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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Soon!-The Catching Away (Pt.2)

(Part 2 of 2) 

“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”-1 Thessalonians 5:9

With the sounding of the trumpets we begin a season of feasts that include the Day of Atonement. It is a time of divine judgment upon the world, at which time the wrath of God will be meted out on all the ungodly; but what about you and I? How do we as believers factor into the equation.

According to 1 Thessalonians 5, we learn from the Apostle Paul that God did not appoint us to suffer wrath. That does not mean that as believers our lives will be free from trials and troubles. We will certainly suffer the wrath of men and Satan, but according to this passage we will not suffer the wrath of God.

In Revelation 3:10, John writes: “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”

John makes two very important observations in this passage. First, there is an hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth and secondly, those who persevere will be kept from it. This idea of keeping people from judgment is in keeping with God’s character. We see it displayed when God protected Noah and his family in the Ark, keeping them from the judgment of the flood and we see it again at Sodom & Gomorrah when God brought Lot and his family out before raining down judgment on those wicked cities..

In fact, Jesus, Himself, after describing the signs of of the times and the end of the age declared: “Watch therefore, and pray, always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”-Luke 21:36

According to Revelation 6:17, the great day of God’s wrath is coming. However, some time prior to the judgments of God being revealed, the Body of Christ is taken out of the way. I believe that it is this event that will trigger the period we know as the Tribulation; the beginning of which is marked by the signing of a  seven year covenant with Israel that is brokered by a man we know simply as the Anti-Christ (Son of Perdition).

“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.-2 Thessalonians 2:1-8

When will all this take place? We do not know!

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.-Mark 13:32

That is why it is so important that we live each day in expectation of the Lord’s coming!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Soon!-The Catching Away (Pt.1)

(Part 1 of 2)

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”-Titus 2:11-14

As we continue our study on the last days and the second coming of Christ, it is hard not to watch the news and wonder just how close are we to His return. As followers of Christ we must be ever watchful of all these things, but we must also remind ourselves of some precious promises that God made to those who have placed their faith in Christ:

In Titus 2:13, Paul encourages believers to live sober, righteous, and godly in this present age as we look forward to the blessed hope and His glorious appearing. It is my contention, for this study, that these two things (the blessed hope and His glorious appearing) are two separate events. The blessed hope referring to the catching away of the church and the glorious appearing to His second coming.

Today we want to focus on the Blessed Hope. In John 14:1-3 Jesus comforted His disciples with these words:

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions;[a] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

Prior to Jesus, the concept of the rapture was a mystery. We see types and shadows of it in the Old Testament, but it is the Apostle Paul that begins to shed some light on this prophetic event. Two passages in particular give us some amazing insight into it:

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”-1 Corinthians 15:51-53

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”-1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

The phrase “caught up”, used here by the Apostle Paul, is derived from the greek word Harpazo from which we glean our understanding and use of the word rapture.

Something very interesting about these passages is their mutual use of trumpets. The use of trumpets is significant when you consider the feasts of Israel. Their are seven primary feasts of Israel that God instructed Israel to keep; four spring feasts and three fall feasts. Through His death, burial and resurrection; Jesus fulfilled all four of the spring feasts: Passover-His death, Unleavened Bread-His burial, Firstfruits-His Resurrection, and Pentecost-Sending of the Holy Spirit. The next group of feasts include the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. Each of these correlate with prophetic events yet to be fulfilled: Trumpets-the catching away, Atonement-Armegeddon/Christ’s second coming, and Tabernacles-The millenial reign of Christ.

Because of the accuracy in which Jesus fulfilled the spring feasts, we can be confident that He will fulfill the fall feasts as well. The Feast of Trumpets is interesting because it is the only feast given two days to celebrate. That is because it is the only feast in which the arrival is dependent upon the confirmed sighting of the new moon before it can officially begin. So it is said that no man knows the day or the hour of its beginning!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Soon!-The promise of His coming. (Pt. 2)

(Part 2)

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”-2 Timothy 3:1-5

Not only are the scriptures clear about the promise of His coming; they are also very descriptive regarding the conditions of the world just prior to His return. This passage in 2 Timothy expounds upon, what it refers to as perilous times. The remarkable thing about the list found here in verses 1-5 is that, each item mentioned has to do with the conditions of men’s hearts.

Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, proud and disobedient. They will be unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, headstrong and haughty! They will have a form of godliness but deny the power of God!  Jude 1:18-19 describes those days this way:

How they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.”

Although these signs are very plainly written, it is easy to overlook these as indicators of the coming of Christ, because we have subtly eased in to these behaviors over the course of generations. This slow fade into moral depravity has caused us to become desensitized to the very things that Paul declared, in his letter to Timothy, to be indications of Christ’s return.

When we see these behaviors prevalent within our society, we should take notice. The Bible is very clear that no man knows the exact timing of Jesus coming (Mark 13:32), but each of us should be aware of the signs of the times. In fact, Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of his days for having a grasp on reading the weather, but could not discern the signs of the times:

He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.”-Matthew 16:2-3

How is it that we have become so obsessed with weather conditions but oblivious to the conditions of men’s hearts? There are those who look at natural disasters, astrological anomalies, and seismic readings as a message from God to mankind; but rarely do they discuss the breakdown in the moral fabric of our society as a serious; even more grievous message.

The Sons of Issachar were a some of King David’s most valiant men and they are described for us in 1 Chronicles 12:32:

“From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.”

These men were not consumed with dates, times, weather conditions or signs in the heavens. They were, however, able to discern the depravity of their day and direct Israel to the best course of action.

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church