Have you been to the Doctor for a check-up lately? No, I’m not talking about the one in the white coat, (if you are lucky enough to actually get an appointment), I’m talking about the Holy Spirit.
He will examine your heart to look for signs that the disease of sin is growing into something that requires “surgery”. You cannot let yourself be examined by the Holy Spirit unless you are first “in” the Spirit. After all, this is called a “self”-examination.
“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:28, 31-32).
BELIEVERS ARE ALIVE IN THE SPIRIT
Yes, it is possible to be “alive” in the Spirit while not “walking” in the spirit:
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Galatians 5:25; Romans 8:9, 12-13).
God will judge His children who try to walk according to the flesh. It is impossible for the child of God, if he or she strays into habitual sin, to walk according to the flesh for very long. That is what our examination is supposed to reveal for us to correct, before God steps in and corrects it for us. Notice what God says about the discipline of His children:
“And make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:13).
When you try to “walk” in the flesh, God will correct your path! It is definitely going to hurt so you really should judge yourself so you will not be “corrected” by the Lord. God’s ultimate goal of course is for you to “be healed”, that is, to put to death the deeds of the body through the work of the Holy Spirit.
If we would “condemn”(judge) ourselves we would not be chastened by the Lord. We must judge ourselves and repent in order to change the behavior for which the Lord will chasten us, to cause His hand of judgment to lift away.
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God” (1 Peter 4:17)?
“For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:30-31).
Paul always stressed the seriousness of God’s chastening judgment on the believer who is not walking in the Spirit. So, when at times you feel overwhelming guilt, you have likely not been “walking” in the Spirit.
Satan wants you to think you are “eternally” condemned when you have strayed from abiding in Christ. If he can get you to be consumed with worry over your eternal state, you will be sidetracked from repenting of the sins weighing you down in your temporary state, (the flesh).
Satan wants a root of bitterness to spring up in you, as a result of extreme worry over your salvation, so you will continue to walk away from the path of Christ.
BELIEVERS ARE NOT ETERNALLY CONDEMNED
God does not want us to condemn ourselves with the condemnation of eternal separation and punishment in hell:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:1, 33-34).
“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God” (1 John 3:20-21).
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword” (Romans 8:35)?
ABIDE IN HIM
God wants you to continue to abide in Him by walking in the Spirit. He wants you to have confidence!
“And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28).
When it comes to the Rapture of believers from the earth, many ask the question, “What makes our generation so special? Why are we any different from generations past who suffered such grave persecution from the times of the Roman Coliseum to the Roman Catholic Inquisition?”
The remainder of the article will attempt to answer this question by pointing out some major differences between our modern culture and the culture of generations past.
We as people are no different than our ancestors, but the times in which we live are. It is of no small consequence that the world population is exploding like a giant volcano.
The current world population is approx. 35 times greater than it was at the time of Christ. (Most demographers estimate that the world population was approx. 200 million during the time of Christ. Currently, world population is estimated to be 7.2 billion and rising.)
.2 billion in A.D. 40
.3 billion in 1000, (960 years later)
.5 billion in 1500, (500 years later)
1 billion in 1804, (304 years later)
2 billion in 1927, (123 years later)
3 billion in 1960, (33 years later)
4 billion in 1974, (14 years later)
5 billion in 1987, (13 years later)
6 billion in 1999, (12 years later)
7 billion in 2011, (12 years later)
If you were to convert the text above into a “hockey stick” graph, you would see a line that appears as fairly flat and level near the bottom of the graph, moving from left to right. The line would represent the steadiness of world population from the time of Christ until about the Middle Ages, when you would see the line start to curve slightly upward. Then around the early 1900s, the line rockets straight up, like it’s on its way to the moon. (Just do an Internet search for “world population graph.”)
We can no longer make calculations based on how much untouched fertile land is available on earth and determine how much each family of the world could be given to live on. (Example: Take the total number of square miles of fertile land and how many acres fit into each square mile on the earth and then divide that by the total number of people on earth to calculate that each person would have x amount of land to live on.) The land is not free. The days of homesteading are long gone.
During pre-industrial times most everyone from peasants to nobility, lived within walking distance of a natural food source. From plants, nuts, and berries to fish and livestock, most people had enough independence that they did not have to depend on a long journey to obtain basic sustenance.
Taking North America as a like example of the history of other indigenous peoples around the world, the Indians of North America had free access to the land (until about the 1800s that is). They were able to roam about the continent hunting large animals like buffalo, deer, antelope, and wild birds while gathering nuts, fruits, seeds, and plants to meet their needs. They also had wide access to lakes and streams for use as a food and water source.
The early settlers took advantage of the same freedoms. When they moved west, adding new states to our country, they brought their food supply with them in the form of livestock and seeds. They cultivated farmland, planting crops like corn, beans, squashes, sunflowers, wheat, etc.
If people were willing to plant the seeds of hard work, they were usually able to reap the reward of sustenance. (Do you currently have enough land of your own to plant seed on?) If you do, I know you consider yourself blessed!
Most people didn’t have to vote, they didn’t have to watch the news, they didn’t have to keep up with current events, and they did not have to be as weighed down with the cares of this world. (Of course many of the good people voted, worked hard, and took care, but they were not weighed down by the affairs of the outside world on a daily basis.)
MODERN TIMES: URBANIZATION AND INDUSTRIALIZATION
Life and culture in America changed greatly during the late 1800s. Most American cities were overrun with slums. During this time, America was transformed from a mostly rural and agricultural nation into an urbanized and industrial nation. By comparing 19th century paintings of cities like New York or Washington D.C. with modern day photographs, the impact of urbanization is manifest.
With the invention of farming equipment like the tractor and the combine harvester, vast amounts of land were purchased in order to keep up with the food demands of an exploding urban population.
Now, with the modern global market economy, we the people are dependent upon the speculators gambling with our life-sustaining commodities while playing the game of supply and demand.
So in conclusion, you can see that although our current generation is no different in “respect of persons” than generations past, we are different in respect to our environment. Just as God stepped into cities past to relocate His people when the environment was ripe for judgment, so He will soon do the same for our generation. The signs are just too obvious. The writing is on the wall for all to see.
Sudden destruction will come upon them, not us. The dawning of the Day will not catch us off guard for we are not children of the darkness. We are not appointed to destruction, “but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
God said that we are not to worry about the basics of food and clothing. He did not mean we were not to put forth effort to obtain these things, He told us to take comfort that they would be there after our day’s work was complete.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25)
It is my opinion that when most all of God’s people on a mass global scale, honestly have to start being concerned about what they will eat or drink tomorrow, God will step forward and remedy the situation.
I currently see no other remedy than for God to relocate His children to His land!
The following article is just a postulation put forth, based upon Scripture, of a future scenario that could theoretically happen.
To put it in direct and simple terms, Satan is going to have to convince the world that Jesus Christ, the true Messiah, was the false messiah otherwise known as the Antichrist.
It is obviously deeply disturbing for us true followers of the true Messiah to even contemplate such a detestable heresy against our dear Savior but, that is exactly what Satan will be allowed to do.
If mankind denies God long enough, He will give them up to deception. If He will harden their hearts to believe the lie, He will also allow the lie to be told. Just as when they were deceived into rejecting Jesus as the true Messiah so they will accept Satan as the messiah.
“‘Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?’ So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.’ And He marveled because of their unbelief” (Mark 6:3-4, 6a).
And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed'” (Isaiah 6:9-10).
True Messiah: The Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.
False messiah: Satan who comes to rule the world.
Christians believe that the true Messiah was crucified and ascended up to heaven and He will come again, at a later time, to rule the world. Jews claim that the true Messiah has not yet come to earth and when He does come, He will not be crucified, but He will instead rule the world.
So the current expectation of Christians and Jews is the same: that when the Messiah comes to earth He will set up His kingdom rule.
The 1st beast of Revelation 13:1 is the Antichrist, possessed by Satan, and he will claim to be the Messiah as prophesied in the Torah: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people” (Genesis 49:10).
Satan has to convince the Jews and the apostate Christians, along with other religious groups in the world, that he is their messiah. All he will have to do is proclaim that Jesus was the false Messiah. How can both Jews and apostates be convinced that the Antichrist is the Messiah? Answer: Apostate Christians will readily accept that the Jesus of the New Testament was a fraud and unsaved Jews already accept the same lie.
The second beast of Revelation 13:11 will likely be a world leader of false Christianity. People will be more likely to follow deception from someone who is the leader of the religion that they already follow, than from someone who isn’t.
The false prophet is described as having two horns like a “lamb” because the lamb symbolically represents Christ. He will not choose to look like a goat because he will deceive the world as a lamb wrapped around a goat.
So, the first beast will likely be Jewish and the second beast will likely be a false Christian and possibly of Jewish decent. Why does Satan have to pay lip service to Jesus Christ and claim to be the God of the Torah and Israel anyway? Can’t he just stand on his own earthly miracles and earthly powers granted to him by the Lord and declare himself as another god with a different name? By the way, how do we know that Satan has been granted powers on the earth?
“Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’ He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast” (Matthew 4:8-9, Revelation 13:13-14).
So again, why does Satan have to claim to be the God of the Bible and not just some other god of some other religion? Because he knows full well who the real God is and he knows what Paul said in Romans is absolutely true: That every single person on earth, upon hearing the truth of the God of the Bible, instantly knows in his or her heart that He is the real God.
“Men… suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:18b-19, 20b).
Satan knows that the people of the world will not accept any other god as being the real God unless he claims to be the God of the Bible. This is a different concept than that of the world that rejects the God of the Bible in His true form and character. You see, the world knows in their heart who the real God is, but they choose to reject Him because they hate His Way.
Believing God is not the same thing as believing in God. Remember what James said: “Even the demons believe and tremble”. As long as Satan changes the true message of God into his own false message then the world will believe that he is god.
The world hates God’s true message because it calls for humility and world is proud. The world cannot stand being told what to do so much that they would rather defy God and “call His bluff” on hell rather than accept His free gift out of hell, because that involves humility.
The world hates that Jesus said He is the only Way to heaven. The world says that they themselves are the only way to heaven. As the crucifixion of Christ proves, miracles combined with truth, were not enough for the world to accept Jesus as God. As long as Satan combines his miracles with lies, and tells the world that they can still make their own way to heaven, they will accept him as their god.
Of course Satan will have other plans for the masses after they swear allegiance to him, but he certainly won’t let them on to that at the beginning. Upon his sudden appearance on the world stage, Antichrist will hook the people by whispering sweet nothings into their ears and they will fall for it. Combine Satan’s sweet talk with the miracles that he will do in their sight and you will have the worldwide worship of the beast.
After the rapture of the church and the complete disappearance without a trace of millions of people, (the true Christians), a world leader of false Christianity (a mega-church pastor or the Pope) will announce something like: “We were never duped by those people, those false Christians, who claimed that you Jews actually had the power to murder your own Messiah!” Sarcastic laugh: “Hah, hah, hah! Our true messiah is here!” (Hand extends toward the Antichrist) “He has removed the apostates from his kingdom and destroyed them! They have no place on our new earth!” Loud cheers and clapping: “Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! All hail Messiah!”
“So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’ (Revelation 13:4)
Although they have no such power, the false prophet and the Antichrist will hijack the miraculous nature of the rapture as representative of their own power to completely remove and destroy multitudes of people from around the earth.
The false prophet will claim that Jesus was the real Antichrist and that He and His temple were destroyed in 70 A.D by the god who the Antichrist claims to be. He will no doubt use verses like 1 John 2:18 to enhance this deception. He will then proclaim that the new temple, the Tribulation Temple, is the true center of world worship.
Although he will twist New Testament verses to the advantage of Satan, the second beast will also claim that the New Testament record is nothing more than an interpretation of the events surrounding the false Christ written by those who were deceived by Him. A lie easily told is easily believed, by the deceived.
This will be the great deception and the lie spoken of by Paul in 2 Thessalonians that those who reject the salvation of Christ will believe. Of course, many will deny the Antichrist as their messiah and many will pay with their lives.
It is not until the end of the tribulation, that the Jews along with the rest of the world, will recognize Jesus as their true Messiah at His glorious appearing, when they will wail and mourn because of Him (Zechariah 12:10-12, Matthew 24:30, Revelation 1:7).
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
I vanish before Thy feet O Christ. I fade to nothing, not even my dust remains. You are the King of kings and Lord of lords. O Lamb of God, Please forgive my sin and have mercy on me. Amen.