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Church of the Firstborn (Part I): Certified Citizens of God's Eternal City



Have you ever been mischaracterized? Ever been prejudged, stereotyped, or carelessly lumped into a category that does not uniquely describe who you are? Well then, maybe you can relate with a Jewish believer in Jesus who is instructed by certain Gentile church traditions that his national identity as an Israelite means essentially nothing now that he is "in Christ" where there is neither Jew nor Greek (cf. Gal. 3:28). "What about the promise of the land under the Abrahamic covenant?" The befuddled Jewish believer might ask. In reply, the predominant Gentile answer throughout the centuries has been: forget about those earthly things—that was a mere shadow of the greater "spiritual" realities that have arrived and will ultimately trump any "carnal" notions such as the modern Zionist movement.

Or, perhaps you can empathize with the Gentile Christian who is caught up in a Hebrew Roots faction and feels compelled to learn Hebrew, keep certain regulations in the Mosaic law, and meet on Saturdays out of fear that he or she will become a second-class saint, or worse, eternally cut off from God's people. After all, isn't the Gentile believer in Yeshua (Jesus) grafted into "the commonwealth of Israel" and obligated to obey her covenanted laws?

And for those who are privileged members of the body of Christ during this present age of God's grace and restraint, what is the rationale for reading the Church into the 70th week of Daniel? What if, as some might have you believe, there is no escape from the coming Tribulation. Must I endure to the end with my faith intact as the only way to be counted worthy of entering the kingdom? And after wading through all the cut-and-paste collages from Matthew and Revelation that isolate words like "elect" and "saint," maybe you think it would be better to move to Israel or build a bunker in New Zealand. Call me a conspiracist, but among some of the more virulent, anti Pre-trib caricatures and portrayals out there, I suspect an intentional effort to obscure and avoid the clear dispensational distinctions among God's people marked out in the rest of Scripture.

Sadly, the scenarios described above are all-too-common and stem from a haphazard treatment of the text of Scripture. To be fair, in some cases the confusion arises from those who have great zeal for the Lord, but lacking further knowledge on the subject, they persist in error and cause weaker brethren to stumble (cf. Rom. 10:2). A bird is a bird, some will say, and the elect are the elect—potato, potata. Ok, try telling an avid birdwatcher that all birds are the same and distinctions don't matter. Is a blue jay a cardinal? Is a penguin a flamingo? Do all have the same form and function? Are all able to fly to great heights?

Alas, it's this kind of glib response to eschatology that I want to address in this next series entitled "Church of the Firstborn." In this post I'll mainly focus on the implications of being identified with Christ as "the firstborn from the dead" (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5). The Church's connection with Christ, the ultimate firstborn, means that the body of Christ will be the very first group of God's people to experience total redemption and glorification before Gentile believers who are saved during the Tribulation (the so-called "Trib saints"), the future remnant of Israel, Old Testament saints, and even Millennial saints.


The Church as the Firstborn Fellow-Citizen of God's City

Mount Zion in Heaven. The New Jerusalem. The City of the Living God. Some call it a fantasy. The faithful call it: Home.


According to a fascinating passage in the book of Hebrews, we are shown a glimpse of God's dwelling place on high that includes a diverse host of creatures. There is both unity and diversity. And so, for the purposes of our current study, let's call it God's DiverCity. Here's the preview:

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel" (Heb. 12:22-24, NIV).

Question: Why not save some ink and papyrus and simply state, "You have come to God and the elect of all ages"?

Answer: Because there are key distinctions to be made not only among the saints [holy ones] of God but also of God Himself, who is a Triune being: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I believe the portion highlighted above from Hebrews 12:23 reveals an exclusive signification of believers in this present age [the Church/Christ's body]. We who have been baptized by the Spirit into one body are given the same title as Jesus in other passages ["firstborn"; cf. Heb. 1:6]. Also, the mention of our names written in heaven alludes to a large number of Gentiles. I'll address my reasoning on this point soon enough.

First, a word about the unity and diversity within God's household:

Though some believe there will be a progressive blurring of the distinction between Israel and the church in the Millennium and eternal state, the biblical evidence seems to indicate that each group of saints will retain its identity (cf. Heb. 12:22-24). This can be inferred also from the fact that the names of the twelve tribes of Israel will be inscribed on the gates of the heavenly city and the names of the twelve apostles of the church will be inscribed on the city's foundation (Rev. 21:12, 14)...[i]n short, in the eternal kingdom there will be one family of God with a diversity of members" (Donald K. Campbell, "The Church in God's Prophetic Program," from Essays in Honor of J. Dwight Pentecost, 160-61).

Unquestionably, fellow members of the body of Christ have nothing to boast about except the sovereign grace and mercy of the LORD, and the same goes for the redeemed of all ages (cf. 1 Cor. 1:29-31). However, there is something truly unique and exclusive regarding the title, "church of the firstborn."

By "firstborn," we are talking about the Church's spiritual union and co-heirship with the Son of God, the preeminent One (Col. 1:15; Rom. 8:29; Heb. 2:12-13). More specifically, Jesus rose from the dead and was glorified first. And even though Paul can presently say we have been raised up with Christ and seated with Him in heaven (Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1-4), there still remains an already-but-not-yet incompleteness to Christ's glorification until He comes again to gather His body (1 Thess. 4:13-18).

As a consequence of failing to discern the mystical union of Christ and His body, the corporate representation of the firstborn "male-child" of Revelation 12:5 has been lost on many, though certainly not all (see Gary's post, "Conservative Scholars Agree: The Male Child is the Church").

The Church, the one new man of Ephesians 2:15, prior to Pentecost circa AD 33 had remained hidden, "a mystery," but then God's plan was explained and illuminated especially through the writings of Paul. The apostle excitedly proclaims that Gentiles together with Jews make up a new and distinct "body" (Eph. 2:16), "in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:13), who now have become "fellow citizens with the saints" and "members of God's household" (Eph. 2:19).

While God's household [i.e. the Father's house] appears to be the overarching, unifying phrase for the redeemed of all ages, there is a sharper distinction when it comes to the Head of our current household, namely, Jesus, the Son of God. Once again, I give you a quotation from the author of the book of Hebrews:

Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's household, as a testimony to what would be said in the future. But Christ was faithful as a Son over his household. And we are that household..." (Heb. 3:5-6, CSB, emphasis mine).

Hmmm. Christ as head over a household? Where else do we find this tight-knit, familial relationship? Ah, yes. Paul's letter to the Ephesians:

...the husband is head of the wife as also Christ is head of the church. He is the Savior of the body...Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy...to present the church to Himself in splendor without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and blameless...we are members of His body...[t]his mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church" (Eph. 5:23, 25-27, 30, 32, HCSB, emphasis mine).

You won't find this kind of relationship in past ages [dispensations], and nor will it ever occur again in the ages to come. The mystery of Christ and His church is profound, indeed.

So, fellow-firstborn citizen of God's household, does this mean that you are any better than Adam, Moses, David, or John the Baptist? Are you more fit for the kingdom than one who gets beheaded by the Antichrist, an Israelite who hides out in the wilderness during the final years of this age, or the last person saved at the end of the Millennium just before Satan is released from the abyss?

No, no. We won't go that far (cf. Lk. 10:20). Nevertheless, we who are members of Christ's body are a select group that will retain our unique identity throughout the ages to come (Eph. 1:20-23; 2:6-7). We did not do anything to earn or deserve this privilege, because all of what we receive is grace, grace, grace. So, just be thankful that you have been providentially born between Pentecost and the Rapture. What a blessing!


Born from Above: Super-naturalized Citizens of Zion

Recall the highlighted portion from Hebrews 12:23 above: The body of Christ is "the church of the firstborn whose names are written in heaven."  I believe the underlined phrase is an allusion to a great number of Gentiles who have been granted heavenly "birth certificates" by the God and Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Where is the biblical precedent for such a grand assumption? Back to the Hebrew Bible, we go! There is a little-known song tucked away in the Psalter, a prophetic piece of Scripture that essentially previews the well-known New Testament concept of being "born again," or better yet, "born from above" (Jn 3:6-7).

Take a look at Psalm 87 (CSB):

   (1) The city He founded is on the holy mountains.
   (2) The LORD loves Zion's city gates more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
   (3) Glorious things are said about you, city of God. Selah.

   (4) "I will make a record of those who know me: Rahab [Egypt], Babylon, Philistia, Tyre, and Cush
          —each one was born there."
   (5) And it will be said of Zion, "This one and that one were born in her." The Most High himself
         will establish her.
   (6) When He registers the peoples, the LORD will record, "This one was born there." Selah.

   (7) Singers and dancers alike will say, "My whole source of joy is in you."

Did you catch the central focus of the psalm (verses 4–6)? Not only does the exclusive emphasis on Gentiles stand out amidst the other psalms, but also the brief list of nations that will enjoy the privileges of citizenship is striking: Egypt (cf. Isa. 30:7), Babylon, Philistia, Tyre, and Cush? These cast of characters are usually the villains in the biblical narrative. What a turn of events!

I imagine this passage of Scripture was glossed over and avoided by scribes and prophets with attitudes like Jonah (cf. Jon. 4:1-4, 11). Frankly, for the Pharisee and ardent Israeli nationalist, there's just too much grace here for comfort. You mean to tell me the LORD, the God of Israel, is going to be giving out birth certificates and citizenship privileges to people who were once His enemies? Yep, that's always been part of the plan (cf. Rom. 5:10; Eph. 2:11-13).

Far from taking anything away from Israel by adding in the Gentiles, God's eternal city has plenty of room to handle the masses:

Zion will be enriched in that day by this acquisition of new citizens. All nations in that day will look to Zion as the 'mother city.' God's writing their names in a register figuratively describes His ensuring them a place in Zion" (Allen P. Ross, "Psalms," in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, 857).

Zion is the mother city. This gives a whole new perspective on why many graduates refer to their former collegiate institutions as an "alma mater," Latin for "nourishing/kind mother" (cf. Isa. 54:1, 11-13; 66:10-13). Now, if only we could transfer some of that passion and zeal that some have for their college sports teams into winning souls for God's team and making new citizens of Zion...

This image of Mount Zion, the city of God, as a mother is really explicit in the Greek translation of Psalm 87 (which is Psalm 86:5 in the LXX):

Mother Zion!' A man will say. And [that] man was born in her. The Most High has established her foundation" (my translation, from Rahlfs and Hanhart, eds., Septuaguinta: SESB edition). 

Among other OT passages and "Mother Zion" imagery, surely the apostle Paul had Psalm 86:5 (LXX) in mind when he wrote:

...the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother" (Gal. 4:26, ESV, emphasis mine).

And even though Paul benefited from his status as an Israelite, born a Hebrew of Hebrews (Php. 3:5), and though his Roman citizenship got him out of a pinch, a time or two (Acts 22:22-29), the apostle nevertheless kept his eye on the real prize (Php. 3:14, 20-21)—much like his physical and spiritual forefather in the faith, Abraham:

By faith he [Abraham] stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, co-heirs of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (Heb. 11:9-10, HCSB, emphasis mine).

Like the faithful men and women who have gone before us, do you also see what they saw from a distance (Heb. 11:13-16)? Will you be among those who rejoice in Zion, the mother city, whose names have been recorded in the book of life? If you are thirsty and longing for home, then take the gift of a permanent eternal residence with God being offered freely (Rev. 21:6-7; 22:17).

We are without excuse. Names are being added to God's heavenly census across the world, and the Church of the firstborn is blessed to have even more insight than even Abraham or Paul, thanks in part to John, the author of the last book of the Bible (see Revelation chapters 21–22):

I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband..." (Rev. 21:2, HCSB).


Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

The apostle John concludes the book of Revelation with the cry of every heart that longs for the promise of John 14:1-3 to be fulfilled, "Come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:20). Our Lord is preparing a place for us, and He is coming back to gather His body, the Church of the firstborn, in order that we may be with Him at the Father's house in heaven.

As firstfruits unto the Lord (Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 15:20-23; Eph. 1:12; 2 Thess. 2:13; Jm. 1:18), we will be the first group of saints and fellow-citizens of the mother city to be resurrected/raptured/glorified. Our born again/born from above moment truly and ultimately occurs at the time of the resurrection and rapture—an event that takes place before the seven-sealed scroll is opened (see my previous post).

Let's go over a brief rundown of the timing of our glorification as revealed in Revelation.

Jesus says to the churches (and the whole body) via Philadelphia:

All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name" (Rev. 3:12, NLT, emphasis mine).

Thus, the overcoming Church will be born [glorified] first and become citizens of Zion, because they are also promised an escape from the entire Tribulation period (Rev. 3:10). Note also the "crown" in Rev. 3:11 + the "white garments" + the recording of names in Rev. 3:5.

Next, we have the promise of sitting on Christ's throne (Rev. 3:21). All in all, before we get to the open door of Rev. 4:1 (cf. Rev. 3:8), we've got crowns, white clothes, and thrones promised to the firstborn Church.

Turning over a new leaf now, we arrive at chapter 4 and the newly glorified body of Christ is represented by the 24 elders...wait for it...wait for it...wearing crowns, white garments, and sitting on thrones! (see Rev. 4:4). Yep, just as the Lord had promised.


* Note: The Church of the firstborn cast their crowns at the feet of the Father, despite the popular song, "We fall down, we lay our crowns, at the feet of Jesus..." (Rev. 4:10-11).

Then, in chapter 5 we see the elders again now pictured with the Lamb "in the midst of the [Father's] throne" (Rev. 5:6). The verses of the song in Rev. 5:9-10 should include the first person plural pronoun in verse 9, "...[You] purchased/redeemed us by Your blood from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation..." and third person plural pronouns in verse 10, "[and] made them kings and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth."* Notice how the song of the newly redeemed Church, which is loaded with Gentile representation, echoes the opening chorus of John's letter to the churches in Rev. 1:5-6.

*For a detailed explanation of this antiphonal, call-and-response singing arrangement between the Church and the four living creatures, see Greg Lauer's article, "The 24 Elders Revisited."

The Church of the firstborn appears here and there as the visions of heaven develop throughout the rest of the book. A few other noteworthy passages are Rev. 12:5, 10-12; 19:4, 14-15. Finally, as the chronology of the Second Coming of Christ progresses; after Jesus and the holy ones of heaven physically return to earth to defeat the Antichrist and his armies, and after Satan is bound, look closely at what follows...

Revelation 20:4:

Then I saw thrones and seated on them were those who had been given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. These had not worshiped the beast or his image and had refused to receive his mark on their forehead or hand. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years" (NET, emphasis mine).

There are those thrones again. Those seated on them are given the authority to judge (Rev. 3:21; 4:4; cf. Matt. 19:28; 1 Cor. 6:2-3), and John sees this ruling authority take their place before the martyrs of the Tribulation are raised from the dead.

Yes, the Tribulation saints will co-reign with Christ and the Church of the firstborn during the Millennium. However, the Church and the Tribulation saints are two distinct groups within the fellow-citizens and saints of God's household. Yes, there is only one "first resurrection" (Rev. 20:5-6). However, we should reject the idea that this is only a one-time event rather than something that will actually occur in phases, or progressive stages.

After all, are the saints born in the Millennium not afforded this privilege of taking part in the first resurrection? If the first resurrection was a one-time event and conflated with the resurrection/rapture of the Church and glorification of the Tribulation martyrs, what then about these Millennial saints not even physically born, let alone spiritually born? Alas, the truth of the critical phases of the first resurrection calls for wisdom and discernment.

If the rulers and judges of the first clause of Rev. 20:4 are already in a glorified state when the dust has barely settled after Armageddon and right before the Tribulation saints are resurrected, then that leaves only the Church of the firstborn to qualify for such a description.

Rejoice, you members of the Church of the firstborn! Your citizenship is assured and your names are written in heaven. You will also be the first to be glorified, and you are not appointed to wrath (the 7-year-long wrath of the seven-sealed scroll yet to be opened by the Lamb standing among His glorified body).

Are you ready? Have you grown weary of the wilderness wandering, and do you long for the city of God? Then you can join with the saint(s), who penned, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."

Set your sights on that which is above and lift up your voice in praise to our God. Give Him thanks, because He is good and His faithful love endures forever (Ps. 107:1-9). One day, one day very soon, we will see the glorious city for ourselves.

I think the writer(s) of "Come Thou Fount" may have had Psalm 87 in mind. In Psalm 87:7, the singers in the city of God sing (literally), "All my springs/fountains are in you."

All together now:


Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it
mount of God's redeeming love...


Stay tuned for Part II...
Post A Comment

116 comments :

  1. I am excited for this series, Jeff! What a timely article. As always, you have a way of expressing deep theological teachings in a manner that breathes life, light and joy. It is truly astonishing that we have not only been born in this time, but that God chose us to be part of this age and to partake of the mystery & wonder that is the Church of the firstborn. I am grieved for all the years I did not fully grasp the implications of this, and if only every other living soul wandering among us could see it too! Thank you for being faithful in your calling to help open our eyes and point us to the unimaginable glory awaiting us and the unspeakable faithfulness, grace and mercy of God. Wow. Who am I, as David said. Praise and thanks be to our beautiful God!

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    2. This may be off-topic but I wondered if you can provide any further insight on Rev. 3:12. The direct-from-Greek translation and the KJV / NKJV don't interpret this verse the same way other translations do, and it's no small difference. The portion in question is regarding the city.

      The Greek records that on these people are written 3 things: "the name of My God," "the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem," and "My new name."

      Reading other translations, such as the NLT, we come away with 2 things written: "the name of My God" and "My new name."

      Do you have any clarity on this?

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    3. Hi Hillary!

      You're correct. The NLT has taken liberty to paraphrase the words in question, but the Greek text has 3 names: the name of My God, the name of the city of My God, and My new name.

      The NLT fit well with my theme, lol.

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  2. Jeff...Wherw is the Love...Hillary just so blessedly poured out her heart with?

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    1. I love you, Stan! I pray that you will reconsider the wonderful implications of being a member of Christ's body, the Church of the firstborn, especially when it comes to the timing of our glorification.

      Peace, brother.

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    2. "Must I endure to the end with my faith intact as the only way to be counted worthy of entering the kingdom?"
      "And after wading through all the cut-and-paste collages from Matthew and Revelation that isolate words like "elect" and "saint," maybe you think it would be better to move to Israel or build a bunker in New Zealand."
      Just so true, Jeff!

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    3. Jeff – I admire your passion for the Lord and your perseverance regarding your beliefs. However, while you are praying for post-tribbers to reconsider the wonderful implications of a pre-trib rapture, many post-tribbers are also praying for pre-tribbers to do the same about the wonderful implications of a post-trib rapture that adheres to the word of God. Please know when I make comments on this site it is only because of my own love for the Lord and others, not because I want to cause division.

      While there are many things I would love to address about your article, I am going to point out just one because of its saliency.

      You indicated that the “24 elders” spoken of in Revelation 4:4 are the church. How is that possible, even as a symbolic representation? Where in the bible does 24 elders represent the whole church, the entire body of Christ? Please contrast the vast difference between the “24 elders” and the “great multitude that no one can count” in Revelation 7:9 when John is describing believers in heaven. Am I supposed to the think that “24 elders” is the whole church, yet the “great multitude” is the tribulation saints? If so, we have a teeny tiny church and Jesus has the tiniest body, and yet there are a huge amount of people who get saved during tribulation…

      You pointed out that the 24 elders are dressed in white and have crowns on their heads (just like believers will have when we are raptured/resurrected) AND that they are present at the throne in heaven BEFORE the 1st seal is broken, so therefore, this is your evidence that the church is raptured before the tribulation. However, this CANNOT POSSIBLY fit because of the following verse which clearly points out that rewards are given AFTER Jesus appears in GLORY (not a secret, non- glorifying, invisible appearing in the clouds that only Christians see). Please read and understand.

      ***Matthew 16:27, “For the Son of Man shall come in THE GLORY of his Father with his angels; AND THEN he shall reward every man according to his works.”***

      When does Jesus reward the believers? Answer: after the Son of Man comes.

      How does Jesus come? Answer: In GLORY with his angels.

      When does Jesus come in GLORY? Answer: AFTER the tribulation. Read Matthew 24:30, Mark 13:26, Luke 21:27, Matthew 25:31-34, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10

      Therefore, the 24 elders cannot be the church. They may be wearing crowns and have white robes on, but the glorious appearing of the Lord does not happen until after the tribulation. These 24 elders must then be simply others who are not clearly or fully revealed to us.

      Furthermore, Isaiah 2:17 says that in the Day of the Lord (which we all seem to agree starts right after the resurrection/rapture), “THE LORD ALONE WILL BE EXALTED IN THAT DAY.” He will be glorified and exalted. That leaves absolutely no room for the Antichrist to ALSO be exalted during the Day of the Lord as indicated in Daniel 11:36 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. God will not share His glory with the Antichrist. The Day of the Lord must start after the Antichrist has been defeated…at the end of the 7 year tribulation.

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    4. Whoops...I didn't mean to type that the Day of the Lord starts after the Antichrist has been defeated. I meant to say that the Day of the Lord starts after the tribulation in order to defeat the Antichrist and to punish and judge all of the unrighteous. The Day of the Lord is God's wrath.

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    5. I thought these were good reads, which theorize that the 24 elders represent the church.


      www.alittlestrength.com/articles/2017/1711-elders-revisited.htm

      www.alittlestrength.com/articles/2017/1712-missing-piece.htm

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    6. Tracy,

      I hear what you're saying. However, I'm not optimistic that we could even begin to have a productive conversation about this topic if we don't even agree on basic definitions for terms and phrases such as "Day of the LORD," "God's wrath," "Tribulation," and "that Day." Your definitions appear to be very narrow and woodenly literal.

      For example, do you realize that most census numbers in the Bible counted only the men, not the women and children? (e.g. the account of Jesus feeding the 5,000: Matt. 14:21; Lk. 9:14). Don't you think that this principle could also apply to the 144,000 and 24 elders?

      And yes, there will be large numbers of people from all nations who will be saved during the Tribulation [Trib saints] precisely because God will shake the world like never before in such a short period of time. The result of God's swift and sudden judgments will be a multitude of "woke people" after the sudden disappearance of so many Christians.

      And I second Brandon Haynes notion: Greg Lauer knows his stuff, and those two articles are top-notch.

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    7. Hi Tracy,

      re: your comment "the wonderful implications of a post-trib rapture" - I must admit, I've studied Bible prophecy for a few decades and there's 8 words I have never seen linked together before! 'Post-trib rapture' linked with 'wonderful'? After speaking of the signs of the end and the terrifying things that are to come on this earth, Jesus told us to pray that we may be able to escape all these things and stand before the Son of Man (Luke 21:36). That is our hope. Not a 'wonderful post-trib rapture. Jesus said that there has never been a time on earth as horrific as what the great tribulation will be nor will there ever be again. (Matt 24:21) So yeah... never heard of a post-trib rapture being described as wonderful before!

      Anyway, that wasn't why I wanted to reply. You wrote:

      "You indicated that the “24 elders” spoken of in Revelation 4:4 are the church. How is that possible, even as a symbolic representation? Where in the bible does 24 elders represent the whole church, the entire body of Christ?"

      I'm going to leave you in the capable hands of H.A. Ironside. Longish for a post but well worth reading. I used to wonder 'why 24? Is that a symbolic number? Can it represent the whole?' And I found my answer to that in what he wrote. Please also think about his comment that there can be no elders with a 'victors' crown in heaven until the Lord comes at the rapture...

      (Note I'll have to post it below as I've hit a limit! :) Oooops!)

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    8. H.A. Ironside on the 24 elders:

      "The fourth verse (Rev 4:4) brings before us a sight never beheld in Heaven on any previous occasion: twenty-four thrones (not merely “seats”) surrounding the central throne and on them twenty-four elders seated with victors’ crowns (not diadems) on their heads, and clothed in priestly robes of purest white. Who are these favored ones gathered around the glorious central Being? I think their identity is clear if we compare Scripture with Scripture and distrust our own imagination, which can only lead us astray.

      In 1 Chronicles 24, we read of something very similar; again I would remind you that many of John’s first readers were Hebrews, thoroughly familiar with the Old Testament. Every Jewish believer would remember the twenty-four elders appointed by King David to represent the entire Levitical priesthood. He divided the priests into twenty-four courses, each course to serve for two weeks at a time in the temple which Solomon was to build. The same arrangement was in force when our Lord’s forerunner was announced. Zacharias was “of the course of Abiah,” the eighth in order (Luke 1:5).

      The thousands of priests could not all come together at one time; but when the twenty-four elders met in the temple precincts in Jerusalem, the whole priestly house was represented. I submit this is the explanation of the twenty-four elders in Heaven. They represent the whole heavenly priesthood-that is, all the redeemed who have died in the past or who will be living at the Lord’s return. In vision they were not seen as millions of saved worshipers, but just twenty-four elders symbolizing the entire company. The church of the present age and Old Testament saints are both included. All are priests. All worship. There were twelve patriarchs in Israel and twelve apostles introducing the new dispensation. The two together would give the complete twenty-four.

      Then, observe that these persons are not angels. They are redeemed men who have overcome in the conflict with Satan and the world. They wear victors’ wreaths on their heads. Angels are never said to be crowned, nor have they known redemption.

      There are two kinds of crowns mentioned in this book: the victor’s crown and the ruler’s diadem. The former is the word used here. It refers to the laurel or pine wreath placed on the victor’s head in the Greek games. It is the same word so often used in the New Testament regarding reward for service. Note carefully that no saints will ever be crowned until the apostle Paul receives that crown of righteousness which the Lord revealed to him as his reward. In 2 Timothy 4:8 he says: “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love (or have loved) His appearing.” The expression “at that day” refers to the day of Christ when He will come for His own, and they will all be confirmed before His judgment seat. He says: “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12). Surely it follows then that no rewards are given out until He returns for His saints. Therefore there can be no crowned elders in Heaven until after the rapture."

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    9. Jeff – I understand we are miles apart from one another in our views but that doesn’t mean we still can’t reason together :) I appreciate your response.

      Elgordo – Nice to see your comment. Yes, of course the tribulation time period is going to be absolutely horrible…the worst time in history, and that is precisely why Jesus warns US about this time. Mark 13:33 says, “Be on guard! Be alert!” and Mark 12:23 says, “So be on your GUARD; I have told YOU everything AHEAD of time.” These messages are for us, people living in the last days. If these words were only for the unbelieving Jews who are coming to faith during the great tribulation, then how in the world are they supposed to be on their GUARD? Also how in the world did Jesus tell them AHEAD of time if they are only hearing it at the very last moment in time?

      The “wonderful implications” I am referring to about a post tribulation rapture view has nothing to do with the fact that it is going to be horrendous as people and the earth are destroyed in ways unimaginable. The wonderful implications has to do with the blessings that come from knowing and understanding the timing of the Lord’s return. We are told to watch and wait for the Lord’s return continually, and we do so eagerly. Our hope and our salvation is in Him (Genesis 49:18, Psalm 39:7). However, we are also told to wait patiently and silently (Psalm 37:7, James 5:7-8, Lamentations 3:24-26). If your loving spouse went away on a business trip, you would be eagerly waiting for her return, right? But if your spouse didn’t tell you when she was returning and you could not get in touch with her when she was gone, then every day, maybe even every hour, you would be looking for her return. It may even get in the way of your daily activities and soon be all consuming as worry sets in. But, if she told you she would be back in one week (maybe not the exact day or hour), then while you still eagerly await for her return, you could still occupy until her return and find comfort knowing that the horrible week was soon over. There is faith, trust, and patient waiting in that promise.

      As I am sure you are aware, thousands if not millions of Christians think that today we are going to be raptured. Not because Jesus said so, but because people have come up a foolproof way of figuring it out, with some even saying “thus saith the Lord.” What kind of disappointment is this going to be for many when this doesn’t happen? When this constantly happens over and over again? Don’t you think over time this is not encouraging and will lead to a falling away? It’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophesy. Jesus told us that people will say my master is staying away a long time and that foolish people will run out of oil. These are messages for Christians.

      Jesus, his prophets, and his apostles all told us when to expect Jesus’ return. And while we are seeing many signs of his soon return, Jesus does not come back until after the tribulation. There are no biblical passages that say Jesus returns more than once, just as there are no biblical passages that say there is more than one resurrection of the righteous. It is referred to as a single time or event such as “THE” coming of the Son of Man, “THE” resurrection, or “THE” return of the Lord. There is not even a hint to multiple appearings or phases…to me, a careful reading of the bible shows that people have been adding in things and making connections that are not stated in God’s word.

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    10. In regards to the 24 elders, some interesting things have been brought up to consider. However, I still retain that a claim to say these elders are the church who has already been rewarded is not fitting with scriptures. Christians are rewarded when Jesus comes back once in glory at the end of tribulation, and at that time, the unrighteous also are judged and punished. See also 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 through 1 Thessalonians 5:1-9. Besides other verses I have cited, notice what is happening in Revelation 6:9-10 when the 5TH SEAL is opened. The souls of those who had been slain up until THAT point in tribulation are asking God when will HE JUDGE and AVENGE their blood. They are told to wait even a little longer. Therefore, God’s judgment has not even started yet…and neither have the rewards been given to Christians as that doesn’t happen until after the 7th trumpet (the last trump) has been sounded Revelation 11:18.

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    11. Tracy....Beautifully stated. I know my repeated comments how we will still be here after whatever hot date is lining up..just like today's date, and we will still be here June of 2019, June 2020, and at least June 2021..rubs some people here wrong....but time will prove who is right.

      There have been several missed dates followed by disappointment. I totally believe in the rapture, but have been labeled a sniffer, mocker,....even an unbeliever for heavens sake. The only thing I don't believe in is a pretrib rapture. Someday, when events start unfolding that we should have escaped, someone will remember our futile words here. Please, study for yourself, and many pieces simply can't fit a pretrib rapture.

      God bless us all to full understanding.

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    12. @Elgordo, well said - or should I say, "well quoted." (: The timing of the crowning is pretty incontrovertible evidence. Plus the robes, crowns, and thrones being mentioned in the immediately preceding passage as pertaining to the Church. The 24 elders are clearly the Church.

      "There were twelve patriarchs in Israel and twelve apostles introducing the new dispensation. The two together would give the complete twenty-four."

      That's exactly the key part.

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    14. @Elgordo, thank you for your posting!

      Very interesting and brings me to ask if the 24 elders are the reason why we have seen recent departures of the great expositors of our time? A filling-in of the last of the 24 high priests?

      Makes one wonder.

      Lord willing and assuming that I'm here tonight to study, looks like it's time to get more K-cups, pens and paper and hit the Book!

      Keep looking up!

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    15. @Stephanie: Thank you for the link, will have a look! I like to share myself if I find sth worth reading / watching / pondering but in fact I have learned that most people like it more not to think or do research by themselves but just get some quick spiritual junk food to chatter about like the foreigners in Acts 17:21 or the women in 2 Timothy 3:7. This is embarrassing. But please don't stop sharing yet, there are still some like me interested! :) Blessings to you, MARANATHA

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    16. @Stephanie again: ooops, the site you proposed is a FUTURIST one after quickly checking out the order of the "seals" in Rev6. Well, that's not what I believe (and it is false too). Sorry Stephanie. Next time.

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    18. Hi again Tracy. Hope things are well with you! : )

      Firstly, thanks for your reply. Concerning the 24 elders you know who I think they are, but I'm not sure who you think they are. I believe, as H.A Ironside stated, that they represent the full priesthood of raptured believers caught up to Heaven and now seated around the throne of God before the tribulation. You have stated who you don't think they are so my question to you is who do you think they are?

      Maybe bear in mind the following:

      :: Isaiah saw the same throne room scene as John in Rev 4. He saw the Lord, He saw the throne of God, He saw the living creatures with their 6 wings like John. But he didn't see any 24 elders or 24 thrones. They weren't there in his day. (Isa 6)
      :: Ezekiel saw the same throne room scene. He saw the Lord, the throne, the winged living creatures... but no 24 thrones and no 24 elders around the throne! Not there is his day. (Ezek 1)
      :: This new group in heaven is seen for the very first time in Rev 4 following the church age (represented by the 7 churches in Rev 2-3), after John hears a voice like a trumpet (like in the rapture of 1 Thes 4:17), sees a door standing open in heaven (which only happens twice in Rev - here and when Jesus comes at the end with the saints in Rev 19 to wage war), is given a command to 'come up here' (like the command in the rapture 1 Thes 4:16-17), is taken from earth to heaven and is told He will be shown things that must take place 'AFTER THIS' ie after the church age of Rev 2-3 in accordance with the outline of Revelation previously given in Rev 1:19

      Then, and only then, is this group of 24 elders seen for the first time in the Bible. Some other things to note about them:

      :: The elders wear 'victors' crowns as promised to the church in Rev 2:10. No angels wear victors crowns.
      :: The victors crowns/rewards are only given out once Jesus has returned for His people (2 Tim 4:8, Rev 22:12)
      :: They are seated on thrones around THE throne as promised to the church earlier in Rev 3:21
      :: They are dressed in white as promised to the church earlier in Rev 2:10
      :: They are called elders - the same word as the leaders of the church (1 Tim 5:17)
      :: They number 24 which is the number of the Israelite priests in 1 Chronicles 24 who represented the entire priesthood! And the entire church are priests unto God as stated in Rev 1:6!

      So who could they be Tracy? Who fites all the clues? Who do you think they are?

      God Bless and have a good day!

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    19. PS Got a reference wrong above - The promise to the church in wearing white is not Rev 2:10 (that is of the victors crown) but Rev 3:4 :)

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    21. Elgordo – Ever since you brought up these points, almost every other thought of mine has been trying to decide who I think these elders are :) To tell you the truth, at this point, I don’t think I know. I am still learning and praying about it.

      As you can imagine, there are a lot of people on YouTube and the internet, some with way more knowledge than others, who have much to say on this topic. From what I can tell so far, most people either classify the 24 elders as angels OR men. If they are angels, then its relevancy to the timing of the rapture/resurrection is a moot point. If they are men, then there’s still the huge challenge as to figuring out who exactly they are and when they got there.

      Besides the points you mentioned, some things that I find interesting that I came across and am still taking into account are:

      -The type of crowns the 24 elders are wearing are called “stephanos” in Greek. This word is used 25 times in the NT. Many times it seems to refer to the crowns which denote a victorious reward and honor for overcoming and winning the race that followers of Christ will receive. However, this word also was used to refer to a kingly crown when the soldiers mocked Jesus’ royalty by placing a crown of thorns on his head (Matthew 27:29, Mark 15:17, and John 19:2). And interestingly, this type of crown also is used in Revelation 6:2 where the rider on the white horse has a stephanos, in Revelation 9:7 where the demon-locust from the pit wear stephanos, in Revelation 12:1 where the woman who represents Israel wears a stephanos crown of 12 stars, and in Revelation 14:14 where the Son of Man wears a stephanos crown and has a sharp sickle in his hand. So, I don’t think these crowns are exclusive to the Church Saints.

      -Angels are often described dressed in white and do appear as men at times. For example in Acts 1:10, “They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.”

      -Jesus told the 12 apostles that they will sit on the 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel at the renewal of all things (Matthew 19:28). However, this implies that they will serve as judges of Israel during the Millennium on earthly thrones and not necessarily heavenly thrones worshipping God in a constant manner like as described in Revelation 4:8-10

      -John doesn’t identify the 24 elders, but he does name the 12 tribes of Israel in chapter 7, records that the names of 12 tribes are written on the gates of the New Jerusalem, and directly states that the wall of the city had 12 foundations with the names of the 12 apostles. So, I wonder why John didn’t identify the 24 elders as the 12 apostles and 12 tribal chieftains since he does elsewhere.

      -In chapters 4 and 5, there are 4 living creatures as well as thousand upon thousand, and ten thousand times ten thousand angels. These I assume are literal numbers and don’t represent anything else. Why then would 24 elders represent anything other than just 24 elders? Perhaps they are just a priestly class of angels that the earthly tabernacle was patterned after like in Exodus 25:9 and Hebrews

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    22. I also am wondering about some of my own observations…

      -You mentioned that the elders aren’t mentioned in the Ezekiel and Isaiah passages yet the 4 living creatures are. While that is true, I wonder where is Jesus in Chapter 4? Why is he not mentioned or seen yet the 7 spirits of God are? I am not sure if an exclusion of information means they aren’t there.

      -If the church is raptured/resurrected in chapter 4 prior to the 1st seal being opened and John sees 24 elders he believes are the church in the throne room, why then does he start weeping and weeping immediately afterwards? If Jesus has just come in glory to rescue the captives and bring eternal life to all the righteous, why then isn’t Jesus being glorified right then? Instead we see a picture of desperation…an angel calling out in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scrolls?” And John weeps and weeps because it takes a while for an elder to say it is Jesus, who then appears looking like slain Lamb and takes the scroll. The sequence of events just seems off. If Jesus just delivered all the saints and handed out rewards (and John has recognized that because he just saw the 24 elders who supposedly represent the church), then why isn’t John aware and rejoicing over what has happened? Why is he so distraught?

      - I believe that the while there is obviously many events that unfold in a chronological order in the book of Revelation, there are also many times when there is an overlay of events and information…a stepping back in time to focus in with more detail on different things that are being revealed. Some things that John sees seem way out of order. I am wondering if chapter 4 is one of these times. Could the throne room scene depict what is being seen “after this,” after ALL of this…at the very end of it all?

      Thanks for engaging in this discussion with me, it has been a true joy. I will keep on studying and hopefully one day soon it won’t be such a mystery as to who these elders are :)

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    23. Hi Tracy,

      thanks for your reply, honesty, and further points. When people sit at opposite ends of the rapture timing table, just getting the other to think is hard enough so it seems that has happened which is good. But I hope you will one day see who the 24 elders are without tying yourself in knots, and doing injustice to the Word, by suggesting Rev 4 could be at the end of the tribulation! Not hard to see that Rev 4 and 5 are the same scene and lead to the opening of the seals... It is the beginning, not the end. While lots could be said, I'll refrain. Just some quick points, then I'll leave it. No need to reply to any of this unless you want to but please think about it...

      1. If you want to know why John was weeping in chapter 5 it is tied in with what the scroll of Revelation actually represents. Ironside again is good on this and can be read here if interested: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/isn/revelation-5.html

      2. The 'this' of Revelation 4:1 is critical to a true understanding of Revelation. "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after "this". The events of Revelation 4 onwards take place 'after this'. What is this mysterious 'this'? After what exactly? And why is Jesus repeating Himself from when He gave the general outline of Rev 1:19 earlier saying 'Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place AFTER THIS.' What is the 'this' because whatever it is, all of the seals, trumpets and bowls judgments happen AFTER IT...

      3. As mentioned earlier, when speaking of the end time tribulation coming upon the earth, Jesus told us to pray a specific prayer. He said: "Pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape ALL THESE THINGS that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:36) Do you pray that Tracy? If not, why not seeing Jesus said to? And what does this 'escapist' prayer actually mean anyway? It says we can escape ALL the things about to come on the earth and stand before Him! I know only two ways off this planet - by the 'undertaker' or the 'uppertaker'. (Pretty sure the one-way Mars missions are still just in the planning phase! :) Is Jesus suggesting that the 'worthy' ones pray for their own death (the undertaker)? Or that we pray we will be included with those that escape ALL the things coming on this earth by His return for His bride at the rapture (the uppertaker!!!)? You know my thoughts but I thought you may like to ponder it...

      Right... I hear the sirens going off again. Those pesky Aussies must be firing a barrage of missiles across the Tasman at our country again! Time to escape to my bunker like kiwis do apparently! Be back in about 4 months : )

      God Bless!

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    24. Elgordo – Thanks for recognizing my honesty as I hope that I am never portraying myself or my intentions as insincere. I want nothing more than all of God’s children to come to a better understanding of His Word, and that includes myself as well. I am constantly learning, studying, and praying about his Word. I think discussing, relating to one another, and reasoning together are valuable since iron sharpens iron. However, like you said it is difficult to get others who hold opposite views on such a passionate topic to even think about the other person’s side. You may be surprised to know that at one time, I myself leaned heavily toward a pre-tribulation rapture view.

      I hope you understood that when I shared my own wonderings about my observations in regards to the 24 elders, they were just that…ideas/thoughts/observations. It was hard for me to read that you interpreted that as “doing injustice to the Word.” Personally, I don’t think I was making a huge leap with that suggestion, but maybe I spoke hastily. For that, I can apologize. However, I would like to point out that many people on this site and all over the internet frequently speak flippantly about their rapture and end of the world ideas, and they make claims (sometimes really outlandish ones with much certainty) that indeed do injustice to the Word. From my perspective, I don’t see our fellow brothers and sisters doing much about it…most often these people get a pass, and too often they are encouraged to continue with their behavior. Let us not forget that we are supposed to exhort AND admonish each other (Hebrews 3:13, Colossians 3:16).

      The only other point I would like to address is in regards to Luke 21:36. You asked me if I pray this prayer. While I know you are probably being sincere with this question, my first thought was that you must think I am wishing to go through the tribulation and seeking to die. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love life, I protect life, I advocate for life, and I cherish life! My personal and professional life speaks only toward these values. Plus my nature instinct is to be a scaredy cat :) However, since I now hold rather strongly to a post-tribulation/pre-wrath rapture view, I have begun to prepare myself more mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically for what Jesus says will be the greatest distress the world has ever known. Of course I am watching and praying. But “to escape all these things” does not necessarily mean “rapture out from all of these things.” I have never studied Greek and I know very little about bible translations, but did you know that many bibles interpret this verse along the lines of “that ye may have STRENGTH to escape?” In that context, the meaning seems very different.

      While I would love for me and my family to be with the Lord and to “escape” the entire tribulation altogether, I have come to understand and believe that we will most likely be here to experience it. So, along with many other things, I am praying that I will stand strong with God during this time of tribulation. I pray that Jesus will keep/protect me from the hour of trial (which I think is the mark of the beast system). I also pray that I will escape the powerful delusion God will be sending as well as His wrath that will come at the end so that I will be able to stand before the Son of Man.

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    25. Warning…this is only my opinion…but the only other time I can remember seeing the word “escape” is in 1 Thessalonian 5:3. “When people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not ESCAPE.” When I read this verse in context with the previous chapter, my pre-wrath view sees this as Jesus pouring out his wrath to all unbelievers and unrighteous people right after the rapture/resurrection. The people who didn’t rise to receive eternal life are left behind and will now face God’s wrath and they WON’T ESCAPE. All nonbelievers and the unrighteous will now be punished with wrath at this very end point of the 7 years. I am praying to be part of the 1st resurrection and to escape God’s wrath and stand before the Son of Man when he returns. In contrast, the pre-trib rapture view has those left behind having the opportunity to escape this sudden destruction (during the 7 year tribulation) even though God’s Word says they will not escape. I see a big difference between a pre and post trib interpretation of this verse.

      So while you go back to your bunker, I am going to face the volcanic mountains in my backyard here in Oregon. Ha!

      God Bless :)

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    26. Tracy....I appreciate your sincere efforts that you put out here, which go against the grain. I too was a pretrib believer, but there were too many annoying scriptures that are craftily explained away....that just didnt fit. After about 2 years of putting down my pretrib, midtrib and posttrib books, I started with a clean slate and an unbiased open mind and started over.

      I soon was a strong midtrib believer, as most of my pieces fit. I say most, as there were a few that were irritating me, but I just figured I am interpreting something wrong with those few scriptures.

      Then I started corresponding online with someone with views like you have, and this person mentioned the two witnesses, an earthquake and a few other divinely guided words to me, and all of a sudden my annoying pieces all fit. I have thanked this person many times since, just as recently as yesterday.

      I was watching pretrib and posttrib videos, and the pretrib videos just remind me of a cube shaped basketball trying to go through the rapture hoop. It bounces around, side to side and finally after several corners are knocked off, it goes through the rapture.

      The posttrib videos just go swish....nothing but hey.

      We will experience tribulation and unfortunately it will take that experience to convince people that you are correct.

      Tracy, your heart and concern for everyone here is beautifully felt by me. This isn't a you are correct and everyone else is wrong attitude you have. It's a genuine concern for everyone to consider...what if Tracy is correct? You are paying a price for doing this, and God bless your sincerity. We ALL believe in Jesus, how our only way to heaven is believing in him, believing he died for our many sins we will commit, even till the one time he comes back for us.

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    27. Has anyone wondered why we are seeing the likes of Billy Graham pass at such interesting day counts? Why take him home if we are all going home soon anyway? (non-pretribbers not withstanding).

      Could it be that certain ones are already selected as elders? Selected and destined as one of the 24-elders? (Being Priests likened those we see in 1 Chronicles 24) Gathered and representative of the Church and the Church age saints?

      Why not?

      And are there not seven heads, seven diadems and ten horns on the great red dragon in the stars? 7+7+10=24 (False elders of a false and substitute god)

      Get out your Bibles, get on your knees, start praying and studying!

      But if you ask me, the 24 elders are not angels.

      :)

      PR

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    28. Pastor Rich - You are possibly quite right! To be honest, I think whoever the 24 elders are going to be, the point that we have to make is that is believing the 24 elders to be the Church does not give any credence to a pre vs mid vs post trib perspective, whatsoever. Having a full quota of Church elders does not then automatically indicate that the Church is 'complete' in numbers, otherwise the 12 appointed apostles for ruling over the 12 tribes of Israel would have meant that that was the full quota of Jews who were ever going to be saved (if that makes sense).

      Anyway - This is one of those 'dividing the word' moments, where we have to acknowledge that having full 24 elders represent the Church, does not mean that the entire Church is in heaven, just like we have to acknowledge that the wrath mentioned in regards to 'not appointed unto wrath' does not necessarily have to represent the 'wrath of the Lamb' noted in Revelation.

      Anyway, I digress. Hope you caught the AB game last night!!!

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    29. Hi Ryan,

      the 24 elders have victors crowns. The crowns/rewards are not given to the church until the Lord comes for His bride. Therefore, if you believe that the elders represent the church as I and others do, the Lord has already come and raptured the church by Revelation 4 - before any seal, trumpet or bowl.

      And yes, it was a good game... the ABs played well : )

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    30. Wow! This has REALLY gotten to be a long thread!

      Awesome!

      Quoting you elgordo,

      "The crowns/rewards are not given to the church until the Lord comes for His bride. Therefore, if you believe that the elders represent the church as I and others do, the Lord has already come and raptured the church by Revelation 4 - before any seal, trumpet or bowl."

      BINGO! YAHTZEE!!

      The picture we have about the Throne of G-d is,

      1. The throne, "with one seated on the throne" (Revelation 4:2)
      2. 24 thrones around the throne (Revelation 4:4)
      3. 24 elders seated on the thrones w/white robes with crowns (Revelation 4:4)
      4. 7 burning torches of fire aka 7 spirits of G-d (Revelation 4:5)

      ...and most importantly to this point...

      6 "and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal."

      (Revelation 4:6a)

      Sea of glass - The sea, when not named, is often an allusion to peoples. Glass is made of what? Sand. If one takes a sea of sand (silica) and puts it through intense fire and heat what do you get? Glass. Wikipedia has an interesting description of this,

      "Fused quartz or fused silica is glass consisting of silica in amorphous (non-crystalline) form. It differs from traditional glasses in containing no other ingredients, which are typically added to glass to lower the melt temperature."

      Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fused_quartz

      This is a picture of purity, uniformity, holiness. "It differs from traditional glasses in containing no other ingredients, which are typically added to glass to lower the melt temperature." NO LEAVEN! Complete purity!!


      The seven torches or spirits of G-d are placed in very close proximity to the sea of glass which well mirrors the golden lampstands (churches) of (Revelation 2:1 ESV). I too believe the sea of glass is the resurrected and raptured Church, the first parts of the body of Christ taken before the Millennial reign. This is further supported in (Revelation 15:1-2 ESV) where we see a similar scene where the "sea of glass" is mingled with fire, "and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands." (Revelation 15:2 ESV) Here we're seeing a division (ranks) of peoples (saints).

      So, yes. Revelation 4 is showing us a pre-tribulation raptured Church complete with seven torches (lamp stands), 24-elders and the Church proper before the throne. No tribulation saints or 144,000 of Israel (yet).

      Finally and sadly, I missed the AB's last night. Will have to catch it on YT.

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    31. After much study, prayer, and fellowship, I have come to the same conclusion. I believe Revelation chapter 4 is a scene from after the resurrection/rapture of the saints. Yes, the 24 elders are there and have their crowns and white garments on. Before, I didn’t know where Jesus was in this chapter, but now I see he is sitting on the throne with the Father. Revelation 3:21 just told us, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and SAT DOWN WITH MY FATHER ON HIS THRONE. And Pastor Rich, just like you stated, it is the SEA OF GLASS that represents the saints!

      But, while I may have hastily implied that perhaps Chapter 4 was out of sequence, I now strongly believe it is. Among the other several reasons I have already mentioned about why I think this scene could only be happening after the tribulation and Jesus’ 2nd coming, the one I would like to point out is one you just hinted at Pastor Rich.

      Revelation 15:1-2 says, “I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign seven angels with the seven last plagues – last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. …”

      Please note the differences between the sea of glass described in Rev 15 and Rev 4. In Revelation15:1-2, the sea of glass is mixed with FIRE but the sea of glass in Revelation 4:6 described as being clear as CRYSTAL. “And before the throne there was a sea of glass unto crystal…” FIRST comes fire. THEN with the cleansing of the fire, comes purity clear as crystal. The sea of glass would not be mixed with fire after it was just described as being unto crystal. It was already purified and before the throne of God. Therefore, the sequence is out of order.

      Also, Revelation 15 is the scene that occurs just BEFORE the wrath of God is poured out. As John is telling us what he sees, only just then…right before God’s wrath, does he say he saw the sea of glass in heaven…like it just appeared then, after the seals and trumpets have happened! I don’t think that is a coincidence. The rapture and resurrection just happened and the saints are in heaven represented as a sea of glass being purified with fire to be made unto crystal! We are not appointed to wrath, and as such, all the saints (and that is probably why there is a special reference to those who were resisted the beast) are now in heaven.

      I know this message will be highly disputed, but nonetheless, I felt compelled to share it. Funny enough, I have been praying and debating all day as to whether or not to post this comment as I had already made the connection with the sea of glass. I was even reading from Ezekiel 2 & 3 and wondering about this…then Pastor Rich’s comment came, and I knew I what I was expected to do.

      Thank you for allowing me to share my opinion on a site such as this which has such a huge pre-trib following. God bless!

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    32. Tracy.....I just love reading your posts. They are always well thought out, scripturally backed, and lovingly presented. You can feel the sincerity from your heart.

      But the main thing is that your studies and my studies line up as if we had the same teacher. Which we do....our bibles.

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    33. @Tracy, Glad to see that we're offering lots of triggers for conversation and fellowship! Best of all, it points us all back to the LORD, His Word and the Holy Spirit.

      I too am digging deeper on the saints seen in (Revelation 15) and will post that commentary as it is complete.

      Blessings

      PR

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    34. Here is something to consider, ponder and pray about. Compare the following from Revelation 15 and Acts 2,

      (REVELATION 15:2) uses the word *fire* as "πυρί" meaning *with fire*,

      θάλασσαν, ὑαλίνην μεμιγμένην πυρί
      a sea of glass mingled with fire

      Strong's 4442 [e]
      pyri
      πυρί
      with fire

      (ACTS 2:3) uses the word *fire* as "πυρός" meaning *of fire*,

      γλῶσσαι ὡσεὶ πυρός
      tongues as of fire

      Strong's 4442 [e]
      pyros
      πυρός
      of fire
      N-GNS
      N-DNS


      These are the same root words with slight variation to the use of "with" and "of" via the suffex if not mistaken. (I am not a Greek scholar, *yet*)

      We all know that Luke was not speaking of actual flames of burning fire in Acts but of the Holy Spirit having the appearance "as of fire". Since the same word is used again in (Revelation 15:2), I believe that the sea of glass that is mingled with fire may be a picture of the glorified (translated) saints joined by the spirits of the martyrs from the tribulation before the throne of G-D.

      The murdered tribulation saints would (at this point) be with the LORD in spirit not yet being given their glorified bodies. The body of Christ is One therefore they are mingled with the sea that comes from every nation, tribe and tongue. (Gentiles) And the saints that are the sea of glass are there as they were translated before the first seal was opened by Jesus.

      One kingdom and body but in different states due to the timing.

      Something to ponder and pray about.

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  3. Jeff, I think you have just described the ULTIMATE Church plant, the Church of the First Born in Christ -- home of every nation, tribe and tongue!

    I can only imagine and marvel at what is to come!


    Pastor Rich

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  4. Replies
    1. Me too! Let's go!!

      [youtube width="320" height="266" src="YIb4NC5ikYo"/]

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  5. Dear brother Jeff, thank you very much for this encouragement of yours, most appreciated! I don't know if you have once ago watched this little video of Br. Steve Sewell from BLESSED HOPE 2018 channel entitled "Our death is the rapture - Gods cosmic surprise through the ages" https://youtu.be/v7UrZagswXE

    I can highly recommend it to understand the difference between TIME and ETERNITY when talking about the first resurrection. As Steve only covers this topic from the 'rapture-past tense' perspective on the dead saints, I would myself extend his idea to any future saint who will physically die in any time in between the rapture and end of millennium. It's like the view onto our sins: they are forgiven in past AND future even if we don't know yet committing them in the dimension of TIME.

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    1. Thanks, Annabel. I'll check out Steve's video.

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  6. I consider myself a pre-trib believer. I believe that scripture supports that belief. In Mathew ch 20 Jesus talks about the first will be last and the last will be first. As is with those prostitutes, drunkards, and other sinners Jew and gentiles that believe in Christ salvation are the last become the first, and those that don't believe; that were the first once they believe they become the last. I hope I understand that correctly. We look forward to the blessed hope in Christ. Hopefully we aren't doing it with itching ears. False teaching is all around let us not be lead astray. Blessings.

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    1. Yes, Brent. You have understood correctly. See Gary's post:

      https://www.unsealed.org/2017/02/the-last-will-be-first-and-first-will.html

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    2. Dear Brent please consider the individual CONTEXT of Mark 10:31 and Luke 13:30 ... Mark emphasizes the group that has left everything for Jesus being rewarded, Luke stresses the fact that the Jews privileged to know God first will not have communion with Him. Then you have another scripture of the different times (ages of life) of being called into the vineyard when "First and Last ones" are mentioned in Matthew 20:16 it is a different focus each time but each shows how those thinking high of themselves ("First") will end up as "Last" before God in the end and vice versa. Blessings to you!

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  7. Well-researched and architected and beautifully written. This is a study and message that the Church needs to hear. I'm grateful your eyes are fixed on Heaven and I'm glad to be watching with you all.

    MARANATHA!!!!

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    1. Thank you, brother. I appreciate you! Got my eyes on the prize.

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  8. https://youtu.be/ax_NMWLEb6U

    'Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing' Chris Rice

    And, what does it mean in the second verse, I raise my Ebenezer:

    "Chapters 4 through 7 of 1 Samuel describe a series of battles between the Israelites and the Philistines. In an attempt to defeat the Philistines, the Israelites took the ark of the covenant into battle as a sort of good luck charm. To their anguish, however, the Philistines captured the ark and took it back to their pagan temple. God then sent plagues upon the Philistines and caused the idol of their god Dagon to fall over on its face. Fearing God, the Philistines sent the ark back to the Israelites, but continued to fight. As they fought more battles, the prophet Samuel led the Israelites as their last judge. As prophet and judge, Samuel offered sacrifices to God, so that when the Philistines approached, God thundered with a great thunder (1 Samuel 7:10). In the confusion that followed, the Israelites soundly defeated the Philistines.

    As a reminder of the great victory God gave to Israel, Samuel took a great stone and raised it as a memorial between Mizpeh and Shen. As he raised it he called the name of it Ebenezer [or stone of help], saying, Hitherto hath the LORD helped us (1 Samuel 7:12). Whenever the Israelites looked at the stone, they would remember how God had helped them. Unfortunately, the exact site of the stone is unknown today.

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    1. Thanks, Cathi G. That's a great rendition of the hymn by Chris Rice.

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    2. Cathi G., et al, Daniel over at his Informed Christians YTC, did a good video, this past February, as the stellar procession touched upon an Ebenezer moment. I had never been aware of this dynamic and was very blessed. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rwDUb6pk4w)

      As we all wrestle through these moments, plodding forwards, it is so very blessed to encounter our Abba's call that we honor the moments which signify milestones in the journey and Divine Providence to THAT very point. It POWERFULLY undergirds our faith and our witness when we encounter and memorialize such moments. May our next leg of the journey be a gentler path with this Ebenezer understanding tucked into our pocket and a trail of Ebenezer Stones trailing behind us, Maranatha!

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  9. I am blown away! It felt like...while I read, I was gulping life giving water, wisdom none other than the holy spirit could have given. Well done brother. And how I hope that I too will be accounted worthy, to....stand....before THE SON OF MAN

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement. And, hey, don't just hope (as in, guess) that you will be counted worthy, know beyond a shadow of a doubt, because this the Lord's will for all who believe in the Son of God (1 John 5:13; and see Jude 24).

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  10. Very good article ... and of course there will be Cherubim, Seraphim and Angels. There's diversity without pride or prejudice in the name of Jesus! As my Mom would say to me "you're special" and my Dad would add "just like everyone else".

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    1. Lol. Good ol' dad with the "come back down to earth" remark. Like Paul in Rom. 12:3!

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  11. Beautiful Jeff. Oh, how I love to read, study & think about my new home. Soon and very soon we will arrive there! No bunkers for me. Continuing in the work and in the faith. He will not be 1 second late or 1 second early. It will be perfect & none of our "concerns" or "differences" will matter. Blessings - Sherry

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    1. Thanks, Sherry. No place like Home.

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  12. And... :)

    1 Peter 2:9-10

    But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;

    that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

    Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
    _

    And...

    "However, we should reject the idea that this is only a one-time event rather than something that will actually occur in phases, or progressive stages."

    So many don't seem to understand that our God sees everything as a perpetual "Present tense" from His position of Eternity. :)

    It is then possible for all phases of the event to be parts of the "First Resurrection" when understood this way. God speaks from His perspective, not ours (stuck in the timeline of allotted days).

    :)

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    1. And the Translation (at the Rapture) of the living, is also a form of Resurrection, as well as a form of death to the old flesh. Just instantly. Which then fulfills the requirement of a death being appointed to all men. :)

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    2. Come soon Lord Jesus! <3

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    3. Yes, great addition of 1 Pet. 2:9-10. Peter's words are interesting because he is writing to Jewish Christians. And though the original recipients are Israelites by descent, they are nevertheless members of Christ's body, "a peculiar people" who were once "not a people," as well as a remnant chosen by grace (Rom. 11:5).

      Compare also with Paul's words in Rom. 9:22-26.

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    4. And to solidify that these Peculiar People, and a Holy Nation are something new:
      ___

      Galatians 3:27-29

      For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

      There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

      And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.
      ___

      Colossians 3:9-12

      Do not lie to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

      Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free, but Christ is all and is in all.

      Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

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  13. Jeff - I take great umbrage about your 'bunkers in New Zealand' comment. 'Bunkers' is sooo post-grace language...here in NZ we intra-sealers prefer the term 'prepper-pads' ;)

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    1. Lol, Ryan. Glad you could take it in stride. Nothing against the land of Kiwis, my brother.

      I'll still be trying to bust through that intra-seal bunker of yours with my pre-trib hammer...

      Not done yet!

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    2. Prepper-pads! I hear the Beehive has a bunker. Funny that Wellington is built atop a fault line! Just how does that work?

      Go All Blacks!

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    3. Brother Jeff: "No weapon formed against me shall prosper"!

      Sorry...couldnt resist...:)

      Pastor Rich - hmm yeah, maybe God purposely waiting for the day when we reject him totally and he bring discipline to his children. NZherald report today https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12074520

      Read the number 1 reason for the drop in %...grr

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    4. Fellow Kiwi here... just resurfacing & restocking supplies after 16 weeks in my bunker. Haven't seen the sun since February. Cold. Lonely. Skin pasty white. Vitamin D deprived. We are all like that down here Jeff. But safe in our bunkers! Wouldn't have it any other way : )

      In all seriousness, it is a pretty good place to live when you see what is happening in other parts of the world. No wonder that Chuck Missler chose to come and live (and eventually die) down here.

      Thanks (I think) for the link Ryan. Interesting... but sad. Definitely harder speaking to Kiwis these days.
      And Rich - yeah, go the ABs! : ) But sad when even your national team has to come out with a rainbow jersey and campaign to promote gays, sexual diversity. Nothing it seems can be left alone these days.

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    5. elgordo - my skin is permanently pasty white, regardless of how much sun I give it! Agh curse these gorgeous complexions of ours!!

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    6. Ryan, Thanks for the link at NZHerald. That trend is echoed in Pew Research on faith in Oceania and Asia. NZ is on track to be one of the top five unchurched nations on earth if memory serves.

      Elgordo, ABs w/a rainbow jersey? Alas, nothing is left alone these days. I had not heard/seen that one.

      Well if you guys need some company down there let me know. The family would be happy to sell-off, pack-up and move-out to plant churches there! (Us and our matching pasty white complexions -- we have them too).

      PR

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    7. Hi Rich,

      shown here if interested: https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/all-blacks/103471273/new-all-blacks-jersey-will-reveal-rainbow-flag

      They won't be playing in it thankfully - but is to support their 'diversity is strength' campaign.

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    8. Wow. An embedded colour imprint hidden in the fabric. Funny that I'm looking that up while watching Hillsong Sunday worship live.

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    9. Pastor Rich - Refer https://www.baptist.org.nz/home/Vacancies/Current-vacancies/ for Baptist Pastor roles...Motueka being the North of the South Island, and of course, ye ol land of the Highlanders, Dunedin. Mangere Bridge is in Auckland...lovely area but getting quite costly to live.

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  15. Jeff, I couldn't wait to get out of bed this morning to read the new posting. It did not disappoint! I'm so excited and full of joy and as I sit here with streams of tears rolling down my face, knowing that our redemption is so near. Bless you brother for serving such a wonderful breakfast!!!

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    Replies
    1. Amen, Keith. Thank you, brother. Breakfast food is one of my favorites :)

      Soon we'll all be dining at the Morning Star cafe (Rev. 2:28; 22:16).

      Blessings!

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  16. Anyone seen the CNN article?

    https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/summer-solstice-world-traditions/index.html

    Read here. Amazing keywords.

    Fig tree. Pregnancy. Birth. Summer is near. Harvest.



    Maranatha

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    Replies
    1. ...And lots of talk of future bridegrooms!

      Nice catch, Ryan.

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  17. Our "worthiness" is our Faith in Christ ;)
    ___

    1 John 5:3-5

    For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.

    And His commandments are not burdensome, because everyone born of God overcomes the world.

    And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith.

    Who then overcomes the world?

    Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, AMEN to that. The seven-fold repetition of overcoming in the letters to the churches is used by gospel-deniers to promote a works-based false religion, but Scripture says just the opposite: https://www.unsealed.org/2017/08/the-letters-to-seven-churches.html

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  18. Thank you for the encouragement, it's much needed and appreciated in these dark times...Maranatha!

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  19. Replies
    1. Yep, that's a good one. A "hiding away" *after* a resurrection. That's the rapture. No need to hide away after a post-trib resurrection.

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  21. Just fyi, several people have asked me about "Left Behind" letters. There is now a PDF version of the letter you can download (top-right link on main menu "Left Behind?" --> Click "Download PDF").

    Thanks,
    Gary

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  22. I like that idea of living in tents in the land of promise as it relates to our bodies as earthly tents, where we await the kingdom and our heavenly tents (bodies). Very nice.

    Heb. 11:9-10 and 2 Cor. 5:1-5. That's a nice analogy to ponder.

    And "Come, Thou Fount" is one of my favorite hymns.

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  23. A QUESTION FOR ALL:

    Do you believe, or can you point to an instance which fulfils (Revelation 12:3-4)?

    I am doing some digging and research on this and have been shown some very interesting pin-points out-of-the-gate. Kinda curious as to what others may have to share?


    Pastor Rich

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    Replies
    1. Dear friend, check out this video about "One third of the stars falling to earth in 2018!" https://youtu.be/11eB3AtlTW8 and compare with some of the recent contributions on EXPITALY / Real Planet X Nibiru / Planet X Physicist channels... Just saying. MARANATHA! :)

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    2. Hi Annabel!

      Actually I already have checked out the video at "https://youtu.be/11eB3AtlTW8" and was intrigued by their findings. I'm doing a separate study that is looking at this as well. Thanks!

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    3. PS> You are the first person I thought of when I posted that question. Glad to see I know you well enough to you you'd post that link! Thanks for chiming in!!

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  24. 21 June has come and gone. Nothing happened. Another failed date.

    That means that all the biblical verses you used to support your 21 June Theory were misused. You have used these verses out of context and robbed people of the true message of the Bible. All the hope you created was false. All the people who followed you on this journey have been lead into a spiritual wasteland. They could have invested their spiritual energy into things that could yield real spiritual fruits. You robbed them of that.

    So what are you going to do? Are you going to repeat the cycle by hyping up more natural disasters and wars, cook up more dubious numerical coincidences to biblical verses taken out of context, link it all to astrology and speculate another date that is doomed to failed?

    Or don't you think it's now time to take stock of yourself and come to terms with reality and do repentance for misusing the word of God to lead others into a spiritual wasteland.

    The latter choice is the harder choice. But it's better for your soul. Be courageous like king David and take responsibility for your actions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barry says, "So what are you going to do? Are you going to repeat the cycle by hyping up more natural disasters and wars, cook up more dubious numerical coincidences to biblical verses taken out of context, link it all to astrology and speculate another date that is doomed to failed?"

      I reply, sadly, these folks probably will. It's characteristic of an addiction.

      https://rapturejunkies.blogspot.com/?view=snapshot

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    2. Barry/Gerry - wonder if those wicked Magi astrologers ever had good friends trying to correct their ever wandering ways while on the lookout for the arrival of their King...luckily they had it perfectly sussed with where they could find him, otherwise they might have done something silly like...ummm...getting in contact with a lunatic of a King (Herod) who was hell-bent on killing anything and everything that could possibly compete with his throne.

      Thank goodness we are not anything like those fellas with our anticipation of our coming King.

      All silliness aside Barry/Gerry (at least you are not Chuckles today) - watchers means just that. We watch, question, consider, look eagerly for his coming. We look for the signs spoken of in the bible cause he told us to, and to do otherwise would be like the Magi choosing to sleep in rather than look to the heavenlies for the sign of the Messiahs sign of arrival. Happy for you to sit and mock and scoff, however Im happy to make make my place among my other fellow 'foolish' watchers thank you very much.

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    3. p.s. - yes yes and yes, I am addicted to looking for the coming of my Saviour!

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    4. Gerry, Yes. Unfortunately, they misapprehend my comments. I am just trying to give some of the lost souls here a wake up call, for their own good.

      Proverbs 15:31-32 says, "He who listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding".

      Unfortunately, this is a forum is a place where people prefer to ignore reproof, rather than to grow from it.

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    6. Through and Through - I am not mocking you. Not everything that is painful for you to hear is bad for you. Rebuke is good for you. Read the writings of King Solomon.

      Ecclesiastes 7:5 says, "It is better to heed a wise man’s rebuke than to listen to the song of fools."

      I am trying to give you a realty check so that you don't waste your life in a spiritual abyss.

      You are not the same as the Magi. All the Magi did was follow the star. This website and others in the Revelation 12 movement do something much more destructive. To support your date speculation, you routinely quote the Bible out of context and pervert the message that God originally intended. The Magi did not do this. They just followed a star.

      Do you realize that when you read the works of prophets like Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah, Hosea etc. You are supposed to read it side by side with the books of Kings and Chronicles. Do you know why?

      These books give the historical context of those prophecies. Why do you think Kings and Chronicles are included in the Bible? If you take the prophets out of their historical context, you will get yourself into big trouble.

      Do you realize that about 80-90% of what's written in the pre-exilic prophets eg. Isaiah, Jeremiah etc. Was fulfilled when Assyria and Babylon came and decimated the fertile crescent. Only about 10-20% of their prophecies can be applied to the second temple period and perhaps our period.

      With the pre-exilic prophets, you can basically sum up their books as follows... First Temple Period Israel is sinning real bad (stealing, idolatry, human sacrifice, adultery etc.). GOd sends His prophet to tell the people that they better correct their evil ways otherwise He is going to bring Assyria and/or Babylon as his whip to punish them. The prophet describes all the bad things Assyria and Babylon is going to do to them. Authors on this website will them take these verses out of context and use them to support their Rev 12 theories. Those prophecies were fulfilled 2800-2400 years ago! They cannot possibly have anything to do with your sign in 2017/2018.

      So when then the Bible talks about "the day of the Lord" (and other end times terminology), sometimes it's talking about the coming of Assyria, sometimes it's talking about the coming of Babylon and sometimes its talking about the final end times war of Gog and Magog. You have to understand the context. You can't just pluck verses out, you have to read it cover to cover.

      You guys are using and abusing the word of God to lead people deeper and deeper into a spiritual wasteland. If you are going to use the Bible to support your theories, atleast be responsible enough to quote verses in context.

      So many times, to support its date speculation, this website quotes these "day of the Lord" verses from the Prophets and then you come up with some numerical coincidence (that can involve a concordance or even the time on your microwave) or some star alignment, and then you use this to speculate a date. But then when I go read the verse in the Prophets, it's clearly talking about the coming of Assyria or Babylon and it cannot possibly apply to our period. So your date speculation is based on false premises. That's why all your dates flop.

      You care more about your sign than the word of God. You rape the word of God for anything and everything that can be used to support your theories. The Magi didn't do this.

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    8. Awhile ago I this website was saying that Isaiah 17 is a prophecy about the Syrian war in our times.

      Read the entire passage, not just the first verse. It mentions nations that don't exist anymore (Ephraim, the cities of Aroer, Aram). It cannot possibly be applied to our time. All over Isaiah, God says that he is going to bring Assyria to smash the nation of Aram (Damascus was their capital) . Indeed, the Assyrians came and decimated Damascus and the nation of Aram. That's why there are no Arameans today. So Isaiah 17 was fulfilled about 2700 years ago by Assyria. It has nothing to do with our generation and your sign.

      Isaiah 17 is not an end times prophecy.

      Seriously dude, before you lead others into a spiritual wasteland and bring the entire Bible into disrepute, you actually need to read it cover to cover. Don't just comb through it for verses that can be manipulated for support your theories. You need to try to understand what you are reading.

      With the Magi, in the Gospel the star let to Jesus. But lets imagine another make believe scenario, imagine the Magi followed the star and it happened to lead to an empty manger. What should the Magi do then? Should they not just face reality and say, "Oops, sorry, the star didn't mean anything" and then get on with their lives.

      Or should they then pull out their Bibles pull verses out of context, cook up numerical coincidences, link them to astrology and get a crowd of people to follow a new star to another empty manger. Then when they get to the next empty manger, they repeat the process over and over again. And they get people to follow them to empty manger after empty after empty manger after empty manger. This is what you guys do.

      This is a spiritual wasteland. If this is all that Christianity has to offer, then we have a desolate religion indeed.

      There is one verse in the Bible that I think might actually apply to this sign.Isaiah 44:24-25 says, "So said the Lord, your Redeemer, and the One Who formed you from the womb, "I am the Lord Who makes everything, Who stretched forth the heavens alone, Who spread out the earth from My power.

      Who frustrates the signs of imposters, and diviners He makes mad; He turns the wise backwards, and makes their knowledge foolish."

      This describes your sign. It has been frustrated by God because its an imposter. It rests on the pillars of falsehood.

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    9. Through and Through says, "All silliness aside Barry/Gerry (at least you are not Chuckles today)..."

      I reply, It is wrong for you to suggest that Barry, Chuckles, and I are one and the same person. I am a 64-year-old man who lives in Franklin, Kentucky; Chuckles is my 12-year-old son (whose posts reflected his own views); and Barry is someone from somewhere else whom I have never met.

      I realize that the things that Barry says are similar to things Chuckles and I have said, but perhaps that's simply because the Holy Spirit is prompting all three of us to reach out to others in the Body of Christ with the same needed thoughts, Matthew 18:16.

      The Body has many members, and those members differ one from another in experience, education, holiness, disposition, and many other ways. It is not surprising that some members of the Body find the purported Rev 12 Sign exciting and convincing, while others think it balderdash; what is needed is more discussion of such points, not less, Proverbs 27:17. The community here ceases to be a Church when members of the Body who see things differently are excluded from the conversation, or when certain topics are considered "off limits".

      Through and Through also says, "p.s. - yes yes and yes, I am addicted to looking for the coming of my Saviour!"

      I ask, Are you sure such an addiction is a good thing? I have observed a number of unhealthy effects of such addiction, as have Barry and Chuckles. Please give some prayerful consideration to the brief articles on my blog that describe those unhealthy effects:

      https://rapturejunkies.blogspot.com/?view=snapshot

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    10. 2 Timothy 4:8 (ESV):
      "8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved (Strong's Greek 25: "love", "long for") his appearing."

      I would submit that an "addiction" to the coming of our Lord is not an addiction at all, but rather the ONLY thing that we should be wanting, breathing, working for, looking toward. God bless you.


      Delete
  25. Yes, folks. The LORD is still at work and that is nothing short of an incalculable blessing.

    I for one am not troubled by this. I am not disappointed by this. I am not disheartened by this nor do I feel that we, the Watchmen who frequent this space, are doing anything less than what we are called to do by the Apostle Paul who instructed the churches in how to approach the coming of the Day. (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

    We are being prepared for the coming of the Day!

    The fullness of the number of the saints from the Age of Grace is not yet reached! The Ark is not yet filled! There are too many empty places, there are still vacant seats! We have ONE MORE DAY/HOUR/MOMENT to impact our world for Christ!

    Don't let that fact be lost on you.

    For if one cares about the saving of lost souls on earth they will give thanks to the LORD above for the gift of just one more day to do so!

    Just one more day!

    For fiery judgement is coming and a Day like no other. Are we to suppose it is best for us to push to the head of the line to reach the exit door first? Or should we run back into the burning building and save those that we can?

    Fear the LORD and all that is happening today. Yes! Fear in reverence! Know that He is coming and that we have a job to do. He has entrusted us with this job and it is a solemn trust to partake of that duty and discharge that office to the fullest extent of our ability. To Love G-D. To Love one another as ourselves. To proclaim Christ crucified, Christ risen until Christ's coming.

    Watchmen by definition wait and keep vigilant. They watch and inform that others may go about their work. They sound the warning before the storm arrives. If the storm passes by so be it but to them stands the charge of WATCHING. They watch while we wait...and if we are wise we will look into these things for ourselves and do likewise! Watch with expectation and wait!

    Birds of the air and sea creatures alike are CHOKING on the plastic that has been dumped into the ecosphere. Their stomachs FILLED with our trash so much so there is no room for food! We are living in an age of unprecedented ecological disaster.

    Have you counted lately the number of actively erupting volcanoes on planet earth?

    How about the Forgotten War in Yemen. How many millions of people are starving to death? Upwards of 10-million come year end by some accounts?

    To what ends does the LORD have to go to get mankind's attention?

    Ah, sinful nation,
    a people laden with iniquity,
    offspring of evildoers,
    children who deal corruptly!

    They have forsaken the LORD,
    they have despised the
    Holy One of Israel,
    they are utterly estranged.

    Why will you still be struck
    down?

    Why will you continue to
    rebel?

    The whole head is sick,
    and the whole heart faint.

    From the sole of the foot even
    to the head,
    there is no soundness in it,
    but bruises and sores
    and raw wounds;
    they are not pressed out or
    bound up
    or softened with oil.


    Wash yourselves; make your-
    selves clean;
    remove the evil of your deeds
    from before my eyes;
    cease to do evil
    learn to do good;
    seek justice,
    correct oppression;
    bring justice to the fatherless,
    plead the widow's cause.

    "Come now, let us reason
    together, says the LORD:
    though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as
    snow;
    though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool.

    If you are willing and obedient,
    you shall eat the good of the
    land;
    but if you refuse and rebel,
    you shall be eaten by the
    sword;
    for the mouth of the LORD
    has spoken."


    Fear? You bet you better be afraid! Watchmen on the wall are a valuable line of defence that swing our sight to the things we need to see. How short the time is and how high the stakes are!

    Lost souls and eternity await. It is our Father's desire that they shall never meet outside of the saving Grace of our LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ!

    What say you?


    Pastor Rich








    ReplyDelete
  26. Well said Pastor Rich. Thank you. God Bless.

    ReplyDelete
  27. A Great Word Pastor Rich, given in its due season. We have much to do and He will not be one second late or one second early! Still on the Wall and planning to stay there till the pick up - By His Grace. Blessings - Sherry

    ReplyDelete
  28. Amen, Pastor Rich, Amen.. and let us never forget 1 Corinthians 13.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; the greatest of these is love."

      How can I forget? It's at the core of all of our ministry! That is where our marriage vows came from.

      Blessings all and thank you!

      Delete
  29. Barry says, "So what are you going to do? Are you going to repeat the cycle by hyping up more natural disasters and wars, cook up more dubious numerical coincidences to biblical verses taken out of context, link it all to astrology and speculate another date that is doomed to failed?"

    I reply, sadly, these folks probably will. It's characteristic of an addiction.

    https://rapturejunkies.blogspot.com/?view=snapshot

    ReplyDelete
  30. @Barry, just a friendly heads up that you have repeatedly violated our commenting policy and have been temporarily banned. If you would like to have your account unlocked or would like more information, feel free to reach out to me at gary@unsealed.org.

    To be crystal clear: you haven't been banned for having different views, as there are plenty who comment with different views, but do so in a friendly, respectful way.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Alan R says, "2 Timothy 4:8 (ESV):
    "8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved (Strong's Greek 25: "love", "long for") his appearing."

    I would submit that an "addiction" to the coming of our Lord is not an addiction at all, but rather the ONLY thing that we should be wanting, breathing, working for, looking toward. God bless you.

    I reply, Loving something, and being addicted to something, are not at all the same thing. Love is good, addiction is more like lust and is bad. Please prayerfully consider my very short article on the subject here:

    https://rapturejunkies.blogspot.com/2018/01/love-or-lust.html?view=snapshot

    ReplyDelete


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