couldn’t always live according to them so I would backslide, and not even try to obey; even doing things I knew were against the Bible rather than just men’s opinions.  I thought, “I am ‘lost’ again, so I might as well enjoy myselffor a while anyway.”  Missing my relationship with the Lord, I would buck up, repent and make another attempt to live under the mandates of my church leaders.  After trying again to obey the church’s restrictions I would fail.  And, once again I would repent and come back to follow the rules.  This was a cycle I went through many times during my early Christian life.  My inconsistent Christian life was the product of legalism.   

 


Saved By Faith, Not Legalistic Rules


I eventually learned (from reading Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth) that I did not lose my salvation every time I committed a sin. That’s when my spiritual life changed dramatically.  My love for Jesus grew with the knowledge of the grace of the Lord.  I learned to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling, [6] and that I was justified by faith in Christ rather than works (obeying rules) of the law. [7]  I died to the dictates of my church that I might live for God. [8]  I began to live as Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” 


Legalism in our church was partly supported by a misunderstanding of 1 Timothy 2:9 & 10, which says, “…women [must] adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.”  The legalists focused on the words, “women adorn themselves …not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing…” and forbad them.  They were stealing ouras Galatians 2:4 says, “…liberty which we have in Christ Jesus that they might bring us [unknowing to them] into bondage…”  However, Paul’s subject in his first letter to Timothy is revealed in chapter two, verse two, “…that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”  He was not outright forbidding these things, only that they must be used modestly.  Therefore, congregates ought not to be given a dress code but rather taught that we should dress discreetly. 


We Went Too Far

In the ensuing years, my denomination changed its legalistic views of salvation and began to relax their rules.  That was well and good.  Dancing, movies, makeup, and clothing, of themselves, were not the problem.  It waswhat kind of, dancing, movies, makeup, and clothing you participated in.  Unfortunately, it seems we have gone too far in the opposite direction.  It’s okay now to go to the movies.  However, there are very few movies coming out of Hollywood today that a Christian should watch.  Nevertheless we are not cautioned about avoiding viewing contents that would soil our minds.  The gospel is so watered down today, sin is practically never mentioned. 


As far as clothing is concerned; to put it bluntly, there is too much “cleavage” seen from many women in our churches today.  Personally, I don’t think a view of any cleavage is appropriate for ladies who claim to love and follow Jesus (A teenage boy doesn’t have to ask me why).  Skirts are so short I even had to avert my eyes from the platform one Sunday morning when a women minister was sitting there with uncrossed legs.  Because we have become so permissive in our relationship with Jesus, and each other, we no longer experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, we once had in our meetings.  Too many churches today have become as the Laodiceans of Revelation, chapter three.  They are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot and are in danger of being rejected by Christ. 


A Christian writer, Jackie Alnor, gives us a good explanation of what we need to do about legalism.  She said, “We need to strike the right balance in our church fellowships today, so that we don’t fall into either error of license or legalism. We need to be accountable to one another, confess our faults one to another, bear up one another’s burdens and not be high-minded one against another.  We need to hear messages that encourage us to obey Christ and forsake sin, while at the same time not pay attention to messages [rules] that take away our freedom in Christ to make our own decisions in life as the Spirit leads us.”[9]  This writer is convinced that if inward holiness would be emphasized by pastors and teachers, it will eventually result in an outward appearance of a believer that is holy.   


The Legalism Problem


We have no problem with mandates from the Bible as stated (from the Ten Commandments) by Jesus in Matthew 19:18 such as, “…'you shall not murder,' 'you shall not commit adultery,' 'you shall not steal,' 'you shall not bear false witness,'” however the problem comes from legalistic rules of men set down for believers to follow.  As an example, in Galatians 2:12-14 it was about who you eat with, and about Gentiles being required to live as Jews.  In the book of Acts, the problem was about circumcision.  Paul tells the Galatians that the apostle Peter was not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, and was compelling Gentiles to live as Jews.  He felt compelled to confront Peter on this problem. [10]  In Acts 15, church leaders meet to settle the legalistic problem brought about by certain men from Judea saying, “…Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” [11]   


The result of the meeting, described in Acts, was a statement by the leaders explaining that the believers were to follow only four regulations. [12]  They were to abstain from:    


  1. things offered to idols                        2.  [eating] blood

3.  [eating] things strangled         4.  sexual immorality



The consensus was, “If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.”  There is no biblical authority to add any more rules to that list.  Most people don’t have a problem with the first three abstentions; however, sexual immorality is a frequent problem in the church that must be dealt with.  The reason the Acts church leaders’ emphasized sexual immorality is the fact that it is a sin against the believer’s body, which became a temple of the Holy Spirit when we accepted Christ.


In his first letter to the Corinthians the apostle Paul tells us we are to judge each other when it comes to sexual misconduct.  However, we do not have to be a judge of how anyone should dress nor should we return to the legalistic dress codes of the past.  When a person comes to the Lord, it is important to teach him or her of the need to ask and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  They must be encouraged by spiritual leaders to seek and follow Jesus.  When asked, leaders may give an opinion on dress, but new believers must be given time to be taught by the Holy Spirit; who produces a spirit of self-control.[13]  Holiness must start within the believer.  We must consult the Holy Spirit and listen to Him when clothing ourselves.  If we would do that, dress code problems would take care of themselves without anyone having to follow a legalistic system.

 


And that’s my opinion.


READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY                                                     


Larry Parker


April, 2014




[1] See 2 Corinthians 5:17

[2] See 1 Corinthians 6:19

[3] 1Peter 1:15 & 16 

[4] Dr. Charles Stanley, In Touch, Angel Network, 9/25/2011

[5] Galatians 2:16

[6] See Philippians 2:12

[7] See Galatians 2:16

[8] See Galatians 2:19

[9] See http://rrrapostasyalert.blogspot.com/2011/05/apil-29-2011-show-leaglism-vslicense.html

[10] See Galatians 2:14

[11] Acts 15:1

[12] See Acts 15:29 and  21:25

[13] See Galatians 5:22 & 23

of God News, February 14, 2014

SININ THE LIVES OF BELIEVERS

 

The apostle John tells us, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”[i]  That is because; as long as we are in this mortal flesh we all have a propensity to sin.  However, when we do sin, the apostle goes on to say in verse nine, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Therefore, when we sin we must repent and ask Jesus for His forgiveness.  We must stop the offence to God, and go back to serving Him.

 

However, because some churches have deluded the gospel to a, feel good about yourself mentality, they have allowed sin to remain among their members.  It is a “leaven” that is spoiling a holy church.[ii]  It is part of a, “once saved always saved” doctrine, which does not give room for Hebrews 6:4-6 that says, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”  And 1Corinhians 3:17, “If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” While it is true that we cannot lose our salvation we can abdicate it.

 

When we are “saved” we still retain our free will.  Therefore we can, and will have, eternal salvation as long as we want it.  However, as shown in Hebrews six if we choose, we can reject whom we have previously received.  The apostle Paul gives the Hebrew church warning that if they break fellowship with Christ—by sinning and not repenting— they could harden their hearts to the point of rejecting the conviction of the Holy Spirit and discarding Jesus; from that they will not be forgiven.  Their names will be blotted out of the Lamb’s Book of Life.[iii]  That is the serious problem with the “feel good” gospel!

 

Immoral Behavior Must Not Be Tolerated

 

The apostle Paul addresses the problem of sin in a believer.  He says, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” [iv]  However, in 1 Corinthians, chapter five, he makes a hard point when he says, “we are not to keep company with brothers [or sisters] in the Lord who are sexually immoral.”  That is to say, if we point out to a fellow believer he or she is living in a sexual immoral relationship and they refuse to repent and stop it, we should put away this evil person and not even eat with them.  They are using their body, a temple of the Holy Spirit, as a place of sin and are in danger of God’s destruction.[v]

 

Putting away such a person is hard discipline!  That is why the “feel good” teachers say, “Where is the love in that?”  They go on to say, “We should associate with them and encourage them to continue coming to church, hoping our love will cause them to come back to the Lord.”  But that is not what the Bible teaches.   Paul pronounces a very hard saying, which is, “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”[vi]  God’s Word also says:

 

 

  • Blows [discipline] that hurt cleanse away evil, As do stripes [punishment] the inner depths of the heart (Proverbs 20:30).

  • Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child [immature Christian]; The rod of correction [discipline] will drive it far from him (Proverbs 22:15).

  • Do not withhold correction from a child [immature Christian], For if you beat him with a rod [discipline him], he will not die (Proverbs 23:13).

  • The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child [immature Christian] left to himself brings shame to his [spiritual] mother [or father] (Proverbs 29:15).

  • As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent (Revelation 3:19).

  • If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten (Hebrews 12:7)?

     

    Discipline of believers, is meant to bring the offenders back into fellowship with the Lord and the church by motivating him or her to repent and turn from their sin.  They must be warned that even though they will be forgiven they will still have to suffer the consequences of their sin.  We must follow scripture and return to a biblically based discipline in our churches.  If we will seek wisdom from the Holy Spirit, He will show us how we can have holiness without legalism.  Then, we will be able to, stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and will not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.[vii]  The result will be the revival we have been looking for that will sweep the “leaven” of sin from our churches.  It will begin the final phase of a preparation of cleansing for the “Bride of Christ.”  Then she will become without spot or wrinkle, ready for our soon coming King.  Maranatha! (O Lord Come!)

     

    And that’s my opinion.

    Larry Parker

    May, 2014

     

    READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY



[i] 1 John 1:8

[ii] See 1 Corinthians 5:6 & Galatians 5:9

[iii] See Exodus 32.33

[iv] Galatians 6:1

[v] 1Corinthians 3:16-17, 19

[vi] 1 Corinthians 5:5

[vii] See Galatians 5:1


RIGHTEOUSNESSIN THE LIVES OF BELIEVERS

 

In Romans 3:10 the apostle Paul, says, “There is none righteous, no, not one;” How then, can a believer be righteous?  The answer is found in Romans 5:19, “…by one Man's [Jesus] obedience many will be made righteous.”  When we confess our sins and invite Jesus into our hearts, He washes our sins away and gives us the righteousness He has with the Father.[i]  In Romans 5:18 Paul puts it this way, “Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift [righteousness] came to all men, resulting in justification of life.”  Righteousness is obtained through faith.  “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which Abel obtained witness that he was righteous…”[ii]  When we accept salvation, through Jesus, we become righteous.

 

A Righteous Person Is Not Under the Law

Jesus fulfilled the law and instituted a new covenant of grace with His shed blood.[iii]  Therefore, we become righteous, through salvation, and are no longer under the law.  Jesus said, “…the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate… ”[iv] And, “…I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."[v]  The apostle Paul tells us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”[vi]  However, we do not have a license to sin because we are no longer under the law.  Paul says, “…Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not!   How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”[vii]

   

Benefits of the Righteous

Righteousness, obtained through Jesus, results in His eyes and ears being on us to hear our prayers.[viii]  This fact is confirmed in John 9:31, “Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God [follower of Jesus] and does His will, He hears him.”  The book of Proverbs, Chapters 10-29, especially Chapters ten and eleven, give an impressive list of benefits to the righteous such as the following:  The thoughts of the righteous are right and their house will stand.  The Lord hears their prayer and is a strong tower that they can run to for protection.  Through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.  He is their everlasting foundation and they will never be removed.  Blessings are on the head and memory of the righteous.  They will flourish like foliage and the Lord will not allow their soul to famish.  There is much treasure (not necessarily money) in their house and they will be recompensed on the earth.  Their fruit is a tree of life; especially when they win souls for the Lord.  The righteous will come through trouble; however, no grave trouble will overtake them.  Although they may fall, they will rise again.  Numerous scriptures inform us the righteous will suffer for Jesus’ sake.[ix]  However, Peter tells us, “…even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed.”  “…do not be afraid … nor be troubled.”[x]        

 

What Do The Righteous Do?

Born again Christians practice righteousness.  They are walking in God’s commandments and are blameless.[xi]  They confess their sins and pray for one another that they may be healed.  They pray effective, fervent prayerswhich avails much.[xii]  Proverbs continues with: The righteous walk in their integrity; their children are blessed after them and their goodness shall be repaid.  They choose their friends carefully and are kind to their animals.  They consider the cause of the poor and feed many.  They give and do not spare.  They study how to answerand their mouths and lips are choice silver; a well of life that knows what is acceptable to bring forth wisdom.  Their labor leads to life.  Therefore, their desire is only good and will be granted.  The righteous eat [the Word] to the satisfying of their souls.  They are bold as lions; they sing and rejoice in the Lord. 

 

Phony Righteousness

In Acts 20:29 we are warned, “…savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.”  Christians must be aware of people who pretend to be righteous.  We are to, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”[xiii]  Jesus said they, “…outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside … [they] are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”[xiv]  He also said, “… [they] trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.”[xv]  Some evil people, inspired by the devil send, “…spies who pretended to be righteous…” into churches to stir up trouble.[xvi]

 

Finally

The righteous do not fear death; they take refuge in it, for they will go to heaven.[xvii]  They will be given crowns and their righteous acts will become robes of righteousness.[xviii]  Isaiah 61:3 says, “…That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”  Jesus declares, “…The righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.[xix]  The apostle Paul sums it up when he tells Timothy, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”[xx]  Maranatha! (O Lord Come!)

 

And that’s my opinion.

Larry Parker

June, 2014



[i] John 17:25, Revelations 16:5

[ii] Hebrews 11:4

[iii] See Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24 & Hebrews 8:13

[iv] 1Timonthy 1:9

[v] See Mark 2:17 & Luke 5:32

[vi] Ephesians 2:8-9

[vii] Romans 6:1-2

[viii] 1Peter 3:12

[ix] Acts 5:41, 9:16, Romans 8:17, 1 Corinthians 12:26, 2 Corinthians 1:5-6, Galatians 5:11, 6:12, Philippians 1:29,

    4:12, 1 Thessalonians 3:4, 2 Thessalonians 1:5, 1 Timothy 4:10, 2 Timothy 1:12, 2:9, 2:12, 3:12, 1 Peter 2:20,

    3:14, 3:17, 4:16, 4:19, and Revelation 2:10.

[x] 1Peter 3:14

[xi] Luke 1:6, 1John 2:29

[xii] James 5:16

[xiii] Matthew 7:15

[xiv] Matthew 23:28

[xv] Luke 18:9

[xvi]  Luke 20:20                                                                                                                                      

[xvii] Mat 25:46

[xviii] Revelation 19:8 & Isaiah 61:10

[xix] Matthew 13:43

[xx] 2Timonthy 4:8


THE RAPTURE

The time when Jesus will return for usgather us in the air and change our bodies from mortal to immortal, glorified bodiesis what we call, “The Rapture.”  Last November I wrote an opinion titled, “The Rapture and Daniel’s 70th Week.”  Because the timing of this event is so important I will focus again on this subject.  While we cannot know the day or hour when that event will occur;[1] we can ask, “Will it happen before, in the middle of, or at the end of the tribulation period?”  We can answer that question from the Bible.

We do that by referring to the following scriptures which clearly talk about the rapture.  “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”[2]  Matthew 24:31 reveals, “…He [Jesus] will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect [the Church] from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.  This same fact is repeated in Mark 13:27, “…He [Jesus] will send His angels, and gather together His elect [the Church] from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth [people who are alive] to the farthest part of heaven [people who have died before us].

However, we must understand there is no Jewish elect and Gentile elect nor are there a Jewish Church and or Gentile Church.  There is only one elect Church!  When Jesus talks about His elect He is not talking about the Jews or Gentiles, He is talking about His Church.  The rapture scriptures continue in 2Thssalonians 2:1 with the preface, “…concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him…”  Let’s read these scriptures in context. 

 

The Context of the Rapture Scriptures

 

We learn from 1Corithians 15:52, that when the rapture occurs, at the sound of the last trumpet, we will be changed into glorified bodies.  Matthew 24:31 and Mark 13:27 both reveal the rapture as the subject of those chapters.  When we read the chapters from the beginning, with the rapture in mind, we find additional, surprising, details.  Thus, by looking into the context of the rapture scriptures and the added specifics they present; we can know where they fit in relation to the tribulation period.

 

In Matthew 24:4 and Mark 13:5 Jesus precedes His comments on the end times and the rapture with the statement, “Take heed that no one deceives you.”  In his letter to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul begins his discussion on the rapture with the same warning, “Let no one deceive you by any means.”  Then Paul reveals to us the fact that the rapture will not happen until after the Antichrist is revealed.[3]  And in 1Thessaloions 4:16-17 he says, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” 

 

The scriptures are clearly warning us that we must take heedso that we won’t be deceived as to the timing of the rapture.  Contrary to what you may have been told there are still some prophases yet to be fulfilled, before Jesus comes back for us.  The following verses tell us what prophases to look for:

  • Matthew 24:6-8, Mark 13:7-9: The “beginning of sorrows” with wars and rumors of wars; earthquakes; famines and troubles.  These prophases have already begun.   

  • Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14: The “Abomination of Desolation.”

  • Matthew 24:21 Mark 13:19: The Great Tribulation.

  • Matthew 24:29, Mark 13:24-25: After that, the sun will be darkened; the moon will not give its light, and the stars (asteroids) will fall.

  • Matthew 24:30, Mark 13:26: Everyone will see Jesus coming.

  • Matthew 24:31, Mark 13:27: The Rapture will occur after these signs.

     

    Conclusions

     

    The Abomination of Desolation occurs in the middle of the seven-year tribulation period,[4] followed by the Great Tribulation, which is Satan’s persecution of the saints (not God’s wrath).  The Antichrist’s fury on God’s people will be cut short[5] by the rapture.  The sign that the rapture is about to happen (we don’t know the day or time) is when the sun and moon are darkened during a great meteor shower.  Suddenly, everyone will see Jesus appear in the sky with power and great glory.  With the sound of a great trumpet blast Jesus’ angels will gather His Church in the rapture.

     

Because Jesus will be seen in the heavens (sky) by the saved, and sinners alike, Revelation 6:15-17 says, “And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!’  For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”  That’s when God’s great trumpet will sound and Jesus will send His angels to gather together those of us who are looking for Him.

 

In Matthew twenty-five, just after Jesus talks about the rapture, He likenscoming to heavenas a bride coming to be married. "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.”[6]  “…the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding…. ”[7]

 

A prophecy in Psalms 23:5 that says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” has never been fulfilled.  Could it be that God will prepare the table of the marriage supper of the lamb, in the sky, in full view of those who have been left behind in the rapture?  It sounds like it could be when I read Revelation 19:6-9:

 

And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude [just raptured?], as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, "Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!  Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready."  And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.  Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!' “And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God.

 

God’s Wrath Finally Released

 

The last seal on the scroll will be opened and God’s wrath will be poured out on those who are left behind.[8]  We can only conclude we have been deceived concerning the rapture, which will happen as God says, not as man says.  The rapture will not occur before the seven-year tribulation period begins.  The Church will suffer the wrath of Satan during the Great Tribulation, which is within the seven-year tribulation period.  Thispersecution of the saints by Satan[9]will be cut short by the rapture.

 

In Hebrews eleven we read how some received the promise here and others in heaven.  In Revelations 12:11 we learn, “…they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”  Those who believe what the Bible says and have drawn close to Jesus before these events occur will have learned how to trust Him and will not fear what is about to happen.  May Jesus find us sharing the gospel to the far corners of the world; obeyingThe Last Commission.[10] 

 

And that’s my opinion.

                                                                                       Larry Parker

July, 2014

READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY



THE RESTRAINER AND THE RAPTURE


Jesus disciples asked Him, “Tell us …what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"[1]  In His answer Jesus said, “…For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.[2]  In Daniel 12:1b the man Jesus said, “…there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation…


  write that it was Jesus speaking to Daniel, because in Daniel’s vision of the end times, the messenger’s “… body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.[3]  This is a description of Jesus!  The Bible says in Revelation 1:15, “His [Jesus’] feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters.”  When Jesus spoke to John in Revelation 14:1-2, His voice was, “…like the voice of many waters…”[4] 


 In Matthew 24:21 Jesus tells us, “…there will be great tribulation…” Then, in verse 31 He tells us the rapture will follow (the great tribulation).  In Mark 13:24-27 Jesus says:



But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.  Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.   And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth [the living] to the farthest part of heaven [the dead].[5]

Jesus says, “…He will send His angels, and gather together His elect…”  He is using a similar phrase that Paul uses in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 when he says, “our gathering together to Him [Jesus].  Both scriptures are clearly referring to the rapture.

e RC (religiously correct) position of many in the Church today isthe Antichrist will not be revealed until after the rapture of the Church and the tribulation period begins.  They mistakenly say this seven year period won’t begin until the “restrainer” has been removed, and that 2 Thessalonians 2:7 proves it when it says, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.”


Some pre-tribulation proponents say the Church is the restrainer who is holding back sin from overtaking the earth (others think he is the Holy Spirit).  Therefore, they determine, the Church must be raptured first.  How has the Church restrained sin in the world?  If you look back at the United States over its 240 plus years of history, you must agree that sin has not been held back; in fact, it has overtaken this country more than everand at a faster pace in our own lifetimes.  Reality proves them wrong!  Pre-trib. proponents cannot prove that the Church is the restrainer.  The Church has not restrained sin in the United States.  Consequently, the Church is not the restrainer.  


The RC position; that the Antichrist will not be revealed until after the rapture of the Church, must, as all doctrine, be proved by scripture.  However, it can’t be because 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 refutes that view: 


Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our [the Church] gathering together to Him [the rapture], we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.  Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the rapture] will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin [the Antichrist] is revealed…


The scriptures quoted above inform us the Church will not be taken away (raptured) until after the Antichrist has been revealed.  2 Thessalonians 2:7 & 8 say the Antichrist will not be revealed until after the restrainer is taken away:


For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.  And then the lawless one will be revealed….


Paul is clearly telling the Church of the Thessalonians, “Don’t be fooled, the rapture will not happen until after the Antichrist has been revealed.  I don’t see how anyone can read it any other way.  If the Church is not raptured until after the Antichrist is revealed and the Antichrist cannot be revealed until after the restrainer is taken out of the way, then we must accept the fact that neither the Church nor the Holy Spirit can be the restrainer.  Therefore, scriptural logic eliminates the Church and the Holy Spirit as the restrainer.    


Who Is The Restrainer?


In the context of Daniel twelve and Second Thessalonians Two, the time of trouble (great tribulation) came after the archangel Michael “stood up.”


At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time… (Daniel 12:1).


 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He [Michael] who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.  And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming (2Thessalonians 2:6-7).


In 2 Thessalonians 2:6 & 7, the word for restraining and restrains is translated from the same Greek word, katech­, which means to hold down.  When Michael stands up he is no longer holding down (restraining) Satan from a full scale attack on Israel.  Therefore, I along with others have concluded that the archangel Michael is the restrainer.


After Michael stands up Satan will be free to attack Israel any way he wants, in addition to attacking the Church.  The scriptural fact is that the Antichrist will not be revealed until after the restrainer (the chief angel Michael) is taken out of the way during the seven-year tribulation period.  Therefore, the RC position, that the rapture will happen before the tribulation period begins, is incorrect.  It is time to think out of the RC box, while staying in the Bible.


We Must Learn How to Overcome


As persecution of Christians increase in this country we must have the courage to stand up for Jesuseven if it means going to Jail, or worst.  In reading through First and Second Corinthians I find that time after time when the Jews were faced with far superior forces and they trusted in God rather than their own strength, God defended them and they won the battle.  If we will learn how to trust Jesus for all things, we need not fear what is coming.  God will protect us!  Nevertheless, we must have the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego who said to the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (who was about to throw them into a furnace), “…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.  But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”[6]  Revelations 12:11puts it this way, “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.[7]  That is how we overcome.  Jesus says, “he who overcomes:”


  • Shall eat from the tree of life – Revelation 2:7
  • Shall not be hurt by the second death – Revelation 2:11
  • Will be given some of the hidden manna to eat –  Revelation 2:17
  • Will be given a new name written on a white stone – Revelation 2:17
  • Will be given power over the nations – Revelation 2:26


 But best of all, in Revelations 3:21 Jesus says He will grant, those of us who overcome, the right to sit with Him on His throne.  WOW!


And that’s my opinion!                                                                                     Larry Parker

August, 2014

READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY




[1] Matthew 24:3b

[2] Matthew 24:21

[3] Daniel 10:6

[4] See also Ezekiel 43:2,

[5] Emphasis added

[6] Daniel 3:17-18

[7] NASV, Emphasis added





[1] Matthew 24:36

[2] 1Corithians 15:51-52

[3] 2Thessalonians 2:3

[4] Daniel 9:27

[5] Matthew. 24:22

[6] Matthew 25:1

[7] Matthew 25:10

[8] Revelation 8:1-2

[9] Daniel 7:25, Revelation 13:7

[10] Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:45-47, John 20:21