Is Cigarette-Smoking A Sin?

(All Bible quotations, unless otherwise stated, are from the English Standard Version).

Many Christians are quick to condemn people who smoke cigarettes, because they consider the practice a sin, the same way the drinking of alcohol is considered sinful by some. Having dealt with the issue of alcohol consumption in two previous articles, we’ll now address the issue of tobacco-smoking. Is cigarette-smoking a sin, or is it just an unhealthy practice? This article will seek to answer this question through a careful examination of the Scripture.

To start with, let’s refresh our minds about what sin is, biblically speaking. According to the Scripture, sin is a transgression of the law. Thus, where there is no law in the Scripture concerning the practice of anything, indulging in it cannot be considered a sin. Simply put, sin is a violation of a commandment of God. So, before we can judge any practice to be sinful, we must be able to point out which commandment of God the practice violates. That’s a very important point to note. Sin is not a violation of a human commandment, tradition or health regulation; rather, it’s a violation of a divine commandment. Let’s keep that always at the back of our minds.

1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law (AKJV).

Romans 4:15 Because the law works wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression (AKJV).

Romans 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law (AKJV).

Now, back to the question of tobacco-smoking being a sin or not. The first thing to do, in trying to answer this question, is to ascertain if cigarette-smoking violates any commandment of God, directly or indirectly. Is there any biblical injunction that says, “thou shalt not smoke cigarette”? Well, I’ve searched the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation a couple of times, and I can’t find a single verse of Scripture that says, “thou shalt not smoke tobacco”, or that forbids smoking in any manner. I know a lot of Christians lump cigarette-smoking with the drinking of alcohol together, as two grievous sins which should be avoided once someone becomes a Christian. Unfortunately, they’re not speaking biblically when they say that. To be sure, the Bible condemns drunkenness as a sin, but not moderate alcohol-consumption. But the Bible doesn’t even say anything at all about cigarette-smoking! Absolutely nothing! So, condemning cigarette-smoking as a sin has no biblical basis!

Let me be quick to acknowledge the fact that cigarette-smoking is harmful to health, and that chronic tobacco-smoking has been linked with several cancers and chronic diseases, especially of the respiratory tract and cardiovascular system. The health hazards of smoking are real and undeniable. Smoking poses great danger to health, no doubt, but it is not a sin! On health grounds, therefore, we should caution people about the dangers of smoking, but definitely not on biblical grounds, except if the argument is made about smoking causing cancers and other chronic diseases that can destroy the body, which is the temple of God. But then, overindulging in almost all foods can also destroy the body. So, are we going to consider eating all such foods then as sinful? If we use the-destruction-of-the-temple-of-God argument to classify smoking as a sin, then any practice that undermines our health will have to be seen as a sin too. Being physically inactive, getting obese from overeating, eating junk foods, not having adequate rest, etc, all affect health negatively, and are capable of destroying the body. Should all these practices be classified as sinful then? If we take this route, then a lot of things the Bible knows nothing about will be very sinful, especially with regards to our dietary lifestyle and other activities of daily living. I hope we can see the danger in classifying anything that undermines our health as a sin? That should be obvious by now.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Also, we’ll consider the argument that uses the law of the land in classifying a practice as sinful or not. When the laws of a land forbid a practice, it becomes a crime, not necessarily a sin, to indulge in such a practice. To violate the law of a land is a criminal offence, not a sin, unless the law of the land is also a law in the Bible, when its violation then becomes both a crime and a sin. As Christians, we’re to obey the laws of the land that do not run contrary to the laws of God as contained in the Bible. For instance, though smoking is not a sin, if a country forbids smoking before a particular age, or in certain public places, then to smoke below the age forbidden, or in the places forbidden, becomes a crime. As a Christian, disobeying such laws which do not contradict God’s word becomes a sin as well, for we’re enjoined in Scripture to obey those in authority and the laws they make for good governance, as long as such laws do not contradict God’s word. This applies to drinking alcohol too. Though drinking alcohol in moderation is not a sin, but doing so below the age of 18, or drinking and driving, becomes a sin, in countries where there’s a minimum age for alcohol consumption, and where people are forbidden to drive under the influence of alcohol.

Romans 13:1-7
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

1 Peter 2:13-15
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

There’s also the issue of conscience to consider—both one’s conscience and those of others. For a practice that’s not expressly forbidden by the Scripture, indulging in it without full conviction is sinful, for we’d be doing so without faith, and whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. Going against your conscience to indulge in a practice that’s not expressly forbidden by Scripture is a sin. So, in such grey areas as smoking of cigarettes, drinking of alcohol and eating of meat that are essentially matters of conscience, like Paul advised, every man should be fully persuaded in himself before indulging in them, otherwise he sins against his conscience if he indulges contrary to his convictions.

Romans 14:23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

Next, we must also be charitable enough to consider the conscience of others. Even though cigarette-smoking is not a sin, and even though one’s conscience is convinced as such, to indulge in it in the presence of someone whose conscience erroneously believes it to be a sin is uncharitable, as it helps to wound the conscience of a weak brother or sister, and may cause them to stumble in the faith. Violating the conscience of a weak brother/sister thereby is offensive to the Lord and a sin. Therefore, we should be careful to practise such controversial matters of conscience in private, or in the company of those who have the same faith and conviction of conscience as ourselves. We must be careful not to hurt others or undermine their faith while displaying our liberty and advanced knowledge. Building up other people in the faith, not destroying them, should be our utmost concern always, especially in such matters of conscience. Paul made the exemplary declaration that although he believed eating meat was not a sin, he would rather not eat meat for the rest of his life if doing so would offend another weaker Christian who believed it was a sin. We must put the interests of others above our personal interests, and display our faith in such controversial issues to God alone, privately or only in the company people with similar faith.

Romans 14:1-23
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that all of us possess knowledge. This knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that an idol has no real existence, and that there is no God but one. For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many gods and many lords— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

In conclusion, cigarette-smoking, in and of itself, is not a sin, for there is no divine injunction forbidding it in the Scripture, as sin is a transgression of an extant law of God. Therefore, where there is no divine law forbidding a practice there can be no sin in its indulgence. Even though cigarette-smoking is not a sin in itself, those who are so convinced should take care to avoid indulging in it in the presence of those whose weak conscience still see it as a sin, from traditional indoctrination, so as not to wound their faith. Also, one should respect the law of the land with regards to any restrictions on smoking in public places, as the display of Christian liberty is subject to both the conscience of others with opposing views, as well as the laws of the land. Our goal as Christians should always be to place love above knowledge, and to edify fellow Christians as well as win unbelievers to Christ, in all that we do. So, even though cigarette-smoking is not a sin, if indulging in it will cause someone to stumble spiritually, a mature Christian who places the interests of others above his own should refrain from doing that, at least in the presence of such weak believers. Finally, those who smoke cigarettes should understand the great danger tobacco poses to health, and should be counselled along that line, rather than from the standpoint of cigarette-smoking being a sin, which it is not.

Matthew 15:11-20
it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. Then the disciples came and said to him, Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying? He answered, Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit. But Peter said to him, Explain the parable to us. And he said, Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.

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The Way Of Cain Is The Way Of Rebellion And Self-will.

(All Bible quotations, unless otherwise stated, are from the English Standard Version).

Jude 1:11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion.

The apostle Jude talked about the way of Cain, along with the error of Balaam and the rebellion or gainsaying of Korah, as features of false ministers. We’ve identified the error of Balaam as covetousness and greed for filthy lucre that subvert the soul and shipwreck the faith and ministry. In this article, we shall examine the way of Cain as another feature of false ministers of the gospel.

So, what exactly is the way of Cain? And why must every sincere worshiper of God avoid such ways? We must go back to the beginning, in the book of Genesis, to identify Cain’s forbidden way. The first appearance of Cain in Genesis is in the fourth chapter, where his birth and his attempt to worship God, alongside his brother, are recorded. Both siblings publicly approached God in worship by offering sacrifices. Whereas Abel and his sacrifice were accepted and blessed by God, both Cain and his sacrifice were rejected, which provoked an envious wrath in Cain, leading to the murder of his brother. Why was Cain rejected by God, along with his sacrifice? If we can answer this question, we’ll gain an insight into the way of Cain.

Genesis 4:1-12
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD. And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother? He said, I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper? And the LORD said, What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.

Several reasons have been postulated by Bible scholars as to why God rejected Cain and his sacrifice. For me, the most plausible explanation centres around the issue of faith and obedience. From the evidence of Scripture, Cain wilfully offered the wrong sacrifice to God, preferring to present what he delighted in, rather than what God required. We’re told in the book of Hebrews that Abel offered the right sacrifice by faith. Now, faith is an affirmative response to the revelation of the divine will, and comes by hearing the word of God. One can only be said to display faith after hearing, believing and obeying the word of God. This means that Abel heard the word of God concerning what to offer and how to approach God, and he believed and obeyed it. He offered the sacrifice God desired. Abel did what was right in the sight of God, and he was approved and blessed thereby. Surely, God doesn’t leave people in doubt as to what’s required of them in salvation? For sure, God doesn’t expect us to fathom out, on our own, how to approach him rightly in order to be saved. He shows man the way of salvation and then requires us to follow that way to be saved. To Adam and Eve, God showed that without the shedding of blood, there couldn’t be any remission of sin. He thus slaughtered a lamb to atone for their sins after the fall. And from their children, God expected the same sacrifice of blood to be offered, to atone for their own sins. Abel obeyed and followed God’s way of salvation, offering the right sacrificial animal for his sin, as ordered by God, displaying his faith in God’s word, for which he was approved and commended.

Hebrews 11:1-4
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks.

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Hebrews 9:22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Cain, on the other hand, refused to do the right thing, even after being told what to do. He knew what God wanted as an offering. He knew the divine will, but chose instead to do his own will, expecting God to accept whatever worship he brought to God. Even after wilfully presenting the wrong sacrifice the first time and after being rejected, God was still patient enough to admonish Cain to do the right thing, if he wanted divine acceptance. Even when the right sin-offering was pointed out to be right by his door, he still refused to take and offer it! Cain didn’t want a bloody religion. He wanted to be saved, but not by the shedding of blood. He wanted a religion of his own making. He was going to worship God his way, or not at all! That’s the way of Cain—the way of obstinate self-will in worship, irrespective of what God desires and reveals!

Genesis 4:5-7
and unto Cain and unto his present He hath not looked; and it is very displeasing to Cain, and his countenance is fallen. And Jehovah saith unto Cain, `Why hast thou displeasure? and why hath thy countenance fallen? Is there not, if thou dost well, acceptance? and if thou dost not well, at the opening a sin-offering is crouching, and unto thee its desire, and thou rulest over it.’ (Young’s Literal Translation).

The other thing that defined Cain’s way was his envy and murderous rage towards his brother who did the right thing and was accepted by God. Not only did Cain refuse to offer the right sacrifice after it was revealed to him, he also chose to envy his brother who did the right thing, and plotted to kill him instead! Rather than learn from his brother who did the right thing and was accepted and blessed by God, he decided to add iniquity to iniquity, heaping envy, rage and murder on top of his rebellion and self-will! This was the final nail in his coffin that led to his eternal separation from God. Not only did he spurn God’s word concerning the right sacrifice to present, he ended up murdering God’s image and a true worshiper of God, filling his cup of wickedness thereby and becoming the firstborn of Satan among men. No wonder the apostle John described him as being of the Wicked One, Satan. He really was!

1 John 3:11-12
For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous (NKJV).

In conclusion, the way of Cain is the way of rebellion and self-will, which rejects the word of God and sets up its own religion, while persecuting those who choose to believe and obey God. Cain rejected God’s provided way of salvation, and chose his own way instead, expecting God to approve and bless his rebellion and disobedience. Even when God in his mercy still gave him space to repent and do the right thing, he refused to budge. Instead, he chose to destroy his brother who did the right thing and was approved of God. That’s the way of Cain—rebellion and self-will in worship, and total opposition and persecution of all who faithfully serve God in spirit and in truth.

Thanks for visiting the blog. If you were blessed by the message, kindly like, drop a comment and share with your friends and loved ones on your social media platforms.  You can also follow us to have new posts sent directly to your inbox. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always! Amen! Wishing you all a merry Christmas!

Were There Just Three Wise Men That Visited Jesus, And Did They Meet Him As A Baby In The Manger?

(All Bible quotations, unless otherwise stated, are from the English Standard Version).

According to church tradition, three wise men (magi) came from the East (Babylon) to bring gifts to Baby Jesus at his birth, led and guided by a prophetic star. And, in line with this tradition, the magi are said to have met Mary and Jesus in the manger where he was born, where they worshiped the newborn King and presented their gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. Were there just three magi who made the yearslong journey from Babylon to Palestine to worship King Jesus? And did they meet Jesus as an infant still in the manger where he was born? We shall examine the Scripture carefully to answer these questions.

We all know, from Scripture, that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the home town of his foster parents, where they had gone, as required by Roman law, to be counted in the census ordered by the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus. Because there was no room available for Joseph and Mary at the inn when they arrived in Bethlehem from Nazareth (where they were domiciled), Mary was forced to labour and deliver Baby Jesus in a manger.

Luke 2:1-7
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Also, we know from Scripture that some wise men saw a unique star in their country, Babylon, and understood, by prophetic revelation (Numbers 24:17), that it signified the birth of the King of the Jews. And divinely inspired and guided by that star, they undertook the long and perilous journey from Babylon to Israel, to honour this new born King. How many were these magi in number? Well, the Bible does not tell us their precise number. Yes, their number is not stated in Scripture! How then did we come to the traditional conclusion that they were just three? From the number of gifts they presented to Jesus! The assumption is that each magi presented one gift to Jesus, and since there were three gifts presented, there had to be three magi! Could there have been more than three wise men? Is it possible for people who are more than three in number to present just three different types of gifts?

Matthew 2:1-11
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel. Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him. After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

The first thing we need to keep in view, as we try to answer the aforementioned questions, is the mode and nature of long-distance travel in those days, and the perils associated with them. First, in the days of Jesus, people travelled on animals like horses, camels and donkeys. Second, most of the journey from Babylon to Israel involved travelling through insecure deserts, highways and byways that were filled with robbers, brigands and outlaws. Such journeys were very dangerous and were usually embarked upon in groups or caravans. For safety reasons, people did not make such journeys alone or in small numbers. Therefore, only three wise men (loaded with treasures) couldn’t have embarked on that perilous journey from Babylon to Israel to worship the newborn king of the Jews! Even to make the much shorter (and less dangerous) journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem for the Passover, the family of Jesus had to travel in a caravan with other families. So, it’s very unlikely that only three wise men undertook that perilous journey that lasted for about two years, from Babylon to Israel. And the Bible didn’t tell us they were three, simply because they couldn’t have been just three to undertake such a journey! So, let’s stop judging their number by the number of their gifts, and just follow Scripture in leaving out their number. Simply put, there was a plurality of wise men from Babylon that visited Jesus when he was born, and it’s very unlikely that they were just three.

Luke 2:41-49
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress. And he said to them, Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?

Did the wise men meet Jesus as a Baby in the manger where he was born? Most paintings of the nativity story have the magi bowing down before Baby Jesus in a manger even as they presented their gifts in humble adoration of the King. But is that really the story in the Scripture? Let’s look closely at the accounts of the birth of Jesus in both Matthew’s and Luke’s gospels to get the true picture.

Matthew tells us that by the time the wise men got to Jerusalem, about two years had elapsed since they first saw the star announcing Jesus’ birth. That’s the information Herod got from the wise men during his secret interrogation, which informed his ordering of the killing of all children two years and below, in order to ensure that Jesus was killed as well, for he would have been around two years old at the time the magi appeared before Herod. So, if the wise men got to Jerusalem when Jesus was around two years old, he definitely wasn’t still in the manger when the wise men met him!

Matthew 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.

Furthermore, Luke tells us that after the dedication of Baby Jesus in the Temple at Jerusalem, Joseph and his family returned back to their dwelling place in Nazareth. Now, Jesus was dedicated 40 days after his birth, according to Jewish tradition for the dedication of newborn infants (Leveticus 12:1-8). So after his dedication on the 40th day, Jesus was taken back to Nazareth, where his parents lived, the census that brought them to Bethlehem having been concluded. So, at about two years of age when the wise men met him, Jesus wasn’t a baby anymore, but a toddler, and he wasn’t in the manger in Bethlehem, but in his parents’ house in Nazareth. That’s where the wise men met King Jesus and worshiped him and presented their gifts. It’s instructive to note that though Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and though the wise men were directed by Herod and the scribes to Bethlehem to see the new born King, the prophetic star they had been following led them, not to the manger in Bethlehem where he was born but had now departed, but to the house in Nazareth where his parents had returned to. He was no longer a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger when the wise men met him, but a child of about two years.

Luke 2:21-24
And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

Luke 2:39-40
And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.

In conclusion, nowhere are we told in the Scripture that the wise men who made the yearslong journey from Babylon to Palestine to worship King Jesus when he was born were just three in number, as church tradition teaches. In fact, circumstantial evidence points to the fact that the magi most likely travelled in caravans, for safety purposes, and so had to be more in number than just three. Also, the magi did not meet Jesus as an infant in the manger in Bethlehem where he was born, but saw the King as a toddler in his parents’ house in Nazareth in Galilee. The traditional view of the story of the wise men therefore needs to be adjusted in line with Scripture.

Thanks for visiting the blog. If you were blessed by the message, kindly like, drop a comment and share with your friends and loved ones on your social media platforms.  You can also follow us to have new posts sent directly to your inbox. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always! Amen! Wishing you all a merry Christmas!

The Danger Of Multiplying Wives

(All Bible quotations, except otherwise stated, are from the English Standard Version).

Although God legitimised polygamy by codifying and permitting it in the law he gave to Moses for the Jews at Mount Sinai, he was quick to add a caveat to this permissive will for those of his people who desired to marry more than one wife. In the book of Deuteronomy, while anticipating when Israel would demand for a human king so as to be like the other nations around them, God warned the future leaders of his people about the things they must avoid having in excess, in order to safeguard their hearts and their kingdom—wives, money and horses (instruments of mobility in war), representing the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. In this article, we shall consider the danger that acquiring multiple wives and expanding a harem poses to a king, and by extension, all leaders, especially spiritual leaders of God’s people.

Deuteronomy 17:14-17
When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me, you may indeed set a king over you whom the LORD your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, You shall never return that way again. And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

Moses’ command to Israel’s future leaders against multiplying wives for themselves was very clear and unambiguous—it would turn their hearts away from God if they did, Moses warned. It’s instructive to note that the Lord wasn’t referring just to foreign women here; rather, he was referring to all women, including the women of Israel. Now, how does acquiring multiple wives turn a man’s heart away from God? How does multiplying wives undermine one’s relationship with God? Moses did not explain how possessing many wives would turn away the heart of a king from God, but King Lemuel gave us a hint in the book of Proverbs. Lemuel’s mother warned him not to give his strength to women, nor his ways to those who destroy kings. In other words, multiple wives would dissipate his strength and divert his attention from both God and the task of governance and leadership. We see examples of kings and great men who fell from their lofty heights of glory in scripture, by their lust for multiple wives—Solomon readily comes to mind here.

Proverbs 31:1-3
The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him: What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb? What are you doing, son of my vows? Do not give your strength to women, your ways to those who destroy kings.

1 Kings 11:1-4
Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods. Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

But it’s until the new testament that we are able to get a clearer understanding of why leaders especially should avoid multiplying wives. Paul was emphatic about the fact that only monogamous men should be appointed as elders (overseers) and deacons in the church. His reason was clear —a wife places great conjugal demands on the time and attention of a husband, ordinarily diminishing the time and attention available for the Lord. A leader of God’s people needs to be fully devoted to the Lord and his flock. Multiplied domestic responsibilities as occasioned by many wives would thus distract an overseer significantly from the Lord and from his flock. It was to have more time for the Lord and the church that men like Paul who had the grace to be celibate chose not to marry, so as to serve the Lord without hindrance.

1 Timothy 3:1-2
The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

1 Timothy 3:4-5
He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?

Titus 1:5-8
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

1 Corinthians 7:32-35
I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

If some men needed to avoid marriage altogether in order to offer undivided devotion to the Lord, how will a polygamist leading God’s people find the necessary time and space to be fully devoted to the Lord and his flock? The challenge of pleasing multiple wives and children would create enough tension at the home front to distract from being fully committed to the Lord. Most of the challenges David had as king of Israel were from his multiple wives and their rival children, who created enough confusion at the home front to nearly torpedo David’s reign and his relationship with God. We shall come back to David and his duelling family later.

Also, the rivalry among many wives (and their children) that naturally comes with polygamy turns what should be a united and happy home front into a battle field of devious scheming and plotting by the multiple wives and their children, in order to capture the best of the man’s time, resources and love. Such a house divided against itself cannot stand when the enemy comes calling. We see two sisters—Leah and Rachel —become bitter enemies and rivals as a result of sharing a husband in a polygamous setting. Their children too naturally followed in the malice and enmity of their mothers. The result was that Jacob suffered a lot of self-inflicted crises, and dissipated his energy fighting many avoidable battles at home (Genesis chapters 29-39).

David too suffered many disasters because of the many wives he acquired, as wife pitted against wife, and their children against one another, in the women’s battle to win David’s favour and secure the best inheritance for their children. Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar. Absalom avenged this humiliation and disgrace upon his sister by killing his half-brother Amnon, and eventually led an unsuccessful rebellion to oust David from power, sleeping with his step-mothers in the process. Bathsheba schemed deviously for the throne for her son Solomon. Solomon sanctioned the death of his half-brother Adonijah on becoming king (2Samuel chapters 13-19; 1Kings chapters 1-2). These were some of the troubles David brought upon himself, for failing to heed Moses’ warning not to multiply wives as a king. Truly, not to pay heed to God’s word can only bring trouble and sorrow.

In conclusion, though polygamy was permitted by God and was codified and legitimised in the law, God was careful to warn his people, especially the leaders, about the danger of multiplying wives. Multiple wives, Moses warned, would turn a king’s heart away from God and jeopardize his rule and kingdom. The demands of multiple wives, as well as the rivalry and competition that develop amongst them, would dissipate a man’s strength, create avoidable battles at the home front and reduce time and attention available for God and leadership of God’s people. Polygamous men like Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon presided over much chaos and confusion at home, as a result of incessant fighting amongst their many wives and their children. No wonder the apostle Paul precluded polygamists from occupying leadership positions in the church, for if a man is not able to rule over his own house well, how can he be expected to rule over the house of God?

Thanks for visiting the blog. If you were blessed by the message, kindly like, drop a comment and share with your friends and loved ones on your social media platforms.  You can also follow us to have new posts sent directly to your inbox. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always! Amen!

Judge Not, That You Be Not Judged: Is That To Mean Christians Can’t Judge People, Doctrines And Situations?

(All Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version).

Matthew 7:1-5
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

People often quote the above statement by the Lord Jesus Christ to imply that we’re not to judge anyone or anything as Christians. That is to say, we’re not to assess, evaluate or draw conclusions about people, situations or things, as all judgments should be left to God. Is that really what the Scripture above means? Did the Lord Jesus really forbid Christians from making reasonable evaluations and deductions about people and situations? We shall analyse the Lord’s statement in context, and refer to other portions of Scripture, in order to understand clearly what the Lord meant in the passage above.

The reason why the Lord warned us to be more circumspect in pronouncing judgment upon others is that the measure we use to judge others is the same measure that will be used to judge us. In other words, we should be humane and objective in our judgment of others, knowing that the same principles and measures we apply in judging them will be applied to us, when the table turns, as it will surely do! Do we want people to be more understanding as they judge us? Then, we should be more understanding as we judge others too. Do we want people to hear us out first and get all the facts before judging us? We should hear others out too, and get all the facts before judging them! So, we must apply the same yardstick to others as we’d like to be applied to us. In other words, we should be fair and objective and humane in our judgment of others.

Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

But more importantly, the Lord requires us to judge ourselves first, before we judge others! Before we examine other people’s eyes to see the speck in them, let’s be sure we’ve looked into our own eyes and are not harbouring some logs in there! What this means is that, we should not be too quick to condemn people for the very same things we’re doing! We should first clean up our own house before asking others to clean theirs! Anything short of this is hypocrisy! Being quick to judge others while doing the same (or worse) things they’re doing undermines our moral authority as righteous judges! He who comes to equity must come with clean hands. So, before we judge others, let’s begin by judging ourselves. Let’s examine ourselves first before we examine others, using and applying the same principles and measures we use for ourselves on others. We should do unto others as we’d have them do unto us, for that’s the golden rule!

Matthew 7:3-5
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:12 So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Just to show that the Lord Jesus isn’t against absolutely judging people and situations (including doctrines and practices in the church), he commended a group of Christians for rightly judging as false some people who called themselves apostles but weren’t! The apostles of the Lord admonished Christians to judge/test/try all spirits (in people!), and to pay heed to the doctrines we accept and practice, judging them by the original apostolic pattern. Jesus said also we’re to judge prophets by their fruits, in order not to be deceived by those who’re false, for they will abound in the last days. Finally, Paul taught that a spiritual man can judge all things, and praised as noble and honourable, a group of Christians who scrutinized and judged his teachings with the Scriptures, before accepting them!

Revelation 2:1-2
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.

1 John 4:1-3
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

Matthew 7:15-20
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

The Acts 17:10-12
The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.

1 Peter 4:17-18
For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?

In conclusion, the command to ‘judge not’ should not be taken out of context to mean Christians are absolutely forbidden from making evaluations and assessments of people, situations and things. Rather, the command is to ensure we’re objective and fair and just in our judgment of others, beginning that judgment with ourselves before extending it to others. Also, the Lord implied we should use just and balanced measures in judging ourselves and others, relying on the infallible word of God as our absolute yardstick for judgment, and not on our impulses, whims and caprices.

John 7:24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.

Thanks for visiting the blog. If you were blessed by the message, kindly like, drop a comment and share with your friends and loved ones on your social media platforms.  You can also follow us to have new posts sent directly to your inbox. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always! Amen!

Laodicea—The Materially Rich But Spiritually Poor Church!

(All Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version).

The seven churches in Asia Minor that the Lord Jesus Christ chose to write special letters to had some interesting features, which together, reflect the spectrum of characteristics to be displayed by individual Christians and churches throughout the church age. The seventh church, in chronological order, that was addressed by the Lord was Laodicea. We shall briefly review Christ’s message to the Laodicean church, so as to draw out the unique features and experiences of that church, as well as lessons to be learned from them.

Revelation 3:14-22
And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

So, that’s the full letter from the Lord Jesus to the church in Laodicea. Out of all the seven churches the Lord addressed personally in the book of Revelation, Laodicea was the only one that had nothing good to be commended for, before being rebuked for their shortcoming. There was absolutely nothing good in this church that the Lord commended! But that didn’t mean the church didn’t consider itself commendable, or that it didn’t judge itself as doing well. Actually, the Laodicean church didn’t see anything wrong with itself. The church believed it was doing exceptionally well! It was rich, it had an abundance of material wealth and it actually believed it didn’t need or lack anything! Now, whose report are we going to believe about the Laodicean church? That of Christ or of the Laodicean church? But what does the Scripture say? Let God be true and every man a liar! Therefore, the Laodicean church’s assessment of itself has to be false then as it contradicts Christ’s assessment of the church! The Lord should be commending us, not we commending ourselves, for he’s the ultimate judge and rewarder, not any man or group of men!

Romans 3:4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.

2 Corinthians 3:1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you?

1 Corinthians 4:1-5
This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

So this church was described by the Lord as lukewarm; it was neither hot nor cold. It wasn’t a church on fire, spiritually speaking, but neither was it dead cold. It was a church sitting on the fence, being neither here nor there. And the Lord hated this position the church had adopted! He would rather have a fiery church to commend fully, or a dead cold one to bury right away. It’s better we’re completely heavenly or completely worldly. To mix heavenliness with worldliness produces a church that nauseates Christ and makes him want to spit it out!

Revelation 3:15-16
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

Now, why was the Laodicean church such a lukewarm assembly? Why had their spiritual temperature dropped from about 100°C to say, 20°C? The answer may be found in what the church was placing emphasis on, and where their treasure was. What was the focus of the Laodicean church? What was their vision? What were they dissipating all their energies upon? The church in Laodicea had a different yardstick for measuring spiritual success. Though the Lord considered the church to be poor, blind, naked, wretched and miserable, the Laodiceans considered themselves to be rich and prosperous and in need of nothing! This was a church absolutely focused on material prosperity. It measured its spiritual success by the abundance of gold in its coffers! To this church, great material gain meant great godliness! It was a church that saw earthly prosperity as the evidence of occupying the earth for Christ. But, the problem was that this church had gathered so much gold that its focus had shifted from God to gold. Because its treasure was on earth, the heart of this church was right here on earth too, where its treasure was. No wonder the Laodicean church was lukewarm towards heavenly things. No wonder they were spiritually poor, blind, naked, wretched and miserable. The church loved gold more than God, and the love of money had dampened its enthusiasm for God and diluted its zeal and spiritual fervency.

Matthew 6:19-34
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

1 Timothy 6:6-12
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

If the picture of the Laodicean church isn’t a reflection of this end-time church, then nothing is. Like the Laodiceans, majority of churches today are, at best, lukewarm in their zeal and spiritual fervency. Like the Laodicean church, the end-time church is extremely rich and prosperous, and believes it’s doing well spiritually and has need of nothing. But like the Laodiceans, we’re spiritually poor, blind, naked, wretched and miserable, and we’re not even aware of it! Because we measure ourselves by ourselves, we’re deluded into believing we’re in great spiritual shape. But, compared with the original apostolic standard of holiness, godliness, love, faith, power and zeal for God, we’re a million miles away from the apostolic mark. And it’s by that original apostolic standard that the Lord judges every church during the church age, for the original apostolic faith is the only authentic version of Christianity, and the gold standard by which everyone is going to be judged.

Galatians 1:6-9
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

Jude 1:3-4
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Revelation 2:4-5
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

It’s obvious then that crass materialism quenches the fire of righteousness and spiritual zeal like nothing else. An inordinate desire for wealth resets a church’s focus from heaven to earth. Laying up treasures on earth simply keeps the believer’s heart glued to the earth. The worship of gold cannot coexist with the worship of God, for no one can serve two masters at a time. We cannot serve God and mammon! For as long as the church is obsessed with the prosperity gospel, its zeal for spiritual things will keep waning, and it will keep getting more and more spiritually blind, naked, poor, wretched and miserable. The more the church pursues after gold, the less of God it will have, and it will end up nauseating God so much that it risks being spat out of the Lord’s mouth.

Is there any hope for this modern-day Laodicean church of ours? Is there any way of avoiding the danger of being spat out of Christ’s mouth because of our lukewarmness? By his grace, the Lord has provided a way of escape for us, like he did for the Laodicean church. To escape the catastrophic judgement of God hanging upon our materialistic churches, we must be zealous and repent. We must come to the Lord in humility to buy from him, without price and without money, the true spiritual gold of the undiluted original apostolic gospel, that we may be truly rich. We must return to the original apostolic faith and contend earnestly for it. For our spiritual eyes that have been blinded by the gold of this world to be opened, we must receive and apply to it the spiritual salve from the Lord. We must pray for the eyes of our spiritual understanding to be enlightened by the spirit of wisdom and revelation. To be clothed from our spiritual nakedness, we must seek the white garment of true righteousness from the Lord, in exchange for our filthy garments of boastful self-righteousness, for the white garment is the righteousness of the saints. We must repent from our worldly ways and our love of money, and turn back to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, that every other thing might be added unto us. We must flee from covetousness and greed and lay hold firmly on eternal life and pursue after righteousness and godliness. That’s the only way to conquer and reign with Christ in the hereafter.

Revelation 3:18-21
I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Revelation 19:7-8
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

1 Timothy 6:11-12
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

In conclusion, the Laodicean church in the book of Revelation was a very prosperous church that gloried in its abundance of wealth and judged itself to be doing well spiritually, supposing that material gain was equal to godliness. However, the Lord Jesus described the church as spiritually poor, blind, naked, wretched and miserable. Laodicea’s material prosperity led to a dampening of its enthusiasm for God, making it a rather tepid and lukewarm church that was in danger of being spat out from the Lord’s mouth. Laodicea has much in common with the modern-day church that’s driven by the prosperity gospel. Like Laodicea, the contemporary church is materially rich but spiritually poor, blind, naked, wretched and miserable, and doesn’t even know it! Like Laodicea, the end-time church is tepid and lukewarm in his zeal and fervency for God and for heavenly things, having become settled in the world where its treasure is. The only way to avoid the judgement Laodicea was threatened with is for the church to repent and be zealous, and to readjust its values and goals, and place the pursuit of God above that of gold. Only by denouncing the love of money and seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness shall we regain right standing with God and our moral authority in the world.

Thanks for visiting the blog. If you were blessed by the message, kindly like, drop a comment and share with your friends and loved ones on your social media platforms.  You can also follow us to have new posts sent directly to your inbox. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always! Amen!

Is Material Prosperity Necessarily A Sign Of Divine Approval?

(All Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version).

It’s common among modern-day Christians to equate material prosperity with divine blessings, and to assume all is well with a Christian, spiritually-speaking, as long as the person is prospering materially. Is it right to always assume that prosperity means divine approval? Can a Christian who is prospering materially be out of tune with God? We shall examine the Scripture to answer these questions.

In Christ’s letter to the church in Laodicea (in the book of Revelation), we find a church that was doing extremely well materially. The Laodicean church was rich and had experienced great material blessings. It was so prosperous that it felt it didn’t need any further blessings. Isn’t that the dream of every one, including most of us Christians? To be so blessed materially that every need is met and we don’t lack or need anything? Wouldn’t that be an answer to most people’s prayers? Well, the Christians in Laodicea actually thought so and felt so cool and great about their abundance of wealth. In fact, they appeared to be glorying in it! But, what was the divine perception of their spiritual state? Was their material abundance a sign of divine approval? Let’s hear Jesus’ verdict concerning the spiritual state of that church.

Revelation 3:14-19
And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

Wow! What a withering and scathing rebuke! This church appeared to be living in opposite worlds —it was extremely rich materially, but also extremely poor spiritually! It had all it needed materially, but it seemed to lack everything it needed spiritually! The same church that was glorying in its material prosperity and its great vision was judged by the Lord to be poor (spiritually), blind (spiritually), naked (spiritually), wretched, miserable and not even aware of it! How can a group of Christians be so disconnected from spiritual reality? How can an assembly of supposedly spiritual people be so deluded and out of sync with the divine will? This rebuke to the prosperous church of Laodicea should be a wake-up call to all of us! It simply means pursuing material prosperity the way a lot of us do, especially in pentecostal circles, can derail us spiritually! It means prosperity is not necessarily a sign of divine blessings or divine approval! It means we can acquire great riches at the expense of our souls!

The New Testament is actually very clear about the fact that the yard stick for measuring divine favour isn’t material prosperity. In the gospels and apostolic epistles, we find innumerable warnings about the danger riches and the love of money can pose to spiritual health. The New Testament writers took great pains to show how the unbridled pursuit of prosperity can undermine our relationship with God and wreck our faith. We’re told that we cannot serve God and Mammon (money) at the same time; that the love of money is the root of all evil, which some having gone after, have pierced themselves with many sorrows. Not only are we told about the dangers of greed and covetousness, we are actually warned to flee from them! Yes, to flee from the pursuit of riches! To flee from the love of money! To flee from greed and covetousness!

Matthew 6:19-24
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

1 Timothy 6:6-12
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

The prosperity gospel many in pentecostal circles glory in is patently false then! The rat race to amass more and more wealth, so common in our age among churches and Christians, is contrary to the spirit of the New Testament! Christ condemned that spirit in the Laodicean church, and he still condemns it in our churches today! To boast in our wealth as Christians is to glory in our shame! Being rich and increased with goods is no evidence of being right with God! Lacking nothing materially is no proof that all is well with our soul! We can enjoy great prosperity and still end up damned! The yardstick for measuring our spiritual well-being is not the depth of our pockets or the fatness of our bank accounts! True riches are spiritual, not physical, and the things that elicit divine praise and approval are the spiritual fruits of righteousness, not material prosperity.

Luke 12:15-34
And he said to them, Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. And he told them a parable, saying, The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops? And he said, I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry. But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be? So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. And he said to his disciples, Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

In conclusion, though God blesses and prospers people materially, material prosperity is not always evidence of divine approval. As Christians, we’re to pursue after God, not wealth. An inordinate ambition for material riches that sidetracks God or that puts wealth ahead of him is tantamount to serving mammon instead of God. The love of money still remains the root of all evil, and those who pursue after wealth instead of God will make a shipwreck of their faith and pierce their souls with many sorrows. We may be rich and increased with goods and think we have need of nothing, but in the Lord’s eyes, we may be poor, blind, naked, wretched and miserable! The prosperity gospel that many in pentecostal circles glory in is patently false and anti-New Testament! Godliness with contentment is still great gain, and we’re to put aside the foolishness of the unbridled prosperity gospel and lay hold on eternal life, if we’re to avoid making shipwreck of our faith.

Matthew 16:26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?

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The Anti-Christ/The Beast (Part1): A Biblical Overview Of The Ultimate Man Of Sin And Mankind’s Satanic Ruler Of The Last World Empire!

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version).

The anti-Christ spirit is any spirit that opposes and counters the Person and works of Jesus Christ. Thus, any spirit that denies the divinity of Christ, his incarnation, his vicarious suffering, death and resurrection for humanity’s redemption, as well as his bodily return to earth as King of kings and Lord of lords, is anti-Christ. Many individuals have manifested the anti-Christ spirit, beginning from apostolic times, in denying the divinity of Christ and his unique place as God’s only begotten Son and mankind’s only Saviour and Redeemer. Combating the anti-Christ spirit was a crucial part of the original apostolic ministry. It was part of the work of contending earnestly for the original apostolic faith. The fight to defend the Person and works of Christ is a fight to preserve the heart and soul of Christianity. It’s the substance of Christian apologetics.

1 John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

1 John 2:20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.

1 John 2:21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.

1 John 2:22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.

1 John 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.

1 John 2:24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.

1 John 2:25 And this is the promise that he made to us— eternal life.

1 John 2:26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.

1 John 2:27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything—and is true and is no lie, just as it has taught you—abide in him.

1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.

1 John 2:29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,

1 John 4:3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

1 John 4:5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them.

1 John 4:6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Jude 1:3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

Jude 1:4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

The anti-Christ spirit is simply the satanic spirit of error trying to pervert the truth of the gospel and lead men and women away from God and into perdition. Although that spirit has possessed and used many men and women down through the ages to undermine the Person and works of Christ, the anti-Christ spirit will find its fullest expression and incarnation in a man towards the end of the age, just before the return of Christ to the earth in power and glory. Just as God became fully incarnate in a man called Jesus Christ, Satan’s anti-Christ spirit will fully incarnate a man too, who will be the very personification of Satan, as Christ is the very personification of God. This man, the anti-Christ, is variously called the man of sin or lawlessness, and the Beast, in the Bible, and will represent Satan’s ultimate personification of rebellion among men. He will receive the full authority and power of Satan, and will exalt himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, making himself out as God. Satan’s ultimate purpose in deflecting worship away from the true God is to be worshipped himself, and he will achieve that through the person and ministry of the anti-Christ, who, with the full help and power of Satan at his disposal, will deceive almost the entire world into worshipping him as God. The anti-Christ will be the ultimate and final political, religious, economic and social ruler of the world, and he will have all the powers of Satan behind him in compelling almost all who dwell on the earth to worship Satan (through himself), or be excluded from participating in the political and economic activities of the world, and even be killed. He will be the ultimate universal evil dictator, under a unified world order controlled entirely by Satan, the god of this world.

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,

2 Thessalonians 2:2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

2 Thessalonians 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

2 Thessalonians 2:5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?

2 Thessalonians 2:6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,

2 Thessalonians 2:10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,

2 Thessalonians 2:12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Revelation 13:1 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.

Revelation 13:2 And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.

Revelation 13:3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.

Revelation 13:4 And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?

Revelation 13:5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.

Revelation 13:6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven.

Revelation 13:7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation,

Revelation 13:8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.

Revelation 13:9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear:

Revelation 13:10 If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

Revelation 13:11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.

Revelation 13:12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.

Revelation 13:13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people,

Revelation 13:14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived.

Revelation 13:15 And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.

Revelation 13:16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead,

Revelation 13:17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.

Revelation 13:18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

The anti-Christ, the man of sin, or the Beast, as he’s variously called in Scripture, will be revealed or become manifest after the rapture of the Church, for it’s the presence of the Church on earth that’s restraining his manifestation. When the church, the restraining influence, is taken out of the way in the rapture, the anti-Christ will rise to power and take control of a new world order that’s completely satanic and evil, and that enforces the direct worship of Satan through the Beast. The kings of the earth will hand over their power and authority to the anti-Christ, after he has subdued a few of them. This man of sin, whose coming is after the activity of Satan, will possess and manifest the entirety of Satan’s supernatural powers, with which he will mercilessly crush anyone resisting him. After defeating a few world powers, the rest will hand over their power and authority to him, to make him the supreme world ruler. His reign of lawlessness, which will target primarily restored Israel (who will be God’s main representatives on earth and carriers of the Gospel message), will seek to destroy Israel and any group carrying the knowledge of the one true God and of his Son Jesus Christ. He will enforce that people pay absolute allegiance to him and Satan, by receiving his mark and bowing down to his image, if they are to participate in any economic activity in the world. Those who refuse to worship him will be persecuted and killed. He will have power to overcome and subdue the saints of God until the return of Christ in power and glory, who will cast him alive into the lake of fire, as well as destroy his armies.

Revelation 17:1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters,

Revelation 17:2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.

Revelation 17:3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns.

Revelation 17:4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality.

Revelation 17:5 And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.

Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly.

Revelation 17:7 But the angel said to me, Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her.

Revelation 17:8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.

Revelation 17:9 This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated;

Revelation 17:10 they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while.

Revelation 17:11 As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction.

Revelation 17:12 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast.

Revelation 17:13 These are of one mind and hand over their power and authority to the beast.

Revelation 17:14 They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.

Revelation 17:15 And the angel said to me, The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages.

Revelation 17:16 And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire,

Revelation 17:17 for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

Revelation 17:18 And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.

During the reign of the anti-Christ, the men and women of the world who submit to his worship and rule will experience the severe wrath of God in the form of the great tribulation, which is a series of cataclysmic disruptions in nature to torment the inhabitants of the world. Both in the heavens, on earth and in the waters beneath the earth, God will use every elements of nature to torment those who submit to the rule of the anti-Christ. It will be a period of catastrophe never before experienced in the world. Men will seek for death to consume them, by virtue of the sufferings of the great tribulation, but death will be far from them. They will be tortured almost to death… but just almost. Immediately after the great tribulation, the Lord Jesus Christ will return to the earth in the Second Advent, to destroy the anti-Christ and his armies, and to set up the kingdom of God on earth and rule over the earth for a thousand years. It will be such a glorious reign of peace, righteousness, justice and prosperity that mankind has never imagined possible. It will be literally paradise restored on earth.

Revelation 14:6 Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.

Revelation 14:7 And he said with a loud voice, Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.

Revelation 14:8 Another angel, a second, followed, saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.

Revelation 14:9 And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,

Revelation 14:10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.

Revelation 16:1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.

Revelation 16:2 So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth, and harmful and painful sores came upon the people who bore the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.

Revelation 16:3 The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea.

Revelation 16:4 The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood.

Revelation 16:5 And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments.

Revelation 16:6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!

Revelation 16:7 And I heard the altar saying, Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!

Revelation 16:8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire.

Revelation 16:9 They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.

Revelation 16:10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish

Revelation 16:11 and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.

Revelation 16:12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east.

Revelation 16:13 And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs.

Revelation 16:14 For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.

Revelation 16:15 (Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!)

Revelation 16:16 And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.

Revelation 16:17 The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, It is done!

Revelation 16:18 And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake.

Revelation 16:19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath.

Revelation 16:20 And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found.

Revelation 16:21 And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.

In conclusion, the anti-Christ, or the Beast, will be the ultimate personification of the spirit of anti-Christ, which has been fighting, down through the ages, to deny the Person and works of Christ. That spirit will incarnate a man towards the end of this age, who will exalt himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, making himself out as God. His appearing will be after the activity of Satan, who will hand all his power and authority to the anti-Christ, whereby he will do great signs and wonders to deceive the inhabitants of the earth to worship and serve him, and to receive his mark of allegiance. Those who refuse to bow down to him and his government will be persecuted and killed without mercy. The Anti-Christ will rise to the throne of the world after the rapture of the church. He will rule until the return of Christ in power and glory in the Second Advent, when he will be destroyed by being cast alive into the lake of fire. But before the Second Advent, God will plague the earth severely during the reign of the anti-Christ (the great tribulation), wherein the men who submit to the rule of the anti-Christ, and who worship him, will be severely tormented. By receiving the mark of the Beast and by worshiping him, such people will be doomed for ever, as they can never again experience God’s salvation. The lake of fire is the ultimate destination of such men, as well as the Beast whom they worshipped.

Revelation 19:11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

Revelation 19:12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.

Revelation 19:13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.

Revelation 19:14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.

Revelation 19:15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

Revelation 19:16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

Revelation 19:17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, Come, gather for the great supper of God,

Revelation 19:18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.

Revelation 19:19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies geathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.

Revelation 19:20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

Revelation 19:21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

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The Second Advent: Jesus Is Coming Back In Power And Glory To Take Over The Kingdoms Of This World!

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version)

One of the most consistent teachings in the New Testament is the return of Jesus Christ to the earth, in power and glory, to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. Jesus told his disciples about his Second Advent on many occasions, linking his return in power to their hope of glory. Jesus is coming back to the earth bodily, just as the disciples saw him ascend back to heaven. That’s what the angels told them at his ascension, as they kept gazing after him in a forlorn manner, as he disappeared into heaven. After Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came down upon the disciples and kept reminding them of this and other words of Jesus, the Second Advent became the focus of the disciples, and a rallying cry to get believers to be heavenly-minded. The appearing of the Lord in glory to reward every man according to his works is supposed to fire up our zeal for God and encourage us not to become weary in doing good.

The Acts 1:1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach,

The Acts 1:2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.

The Acts 1:3 To them he presented himself alive after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

The Acts 1:4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, you heard from me;

The Acts 1:5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

The Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, they asked him, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?

The Acts 1:7 He said to them, It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.

The Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

The Acts 1:9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

The Acts 1:10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,

The Acts 1:11 and said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Matthew 16:25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 16:26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?

Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

Revelation 1:4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,

Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood

Revelation 1:6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

Revelation 3:11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

Revelation 22:12 Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.

Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.

Let’s quickly clarify some things here. The Second Advent is not the rapture, when the Lord comes to take away the saints from the earth to heaven. In the rapture, which precedes the Second Advent by some years, Christ comes down from heaven and remains in the sky, where the resurrected dead saints and the transformed living ones get caught up to meet him in the air. He doesn’t descend to the earth, and he’s not seen by all men, save the saints alone who behold him. In contrast, in the Second Advent, Jesus descends to the earth in power and glory, accompanied by the raptured saints and holy angels, and is seen by all. All eyes on earth will behold him then (just like all eyes behold the sun at once all over the world), and people on the earth then will wail because of him, for he is coming to judge and overthrow the kingdoms of this world in order to establish the kingdom of God on earth!

Zechariah 14:1 Behold, a day is coming for the LORD, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst.

Zechariah 14:2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Zechariah 14:3 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.

Zechariah 14:4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.

Zechariah 14:5 And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

Revelation 19:11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

Revelation 19:12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.

Revelation 19:13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.

Revelation 19:14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.

Revelation 19:15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

Revelation 19:16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

Revelation 19:17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, Come, gather for the great supper of God,

Revelation 19:18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.

Revelation 19:20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

Revelation 19:21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

Revelation 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

Unlike the rapture which has no predicted signs in Scriptures heralding it, being an event that will occur suddenly and secretly, the Second Advent is to be preceded by certain Scriptural signs. The Lord himself told the apostles there would be a great apostasy in the period preceding his Second Advent, with religion growing cold and lots of false prophets arising to deceive and lead many astray. Natural disasters and human conflicts will also rachet up in the period leading to the Second Advent, causing unprecedented chaos. Then there would be visible signs of judgement in the sky, sea and land, cataclysmic changes in nature, to be experienced by the people on earth, before the Lord appears with the holy angels and resurrected saints, in power and glory. These terrifying signs—the sun refusing to give her light, the blood moon, the shaking of the heavenly bodies, unprecedented earthquakes, etc, are parts of the great tribulation judgement that would plague the world and strike such terror in the hearts of the inhabitants of the earth at the time of the Second Advent.

Matthew 24:1 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple.

Matthew 24:2 But he answered them, You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.

Matthew 24:3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?

Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered them, See that no one leads you astray.

Matthew 24:5 For many will come in my name, saying, I am the Christ, and they will lead many astray.

Matthew 24:6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

Matthew 24:7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

Matthew 24:8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

Matthew 24:9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.

Matthew 24:10 And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.

Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.

Matthew 24:12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

Matthew 24:13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 24:15 So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place ( let the reader understand),

Matthew 24:16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

Matthew 24:17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house,

Matthew 24:18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.

Matthew 24:19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!

Matthew 24:20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.

Matthew 24:21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.

Matthew 24:22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

Matthew 24:23 Then if anyone says to you, Look, here is the Christ! or There he is! do not believe it.

Matthew 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

Matthew 24:25 See, I have told you beforehand.

Matthew 24:26 So, if they say to you, Look, he is in the wilderness, do not go out. If they say, Look, he is in the inner rooms, do not believe it.

Matthew 24:27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Matthew 24:28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Matthew 24:30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Paul also tells us, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, that the Second Advent will take place during the reign of the Anti-Christ, the man of lawlessness whose coming is after the activity of Satan, and who will deceive the world to reject God and follow after Satan in the worship of the Anti-Christ. Christ will come at the end of the reign of the Anti-Christ, to destroy him, dismantle his kingdom and establish the Kingdom of God on earth. Christ is coming with the raptured saints (who had to be taken out of the way first, in the rapture, for the Anti-Christ to be revealed) who, together with the holy angels, would wage war on the Anti-Christ and his armies. The armies of the Anti-Christ will be defeated and destroyed by the Lord, and he (the Anti-Christ) and his false prophet will be cast alive into the lake of fire. These are the very first of Christ’s actions in the Second Advent. Jesus is coming back as the King of kings and the Lord of lords, as the Lion of the tribe of Judah!

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,

2 Thessalonians 2:2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

2 Thessalonians 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

2 Thessalonians 2:5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?

2 Thessalonians 2:6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,

2 Thessalonians 2:10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,

2 Thessalonians 2:12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

2 Thessalonians 2:14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,

2 Thessalonians 2:17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

After defeating the Anti-Christ and his armies upon descending to the earth in the Second Advent, the Lord will separate and judge the nations on the earth at the time of his Advent, separating the sheep from the goat nations, based on their dealings with the restored nation of Israel during the reign of the Anti-Christ. Those nations who helped persecuted Israel to escape the wrath of the Anti-Christ will receive the blessings of the Lord, and will be rewarded with everlasting life. These are the sheep nations. The goat nations are those that refused to help restored Israel in her hour of national distress and persecution from the Anti-Christ; they will be rewarded with everlasting shame and contempt by the Lord. Thus, God’s eternal promise, sworn under oath, of blessing those that bless Israel, and of cursing those that curse them, will be honoured till the very end, for God cannot lie, nor will he alter the thing that has gone out of his mouth. The rest of those remaining on earth will thus be ushered into the mellenial reign of Christ, for the next one thousand years. Satan will be bound and cast into the abyss during this period, and will not be available to tempt or deceive people on earth during this glorious period. Only the resurrected saints and those alive on earth at the time of the second Advent (who were neither part of the armies of the Anti-Christ, nor among the goat nations that persecuted the Jews) will be part of this reign of Christ on earth. The rest of the dead will not rise until the thousand years are over. What a glorious time it will be on earth then, as righteousness, peace, justice and prosperity flourish in unimaginable ways!

Matthew 25:31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.

Matthew 25:32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Matthew 25:33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.

Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Matthew 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

Matthew 25:36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.

Matthew 25:37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?

Matthew 25:38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?

Matthew 25:39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?

Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.

Matthew 25:41 Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Matthew 25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,

Matthew 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.

Matthew 25:44 Then they also will answer, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?

Matthew 25:45 Then he will answer them, saying, Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.

Matthew 25:46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Luke 19:11 As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.

Luke 19:12 He said therefore, A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return.

Luke 19:13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, Engage in business until I come.

Luke 19:14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, We do not want this man to reign over us.

Luke 19:15 When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business.

Luke 19:16 The first came before him, saying, Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.

Luke 19:17 And he said to him, Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.

Luke 19:18 And the second came, saying, Lord, your mina has made five minas.

Luke 19:19 And he said to him, And you are to be over five cities.

Luke 19:20 Then another came, saying, Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief;

Luke 19:21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.

Luke 19:22 He said to him, I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow?

Luke 19:23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?

Luke 19:24 And he said to those who stood by, Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.

Luke 19:25 And they said to him, Lord, he has ten minas!

Luke 19:26 I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

Luke 19:27 But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.

Revelation 20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.

Revelation 20:2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,

Revelation 20:3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

Revelation 20:4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Revelation 20:5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.

Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

Isaiah 11:1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

Isaiah 11:2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

Isaiah 11:3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear,

Isaiah 11:4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

Isaiah 11:5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

Isaiah 11:6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.

Isaiah 11:7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

Isaiah 11:8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.

Isaiah 11:9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 2:2 It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it,

Isaiah 2:3 and many peoples shall come, and say: Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Isaiah 2:4 He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

In conclusion, the Second Advent of Christ is distinct from the rapture, being the coming of Christ with the raptured/resurrected saints, to rule upon the earth. The rapture precedes the Second Advent by some years, with the reign of the Anti-Christ interposed between both events. The Second Advent will witness the coming of Christ in power and glory, to destroy the Anti-Christ and his armies, bind and cast Satan into abyss for a thousand years, judge the nations on earth at the time of his appearing (in relation to their treatment of Israel during the reign of the Anti-Christ), and establish the Kingdom of God on earth for a thousand years. Only the resurrected saints and the people left on earth after the judgement of the nations will experience this glorious reign of righteousness, justice, peace and prosperity. The rest of the dead will not rise till the thousand years are over, and will only arise to face the White Throne judgement. As sure as night follows day, the kingdoms of this world will one day become the Kingdom of our God and his Christ, and the saints will rule on the earth alongside their Saviour, King, Lord and Master! Hallelujah!

Revelation 11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.

Revelation 11:16 And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God,

Revelation 11:17 saying, We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.

Revelation 11:18 The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.

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The Rapture: Jesus Christ Is Coming To Get His People Out Of This World As He Promised!

(Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version).

John 14:1 Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

In the passage above, John records Jesus’ own words concerning his coming back to take his people out of this world, that they might be with him in heaven. This is the first part of the coming of Christ after his ascension. In this coming, the Lord is not descending to the earth for all to see and behold him. He is not coming with the risen saints to establish his kingdom on earth. Here, Jesus is coming for the saints, to bring about the resurrection of the dead in Christ, and the transformation and translation of the living saints, that both categories of saints would experience the first resurrection and meet him in the air, for onward movement to heaven, where they will be with him and enjoy their mansions in heaven. This is what is popularly called the ‘rapture’, the term signifying intense bliss, ecstasy and transport, a befitting description for the climax of the Christian experience. Though the word ‘rapture’ does not appear in the Bible, it has been used over the centuries to refer to the translation of the saints to meet the Lord in the air. Thus the translation, or ‘catching up’ of the saints, is an event that was first foretold by the Lord Jesus, during the winding part of his earthly ministry. In the Gospels, only John mentioned this event. All the other Gospels only talked about the Second Advent, wherein the glorified Christ would come back to the earth, with the risen and glorified saints, to defeat the Anti-Christ and establish the kingdom of God on earth.

Paul developed the doctrine of the catching up or translation of the saints further, in his epistles to the Corinthians and Thessalonians. In both epistles, the apostle talked about the resurrection of the dead saints as a necessary prelude to the catching up or translation (rapture) of the church, to meet the Lord in the air. Paul taught that the rapture would be heralded by the Lord Jesus himself descending from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, almost the same way God descended on Mount Sinai, when he came to make himself known to the Israelites and to give them his laws. Here, the Lord will not descend on the earth, but will remain in the sky. The dead saints will then experience a resurrection of their bodies, to be followed by the transformation of the bodies of the living saints into an imperishable, heavenly body. Both categories of saints would then be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and proceed with him to heaven, where they will be till the end of the reign of the Anti-Christ (the Beast), when the Lord, accompanied by the risen and raptured saints and holy angels, would come back to the earth, to defeat the Anti-Christ (the Beast) and set up the kingdom of God on earth.

1 Corinthians 15:20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

1 Corinthians 15:21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.

1 Corinthians 15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

1 Corinthians 15:50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

1 Corinthians 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

1 Corinthians 15:54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory.

1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

1 Thessalonians 4:15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

There are some salient points about the translation of the saints that need to be emphasised here. First, it is a secret event that will only be known by those experiencing it. It will happen suddenly, in a twinkle of an eye. It will be known only by those witnessing and experiencing it. Only the dead in Christ will hear the voice of the Lord that calls their bodies out of the grave; the rest of the dead will not hear that. Only the living saints will hear the command authorising the transformation of their bodies; the rest of those living will not hear that. Only the saints will hear the command to come up hither, by which they will be translated to meet the Lord in the air; the rest of humanity will not hear that, nor will they experience it.

1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

1 Corinthians 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John 5:25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

Revelation 4:1 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.

Revelation 4:2 At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.

Second, apart from the Lord’s shout, the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God heralding the resurrection and translation of the saints, there are no signs of the rapture described in the Scriptures— none in the Gospels, and none in the Epistles! What people traditionally take as the warning signs of the rapture are actually signs of Second Advent. There are no signs described in Scriptures that must be fulfilled before the rapture takes place! Thus, all those looking and watching for some signs, or some events to be accomplished first, before the rapture can take place, will be greatly disappointed! The church is not to watch out for any signs or events to be fulfilled before the rapture takes place, because there are no predicted signs of the rapture in the Scriptures! Because of this, the early church was in constant expectation, not knowing when the Lord would come to take his people away. They were warned to be ready and prepared at all times, because no man knows the day or the hour it would take place. There are predicted events to herald the Second Advent of Christ, but none for the rapture, which is to occur before the Second Advent.

Luke 21:34 But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

Luke 21:35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.

Luke 21:36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.

Matthew 24:42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.

Matthew 24:43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.

Matthew 24:44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Matthew 24:45 Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?

Matthew 24:46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.

Matthew 24:47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.

Matthew 24:48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, My master is delayed,

Matthew 24:49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards,

Matthew 24:50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know

Matthew 24:51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Finally, the rapture will take place before the unveiling of the Anti-Christ (the Beast) and his reign of lawlessness on the earth. The church will be taken out of the way, to be with the Lord in heaven, before the manifestation of the Beast and the issuance of his mark, as well as the great tribulation that will occur during his reign. While all these are going on in the earth, the church of Christ will be in heaven, partaking of the marriage supper of the Lamb. The church will thus escape the reign of the Anti-Christ (the Beast) and the great tribulation, as she will be safe and secure with her Lord and Master and Bridegroom in heaven. Jesus will use the rapture to make the church militant at that time escape the Anti-Christ and the great tribulation that will come upon the whole world. Thus, all frettings and worries by Christians concerning the Beast and his mark are unnecessary and uncalled for. All fears about the mark of the Beast by believers, as well as all speculations concerning it (the most ridiculous being that it is associated with the Covid-19 vaccines) have no biblical basis! The church will be far away in heaven when the Beast will be revealed, and when his damning mark will be in force!

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,

2 Thessalonians 2:2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

2 Thessalonians 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

2 Thessalonians 2:5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?

2 Thessalonians 2:6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

2 Thessalonians 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,

2 Thessalonians 2:10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,

2 Thessalonians 2:12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

2 Thessalonians 2:14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

2 Thessalonians 2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,

2 Thessalonians 2:17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

Revelation 3:10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.

Revelation 3:11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

In conclusion, the rapture, or the catching up of the saints to meet the Lord in the air, is a biblical truth that was first propagated by the Lord himself. It has been the hope of all New Testament saints from the inception of the church. It describes the first resurrection, which only believers in Christ will be partakers of. The rapture is not the Second Advent of Christ, which is an appearing that will be seen by all on the earth, but is distinct from it, preceding the Second Advent by some years. The interval between the rapture and the Second Advent will feature the emergence of the Anti-Christ (the Beast) and the great tribulation, both of which will be brought to an end by the Second Advent of Christ. The rapture is the coming of the Lord to take those in Christ away to heaven; the Second Advent is Christ coming from heaven with the raptured saints to rule the earth. There are no signs in Scriptures to herald the rapture, which will happen suddenly, in a twinkle of an eye. All the signs mentioned in Scriptures concerning the coming of Christ pertain to the Second Advent, not the rapture. Thus, because the rapture will occur before the rise of the Anti-Christ (the Beast) and the great tribulation, faithful Christians need not fear either, for they will escape both, by virtue of being in the first resurrection and in the rapture. The raptured saints will be with the Lord in heaven during the reign of the Anti-Christ and the great tribulation. This is the blessed hope of all Christians of all ages. May we be found in Christ true and faithful, that we may be partakers of this glorious event.

Revelation 19:7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;

Revelation 19:8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

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