Nuggets

Rhema {Nuggets of Truth}

Proverbs 25:11
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Revelation 3:21
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne…..

James 2:15-17
If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be {ye} warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what {doth it} profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

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RAPTURE

Mark Jantzi

You have all heard of the “rapture” doctrine. I would like to take you to the Word of God and see what it says about it. I trust you will have an open mind and that you will let the Word of God be the judge. I believe it is a very important end-time thing that we should understand.

First of all, let me say that this teaching is not more than 180 years old. I have found no real evidence that before 1830 the church actually believed or preached the rapture doctrine as it is believed and preached today. It originated when an eighteen year old girl (Margaret McDonald) in Scotland in the 1830’s had a vision where she saw what she believed to be the bride of Christ being caught up to meet the Lord. She was a member of Edward Irving’s congregation in Glasgow, Scotland. There were men like John Darby and C. I. Scoffield that got a hold of this vision, believing that it foretells of a literal physical catching up of the saints in a secret end-time “rapture” event; and they began to preach this in all the churches that they were affiliated with. The doctrine soon spread very fast. It became very popular.

Now if you are really interested, I have obtained the full text of what this girl’s vision was in her own words, and will include it at the end of this article. When I finally read what she said concerning the vision that she had, I was quite surprised that it appears that she herself was not advocating that a rapture, easy escape doctrine was meant by what she saw. But instead what she saw was the judgment of God and the dealing of God in a dark and perilous time. She saw the need for repentance among the saints of God. She saw the bride of Christ, and His coming into His “spiritual” temple. She seemed to make it clear that she was seeing a “spiritual,” not a “natural” thing. For the life of me, on the basis of what I have read of her vision, I cannot figure out where these men came up with this doctrine. Let me explain what I believe to be the seven or eight things, which I have listed here, that are the tenets (the basics) of this doctrine. See if this is what you have also been taught as the rapture teaching:

1. That there will be a future physical removal of all Christians to some location in the sky.

2. That it will be sudden, silent, secret and it is imminent.

3. Basically it is taught as a “pre-tribulation” event although there are some who teach a seven year tribulation and that it will occur as a “mid-tribulation” event.

We need to understand that they are saying that the final seventieth week (the final seven years) of Daniel prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 has not been fulfilled. But if I had the time I would take you to Daniel and I would show you the exact meaning of what Daniel wrote.1 I would show you that three and a half years of that last seven years has actually been fulfilled in the physical personal life of Jesus Christ when He was here on earth. So we don’t have “seven” years of great tribulation as is taught by those who teach the rapture doctrine. The number 7 in Scripture is never a number of tribulation. Seven is always the number of fulness and completion. If anything, the number 40 is an appropriate number for tribulation. “Seven” is the fulness of the week. When you come to the seventh day, the week is finished. Number 8 is “new beginning”; you start a new week. These numbers also follow along in God’s timetable. God has a time plan as well.

4. It is taught that the purpose of the rapture is for the people of God to avoid the time of the great tribulation and “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” There is a term in the Bible called Jacob’s trouble.2 Apparently the interpretation of the term Jacob’s trouble (of which I would probably agree) is that there is coming a very difficult time for the Jewish people. So the proponents of this doctrine of the rapture are saying that we need to be removed from the earth so that Jacob can have his time of trouble and we will not have to be here at that time. So then God can deal with the un-accepting and rebellious Jews that did not receive Jesus as the Christ. (Now this is not at all what I believe; I am just telling you what the basics of this teaching is.)

5. The rapture doctrine teaches that the whole earth is going to be destroyed during the tribulation.

6. And that this “rapture” is going to take us to the “wedding feast” of the Lamb of God as His bride.

So somewhere out here on some distant planet or wherever this is going to be (in the clouds, or in the sky, or somewhere) there is going to be a big table set up and there is going to be a big feast where Jesus is going to have His wedding with His bride.

Now I have read some of these books by those who are the contemporaries to writers like Hal Lindsay and Tim LaHaye (who wrote the “Left-Behind” Books). In the last twenty of thirty years there have been a lot of people that have been writing about these things. I actually remember somebody once saying that they believed that in the rapture we were going to be eating chicken at this table in or on the clouds, and that we were going to throw the bones over the side of the cloud. (You understand that this is a very carnal understanding of the Word of God.)

7. The righteous are going to be removed and the unrighteous are going to be left here.

So it is taught that while the saints are removed, God is going to practically annihilate all of the wicked people.

8. Finally, they say that the Holy Spirit will also be removed. And I cannot understand how in the absence of the Holy Spirit all of these “rebellious” Jews who are left here on earth are now going to get saved during the tribulation, when they couldn’t get saved in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Now brethren, we need to understand the ways of God. If we believe that God has to remove the righteous people, or that He has to take them off somewhere into the sky before He can bring judgment to unrighteous people, then we seem to be mis-reading most of the Bible. Let us look into this; we can start with Noah and the flood.

Noah was not raptured. Some say, “Oh, well, he was lifted up above the earth.” Well, that was because the earth was flooded. Wouldn’t it have been so much simpler if God would have just raptured Noah and a few animals then? I mean it took Noah 120 years to build the ark. A lot of effort went into all of this construction and gathering. Amen. Noah was not “raptured,” but he was there when the flood came on the earth and it was the flood waters that took the ark up above the earth, not by Noah being removed away from the experience of the flood. He remained here on the flooded earth, and at the same time was shut in with God.

Maybe we should look also at the children of Israel in the time when they were coming out of Egypt? There were ten plagues. Now in the first three plagues the children of Israel also suffered with the Egyptians.3 The first three plagues were not that devastating, but they were miserable, they were not pleasant. However, when we get to the fourth plague, God said to Moses, “I am going to make a division between the Egyptians and the Israelites.”4 Now they didn’t live very far apart. God was able to somehow direct His judgment (and shall we say, His wrath) against the Egyptians without afflicting the Israelites. The plague of “darkness” (I believe that it was the ninth plague) was only in Egypt and not in Goshen where the Israelites lived.5 For three days it was so dark in Egypt that no man arose from his place. Now that is some pretty serious darkness. I don’t think we have any comprehension of what this was all about. Yet it says that in Goshen (where the children of Israel lived) that it was light.

So we could go on—the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth plagues only affected Egypt. The tenth plague, of course, was the most terrifying of all. It wasn’t just crops being destroyed. It wasn’t just hailstones, but firstborns were being slain all over Egypt; and yet God made provision for the children of Israel. The provision was that they would be under the blood of the lamb. So God is well able to put us under the blood of the Lamb Jesus Christ while He purges the unrighteousness and brings down the kingdoms of this wicked world, and while He brings in the eternal kingdom of God? Amen.

Well, let us look now at a few verses concerning “the destruction of the earth,” for I do not believe that the Scriptures speak that there will be a destruction of the natural earth as is taught in the rapture doctrine.

2 Peter 3

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Now brethren, there is much here in the language of this verse. I understand that your Czech Bible does not say that the works will be burned, but the King James Bible does say that the works of the earth will be burned:

and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Now let us look at what is meant by “elements” here in the verse? You see, in our English language we have a certain understanding of “elements.” When we sat in Chemistry class they had a chart of the elements. Do you understand? Well there is Helium, there is Hydrogen, there is Oxygen, and they go on. There is Iron, there is Copper, there is Zinc—there are more than a hundred of them. If we were to interpret this in the natural sense by our understanding of chemical elements, we would say that everything that the earth is made up of is just going to be fried and burned to a crisp.

I looked this word up in the Concordance; and by the way, I have several other word studies that I have made where it seems that Strong’s just does not give an adequate definition. This word “elements6 is the Greek word “stoicheion,” and it comes from the word “stoicheo.” It means: “to conform to a line; to keep rank or step, like a military march.” It means: “an orderly arrangement; a serial of fundamental elementary, rudimentary things.”

Now when you understand the rank and file of a military step, you understand Satan’s hold upon this world. He has put his people where he wants them to rule in this world. You can have all the Democracy you want and it is still not going to be the Kingdom of God. Satan is still in charge of any democracy where men vote for their leaders, whether in politics or in the church organizations. So this marching lock-step is where Satan has everything in line and in order obeying him. You see, he is the commander of a very big army and he has rank and file under him: fallen angels, powers, principalities, and lesser demons (of lust, anger, rebellion, addiction, and this type of thing). Satan keeps them in line.

In 2 Peter, it says that this whole arrangement is coming down with a crash. In fact, the word “dissolved7 is used here, which means: “to melt and to loosen; to break up; destroy; dissolve; and to release.” The hold that Satan has is going to be loosened in the day of the Lord.

Now let me go back to some of the verses in the Bible that say that the natural earth is not going to be destroyed. Let us first look at what God said to Noah.

Genesis 8

22While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Isaiah 66

22For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.

Deuteronomy 4

40Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.

Psalms 78

69And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.

Psalms 104

5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

Ecclesiastes 1

4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

Revelation 20:4 says that the overcomer will rule and reign with Christ for one thousand years on the earth. Now this is after the tribulation. Can there be seedtime and harvest in a pile of ashes? Are we going to rule and reign with Christ over a pile of nuclear waste? By the way, I am not saying that Satan would never try to break out some nuclear bombs. He would like nothing better than to totally destroy the earth, but God is not going to allow it, and I believe that He is going to use the human living sons of God to take authority over the attempted destruction and put a stop to it.

Okay, let us look at a few more verses. Let us talk about this rapture teaching concerning a coming “wedding feast of the Lamb” up in the clouds. Let us look at the wedding feast as it is mentioned in Scripture.

Matthew 22

2The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

The rest of the verses that follow go into the invitation that he made and how so many made excuses that they didn’t want to come to the wedding feast. So they finally brought many, many people into the feast and,

11And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Many will desire to enter therein but shall not be able. Now if this is the wedding of the Lamb out in the clouds of the sky somewhere and they have been raptured into this wedding feast, what happened that this fellow without a wedding garment happened to be there? Could God have made a mistake and raptured the wrong man? No! That cannot be. Do you want me to tell you something brethren? The wedding feast of the Lamb of God (which is Jesus Christ) is happening right now. But we are not feeding on chicken. We are feeding on the Life of Jesus Christ, and you can do that now. You can come into the wedding feast now. Hallelujah!

Okay, what are some other verses that we need to look at here?

2 Thessalonians 2

1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

Now, it is the Greek word “parousia8 that is translated “coming” in this verse. It is not an English word and it is not a Czech word. It is a Greek word and I am going to define that word for you. It means that when Jesus comes, He is staying. “It implies the continual, abiding, permanent presence of the one who is coming from that time on.”9 You see, there is a difference in the meaning of these words. Does it mean that somebody just comes and flies by and snatches you as he goes by to take you somewhere else? Or is he going to take hold of you and stay with you in your place? This word “parousia” means that He is coming and He is staying. He is not flying us off into the outer atmosphere somewhere.

Keep in mind the meaning of these words. When God gave the Holy Spirit to the apostles to write these words He knew precisely what He was saying. The apostle Paul was not a stupid ignorant man. He was a highly educated man who had command of much vocabulary, but the translators into English have given us an unclear meaning to some of these things.

Let me go on to the third verse:

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Do you have a better word than “falling away” in your Czech Bible? KJV has “…except there come a falling away first.[The Czech Bible has “stepping away.”]

Well it should be an even stronger word than either “falling away” or “stepping away.” The word in the Greek is “apostasia,” and it actually means “a rebellion; apostasy; defection from the truth.”10 Now if a soldier was in a battle and he decided to defect (which is the meaning of this word) he was going to run away from his duty. He wasn’t going to fight. Do you know that they could give him a court martial and he could be executed.

My brother was in the Korean War in the early 1950’s. Rita’s father was in that war too. He said that there were some soldiers that were told to advance into the heat of the battle and they turned and they fled. The Commander told the men that were on the machine gun, “Cut them down! I told them to advance, I did not say retreat!”

You can believe this account if you want, but I heard it straight from my brother’s lips. Defection, apostasy, rebellion is more serious in the eyes of God than in the military. In order to fall away from something, you have to have been there and the only one that has once been there in the knowledge of the Lord and is capable of defecting is the church.

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

So the Lord is saying that before the day of the Lord comes there are two things that have to happen:

1) The church has to go into a rebellion and fall away;

2) The man of sin, the antichrist, has to be revealed for who he is.

Now we already have a rebellion among the church, so that condition has already been met. And if you believe in the pre-tribulation rapture, then you would say, “Well the day of the Lord can’t come because we haven’t been raptured yet.” Am I right? If Paul believed in a pre-tribulation rapture this would be the place he should have said it. It would have been his third pre-condition for the coming of the day of the Lord

Now let’s go to Verse 4, where we are talking about the man of sin, the son of perdition:

4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Now brethren, we also need to understand the New Testament definition of “temple,” especially as given to us by the apostle Paul. What did Paul say is the “temple” of God?

1 Corinthians 3

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

So people who believe in the rapture doctrine will say, “Well there has to be the temple of the Jews over in Israel; and they haven’t built their temple, so this can’t happen yet. Therefore we are not ready for the appearance of the antichrist yet.”

But brethren, the Jews do not have to build a temple in order for Jesus Christ to come. Satan is already invading the church of God (the temple of God). He is invading and inviting himself in. He is already polluting the temple of God’s people. He already has the Christians worshipping something that is not God. The Bible says that it is Satan who wants to be in that temple, and that he wants to be worshipped. By the way, did you know that Satan is very religious? He loves religion and he loves worship, as long as it is he who is being worshipped. He however, does not like us worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ.

Okay, now we are going to go down to Verse 7. Now here is the most difficult verse in the whole chapter. I will read it in the original King James and then I am going to change it and read it in the Literal Translation in J. Green’s Interlinear Bible, because in the KJV this has been poorly translated.

7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

So here is the teaching where people get the understanding that the Holy Spirit is holding back (and I do believe He is) the mystery of iniquity. He is holding back Satan from making his big move. This word “letteth” tells us that we can know that something is restraining him (the devil) “until he be taken out of the way.” “Letteth” means restraining or holding back (“…he who now letteth). I don’t know what your Czech Bible says here in this verse.

However there is still a problem in this verse. It is in the phrase, “until he be taken out of the way.” I do not know what your Bible has? Maybe you have a better translation? Our KJV Bible says that the mystery of iniquity is already working and that it will work until it comes to a certain point. The KJV says that Satan is in the way, and that at some point he is going to be taken out of the way. So some would take this to mean that Satan is in the middle of the “way” (highway or road), and that he needs to come out of the way. But that is not what the Bible actually says in the Greek text. Here is what the Interlinear Bible says:

For the mystery of lawlessness already is working, only he is holding back now, until it comes out of the midst.”

Out of the midst the antichrist is going to come.” The Holy Spirit is holding him back until this antichrist is manifest right in the middle of the church. It seems to be saying that the spirit of the antichrist comes out of the midst of the church, out of the midst of the (way), process, practice, or customs of religion. Amen.

Now let’s talk about the “removal” of the Holy Spirit, as is believed by many who teach the rapture doctrine. This passage that in the KJV speaks of the Holy Spirit removing His restraint on the devil in no way implies that the Holy Spirit Himself will be removed from the earth. God is in no way going to simply remove Himself from the earth and turn it completely over to the unrestrained desires of Satan and allow him to completely annihilate all of God’s creation. No! We, the sons of God, are going to be right here during the great tribulation and the Holy Spirit is going to be here too.

Well, I have probably read enough in 2 Thessalonians. We talked about the “elect” last night in our meeting, so we don’t need to go over the elect again. But let me just touch on it here again briefly. We will go back to Matthew 24.

24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

Go through the rest of the New Testament and look up the word “elect.” It is talking about the “born-again” people of God. Some of the preachers are believing that it is just talking about the Jews, even the Jews that don’t follow Jesus. But that is not the New Testament definition of the “elect”. These verses above pertain to us. We are of “the elect,” therefore we are going to be here during this time of great tribulation. This is why I am saying that it behooves you to prepare yourself spiritually for what is coming.

Now go back a few verses here in Matthew 24.

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Now this “abomination of desolation” is Satan. Jesus says here that when we see him “stand in the holy place,”then we are to “flee into the mountains.”It does not mean to run to the natural mountains. It means that we are to come up higher in the Lord; to come up to a higher place than we have ever been, to begin to call upon the name of the Lord for all your needs. Amen.

So what about this temple, this holy place? You see, the Jews today do not have a temple with a holy place over in Jerusalem. Frankly, I don’t believe they are going to have an opportunity to rebuild a temple there. They can’t remove the Dome of the Rock which was built long ago in the place of the temple upon the temple mount, for it is a Muslim mosque and a very important place to the Muslims. So once again we are saying that we believers, we are the temple of God.11 Amen! As an individual, I am a temple of God. I have an “outer court” which is my body, I have a “holy place” which is my soul, and I have a “holy of holies” which is the spirit within me connected to and communing with the Spirit of God.

Now Satan can’t get into the spirit, but he can have a lot of influence on our soul (our holy place). Our soul includes our minds; it includes our emotions, our will and our desires. So you see, he has polluted the church again, he has polluted the saints of God in their souls so that they want to live like the world. There is not much talk anymore about living in holiness.

Let me take you to another couple of verses concerning who is going to be removed from the earth? Will it be the saints or will it be the unrighteous? Now remember that we are talking about the coming of the “fulness” of the kingdom of God in which there will be no unrighteousness in this world. Let us go again to Matthew 24, and to Verse 29. Now this is at the very end of the tribulation.

Matthew 24

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

This is spiritual language. Brethren, you know what stars are. You have football “stars”; you have Hollywood “stars” and movie “stars.” This is the kind of stars that are going to fall, and in particular the stars are going to be what we would call well known or popular “godly” men. In America we have already seen that many of the stars of the church have already fallen. One popular television evangelist was caught with a prostitute. Another pastor of a big mega church was caught in a homosexual relationship; likewise a well-known “prophet.” Do you see that this is the meaning of the falling of stars, and apparently there are still many more of them that are going to fall. And remember that this will be seen immediately afterthe tribulation of those days.

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Now He isn’t just going to go out and gather Jews, it will be the “elect(all the saints). There is to be a great ingathering at that time.

Now let us go over to Matthew 13. Now this is the parable of the sower. Remember now, the sower sowed the wheat and the devil planted the tares which grew among them? So the servants said, “Do you want us to go pull up the tares?” He said, “No, don’t pull them up, because if you pull them up you are going to uproot the wheat.” Let’s read it, beginning with Verse 29,

29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

I want you in particular to note here, that the Lord says that the tares are to be gathered first, to be bound and burned, and then the wheat is gathered. Now He gave the interpretation of this parable beginning over in Verse 37.

37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children (sons)of the kingdom; but the tares are the children (sons) of the wicked one;

The good ones are the sons (the literal word here is “sons,” not “children”) of the kingdom and the tares are the sons of the wicked one. Who is going to be gathered first? The wicked, of course!

39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

40As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

41The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Now, let’s go to Luke 17, beginning with Verse 34, which is talking about the Lord’s second coming.

34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left:

35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, the other left.

36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Have you seen the Christian movie, “Left Behind”? It is a movie about the rapture. Are they showing that here in Czech? Okay, so briefly here is the way that the movie goes: A good godly woman with her stubborn rebellious husband are sleeping in the same bed. He wakes up in the morning, “She is gone! She got raptured!”

Now we have already read what the Word says in Matthew 13, that the “wicked” will be removed and brought unto destruction “first.” Note then also in these verses in Luke that it says, “…one shall be taken, the other left.” And the Lord was asked a question here in Luke that wasn’t recorded in Matthew.

37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

What were they asking when they said, “Where, Lord?” It can’t be, “Where are the ones going to go that are left,” because they are still where they were. It is referring to the ones that are taken. “Where will they be taken, Lord?”

…And he said unto them, Wheresoever the bodyis, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

Now the meaning of the word “body” here is a “dead carcass.12 So the Lord’s answer was,

Wherever the dead rotting carcass is, that is where the eagles (vultures)13 will gather.”

They are not the nice kind of eagles. They eat dead flesh.

Do you have vultures here in the Czech Republic? They have a big red featherless head and the wingspan of a great eagle; they soar around looking for anything dead to feed upon. Now is that where you want to be taken – to a place of death and destruction? That is not where I want to be taken.

By the way, who was really taken in judgment in the days of Noah? Who was really left? The wicked were taken, and Noah (who found grace in the sight of the Lord) was left to inherit the earth. The righteous men were then left to inherit the earth, and so will it be this next time. Amen.

Well there is a whole lot more here. We will now go to the verses in 1 Thessalonians 4 where we find the “key.” This is the prime passage that the rapture doctrine is based on.

I want to tell you, brethren, that in order to support this false doctrine you have to take the Scripture and give it enough of a twist so that it will fit where you want it to fit. If you take it straight at face value in the correct meaning of what God is really saying, you cannot support this teaching. But before this, let us just look at the last verse of Chapter 3 of 1 Thessalonians:

13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

This verse goes with the verses we will be looking at in Chapter 4. The word “coming” here is the word “parousia”in the Greek. As we already pointed out, it means “the arrival and the consequent presence of the one who is coming.” That means in this verse that at the Lord’s coming, He remains here with us; He does not remove us or take us away from where we are here. Okay? Now move down into the next chapter.

1 Thessalonians 4

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (come ahead of) them which are asleep.

prevent” here means that our being changed is not going to come ahead of them that have already died in Christ.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

We need to define these words again. “…caught up” is the Greek word “harpazo14; it means “to be forcibly taken.” Now there are several other places where this word is used. I do not believe that in any of these instances were the people removed from the earth. You can write down these next few scriptures, in each case we are focusing upon the word “harpazo”:

2 Corinthians 12

2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

Paul is talking about an experience that he had when he had a vision of the third heaven. He doesn’t know whether he was in his body or whether he was out of his body. The Bible scholars seem to believe that this was in the Book of Acts, when they stoned Paul and left him for dead.15 So he said he was “caught up” and he had these visions of heaven. But he really never left the earth! He was still here. Okay?

Now in Acts 8:

39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Philip was preaching and God told him to go out in the desert. That is where he met the Ethiopian eunuch and after he baptized him he was caught awayand found in a city called Azotus. So God didn’t take him anywhere off the earth, He just moved him from one place to another and he was caught away.

The other example that I want to give is in Revelation 12:

5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

This is the manchild church that is coming forth from the woman church. The devil is waiting to destroy him as soon as he is born and God caughthimup to the throne of God. Now again, this is spiritual language. The “throne of God” means a place of authority. So he (the manchild church, the sons of God) was immediately caught up to a place of authority in Christ. Amen.

I didn’t define all these words here, did I? Let me finish defining these words. In these verses, what are these “clouds”?

1 Thessalonians 4

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Hebrews 12

1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

We are surrounded by “a cloud of witnesses.” There is a catching up “in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” These are not natural rain clouds. They are clouds of saints.

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Let us look at the two words “meet” and “air” in this verse. Once again the Greek vocabulary has at least two different words for air. The Greek word for “air” here in this verse is “aer,”16 and it speaks of the lower atmosphere surrounding the earth, the air that we breathe. The Greek definition of this air is from the top of Mount Olympus all the way down to sea level. This word “air” is for right here. Yes! So from this verse, our meeting with the Lord is going to be here, in the place where we live and breathe. Not out in the stratosphere or the troposphere or anywhere in outer space.

Finally, let us take the word “meet” (#528, “apantesis”). There is a very good definition that really speaks more to this situation than the good one in the Greek Dictionary of Strong’s Concordance. The best definition that I have read for apantesis is that it means for a person to go out from their place and meet with another that is coming from an opposite direction; then to take that person that they have met and to go back to the place where you came from when you went out to meet him.17

Now this same Greek word for “meet” is used in other passages, as in the parable of the virgins in Matthew 25.

6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

The virgins were preparing to “meet” the Lord. But the best verse to show this definition is in Acts 28.

15 And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.

Paul was on his way to Rome. Do you remember how in the previous chapter in Acts that he had gotten shipwrecked? Now he has finally landed on the shores of Italy, and the word got to the saints who were living at Rome that Paul was coming. So they sent out a delegation to “meet” him. The places that they met in are mentioned, and how they then escorted Paul back into Rome. You see, Paul didn’t come to catch them away to Jerusalem or any other place. They met Paul and he came to Rome with them and then he continued to dwell with them there. Okay.

Well, what hasn’t been taken up yet? The sudden, silent, “secret” and imminence of this expected rapture coming of Christ. I just want to touch on it lightly. Let us go back to 1 Thessalonians 4 for a minute:

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and withthe trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

There are two completely different descriptions of the coming of the Lord and they have to be reconciled. One description says that He will come as “athief in the night.”18 The other description, as given in these verses above, talks about the shout of an archangel and blaring trumpets. How do we reconcile these two descriptions? It is because there are two comings! This passage above is referring to something that occurs at the very end of the tribulation, at the time of the resurrection of the dead and there is nothing secret about it. Every eye shall behold it: no one is going to miss it.19

Now by the way, there has already been a coming of Jesus, hasn’t there? It was about 2,000 years ago. He came as Jesus, the Christ. He came as the King. He came as the High Priest. Most of the religious people of His day completely missed it. So what is his “secret” coming in our day, “as a thief in the night,” which will be sudden, imminent (anytime), unannounced, and secret?

Malachi 3

1 Behold… the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple… behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.”

Malachi 3

3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi , and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

Now brethren, we know that prophecy is fulfilled on more than one level. Often, when it is only fulfilled in the natural level, then undiscerning people say, “Oh, the coming of Jesus to cleanse His temple has already been fulfilled. It can’t happen again.” In the New Testament Jesus did come to His temple and He came to clean His temple. What was the main thing that He was purging out of the temple? Money dealing! Unrighteous money dealing was going on in the house of God (and it is going on in His church today). He drove it out of there.

Now in our day, Jesus is coming again to His temple, and he is coming “secretly” (without telling us when) to His temple. And again, what is His “temple” in the New Testament? It is His people,20 His true church. Amen! So he is coming into His temple in His fulness. Hallelujah! You know that when He does this, it is a secret coming, “as a thief in the night,” and the world probably isn’t going to know it happened. The sons of God are going to be given power from God, and other people won’t understand what happened. So you see what they (the rapture believing churches) are doing with some of these Scriptures is that they are mixing these two different events together in their description of the “rapture”.

If you go to 1 Thessalonians 4, from which we have just quoted, the context of this is the resurrection of the dead.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Now I understand from Revelation 20 that the resurrection of the dead is the last thing, and it occurs at the actual, physical, personal coming of Jesus Christ. This is the last thing of the last trumpet. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

He says here that “at the last trump” we shall raise from the dead. Now that is not a description of an event that occurs before the tribulation starts. It is an event that occurs after the tribulation is over, immediately after the tribulation is over.

So the word of the Lord to us today brethren is: Prepare for the coming of the Lord!

He is coming into His temple. He wants His temple clean. He wants to live and dwell in this temple. This is why He is calling for repentance of the saints of God in this day and in this hour. Amen.

I have to leave it here for now. I hope I didn’t overwhelm you? I urge you to go over these things, chew on it and digest what has been said. Compare this doctrine of the Rapture with what the Bible actually says.

You can believe what you want, but I believe that this is a doctrine of drunkenness and seduction that will dull my senses or lull me to sleep. I want to believe a doctrine that will prepare me for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. I don’t want a doctrine that says, “Oh, you can live any way that you want and the Lord will just come and snatch you away, and you don’t have to worry about a thing.”

I know that many, many of the churches believe this rapture teaching. I used to believe it. Then I began to question some things that did not add up. I have to have it all add up. It has to add up completely and totally line up with the scriptures before I can believe it. From what I can see, this rapture doctrine does not line up. If you want to learn more and get into a lot more detail about this I refer you to two of the other books that I have written:

The Coming of the Son of Man

Seven Letters to Seven Churches

There are a lot more references and footnotes available there in these writings. Ask me if you do not have one available.

Also, a good article on this subject is the booklet by Brother Tommy Cook, Who Said Rapture.

God bless you.

MARGARET MACDONALD

{What follows is the version of Margaret Macdonald’s revelation as published in

The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets In the Catholic Apostolic Church (1861).}

 

 

MARGARET’S REVELATION:

“It was first the awful state of the land that was pressed upon me. I saw the blindness and infatuation of the people to be very great. I felt the cry of Liberty just to be the hiss of the serpent, to drown them in perdition. It was just ‘no God.’ I repeated the words, Now there is distress of nations, with perplexity, the seas and the waves roaring, men’s hearts failing them for fear. Now look out for the sign of the Son of Man. Here I was made to stop and cry out, O it is not known what the sign of the Son of Man is; the people of God think they are waiting, but they know not what it is. I felt this needed to be revealed, and that there was great darkness and error about it; but suddenly what it was burst upon me with a glorious light. I saw it was just the Lord himself descending from Heaven with a shout, just the glorified man, even Jesus; but that all must, as Stephen was, be filled with the Holy Ghost, that they might look up, and see the brightness of the Father’s glory. I saw the error to be, that men think that it will be something seen by the natural eye; but ’tis spiritual discernment that is needed, the eye of God in his people. Many passages were revealed, in a light in which I had not before seen them. I repeated,

Now is the kingdom of Heaven like unto ten virgins, who went forth to meet the Bridegroom, five wise and five foolish; they that were foolish took their lamps, but took no oil with them; but they that were wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.’21

‘But be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is; and be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit.’22

This was the oil the wise virgins took in their vessels – this is the light to be kept burning – the light of God – that we may discern that which cometh not with observation to the natural eye. Only those who have the light of God within them will see the sign of his appearance. No need to follow them who say, see here, or see there, for his day shall be as the lightning to those in whom the living Christ is. ‘Tis Christ in us that will lift us up – he is the light – ’tis only those that are alive in him that will be caught up to meet him in the air. I saw that we must be in the Spirit, that we might see spiritual things. John was in the Spirit, when he saw a throne set in Heaven. But I saw that the glory of the ministration of the Spirit had not been known. I repeated frequently, but the spiritual temple must and shall be reared, and the fullness of Christ be poured into his body, and then shall we be caught up to meet him. Oh none will be counted worthy of this calling but his body, which is the church, and which must be a candlestick all of gold. I often said, Oh the glorious inbreaking of God which is now about to burst on this earth; Oh the glorious temple which is now about to be reared, the bride adorned for her husband; and Oh what a holy, holy bride she must he, to be prepared for such a glorious bridegroom. I said, Now shall the people of God have to do with realities – now shall the glorious mystery of God in our nature be known – now shall it be known what it is for man to be glorified. I felt that the revelation of Jesus Christ had yet to be opened up – it is not knowledge about God that it contains, but it is an entering into God – I saw that there was a glorious breaking in of God to be. I felt as Elijah, surrounded with chariots of fire. I saw as it were, the spiritual temple reared, and the Head Stone brought forth with shoutings of grace, grace, unto it. It was a glorious light above the brightness of the sun that shone round about me. I felt that those who were filled with the Spirit could see spiritual things, and feel walking in the midst of them, while those who had not the Spirit could see nothing – so that two shall be in one bed, the one taken and the other left, because the one has the light of God within while the other cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven. I saw the people of God in an awfully dangerous situation, surrounded by nets and entanglements, about to be tried, and many about to be deceived and fall. Now will THE WICKED be revealed, with all power and signs and lying wonders, so that if it were possible the very elect will be deceived – This is the fiery trial which is to try us. – It will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus; but Oh it will be a fiery trial. Every soul will he shaken to the very centre. The enemy will try to shake in every thing we have believed – but the trial of real faith will be found to honour and praise and glory. Nothing but what is of God will stand. The stony-ground hearers will be made manifest – the love of many will wax cold.

I frequently said that night, and often since, now shall the awful sight of a false Christ be seen on this earth, and nothing but the living Christ in us can detect this awful attempt of the enemy to deceive – for it is with all deceivableness of unrighteousness he will work – he will have a counterpart for every part of God’s truth, and an imitation for every work of the Spirit. The Spirit must and will be poured out on the church, that she may be purified and filled with God – and just in proportion as the Spirit of God works, so will he – when our Lord anoints men with power, so will he. This is particularly the nature of the trial, through which those are to pass who will be counted worthy to stand before the Son of man. There will he outward trial too, but ’tis principally temptation. It is brought on by the outpouring of the Spirit, and will just increase in proportion as the Spirit is poured out. The trial of the Church is from Antichrist. It is by being filled with the Spirit that we shall be kept. I frequently said, Oh be filled with the Spirit – have the light of God in you, that you may detect Satan – be full of eyes within -be clay in the hands of the potter -submit to be filled, filled with God. This will build the temple. It is not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord. This will fit us to enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb. I saw it to be the will of God that all should be filled. But what hindered the real life of God from being received by his people, was their turning from Jesus, who is the way to the Father. They were not entering in by the door. For he is faithful who hath said, by me if any man enters in he shall find pasture. They were bypassing the cross, through which every drop of the Spirit of God flows to us. All power that comes not through the blood of Christ is not of God.

When I say, they are looking from the cross, I feel that there is much in it – they turn from the blood of the Lamb, by which we overcome, and in which our robes are washed and made white. There are low views of God’s holiness, and a ceasing to condemn sin in the flesh, and a looking from him who humbled himself, and made himself of no reputation. Oh! it is needed, much needed at present, a leading back to the cross. I saw that night, and often since, that there will be an outpouring of the Spirit on the body, such as has not been, a baptism of fire, that all the dross may be put away. Oh there must and will be such an indwelling of the living God as has not been – the servants of God sealed in their foreheads – great conformity to Jesus – his holy holy image seen in his people – just the bride made comely by his comeliness put upon her. This is what we are at present made to pray much for, that speedily we may all be made ready to meet our Lord in the air – and it will be. Jesus wants his bride. His desire is toward us. He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry. Amen and Amen Even so come Lord Jesus.”

1 For a better discussion of this subject please refer to my book, The Coming Of The Son Of Man, Chapter 4, beginning on Page 82.

 

2 See Jeremiah 30:7

 

3 See Exodus 7 & 8

 

4 Ref. Exodus 8:21-23

 

5 Ref. Exodus 10:21-23

 

6 #4747 in the Greek Dictionary of the Strong’s Concordance

 

7 #3089 in the Greek Dictionary of the Strong’s Concordance

 

8 #3952 in the Greek Dictionary of the Strong’s Concordance

 

9 Bullinger, E. W., A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament, Page 169.

 

10 #646 in the Greek Dictionary of the Strong’s Concordance

 

11 Refs. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 6:16

 

12 See “body” (“soma,” #5943, in the Greek Dictionary of the Strong’s Concordance)

 

13 See “eagles” (“aetos,” 105, in the Greek Strong’s Concordance)

 

14 #726 in the Greek Dictionary of the Strong’s Concordance

 

15 Ref. Acts 14:18, 19

 

16 #109 in the Greek Dictionary of the Strong’s Concordance

 

17 Bullinger, OP.Cit., Page 493

 

18 Refs. 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10

 

19 Ref. Revelation 1:7

 

20 Refs. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 2 Corinthians 6:16

 

21 Matthew 25:1-4

 

22 Ephesians 5:17-18

 

 

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PUTTING OFF THE OLD MAN

Mark Jantzi

I want to just comment first of all on the coming of the Lord. Sister Pavlina said that He is coming with a hammer, breaking locks. The Lord showed me a revelation (a vision) last night as well (as we were singing this song, “Swing Wide Ye Everlasting Doors”). I saw that He burst right through the wall. It was like the wall melted and He just came bursting through the wall. His coming was like a king and I saw His train of glory following Him. But as I thought about it later, I believe that He burst forth from the words that were up here on the screen and I think that is what really happened; the Word became reality. We called for His coming. We opened our doors and He burst forth in Spirit reality.

Brethren, we could have missed that He was actually here and we could miss that He is actually present this morning as well. He came and manifested His glory last night. Today He is coming again with His hammer and He is going to break up some fallow ground in the soul.

Now we are going to deal with some things that I hope are not going to be terribly embarrassing, because we are going to dig deep. Let me start off in Ephesians 4:

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

Now we are not talking about natural Gentiles here, brethren. We are talking about spiritual Gentiles. Most of us would say that we are probably natural Gentiles. But you see that this word “Gentile” means “a man of the world.” Paul is describing Gentiles here in the letter to Ephesians and he is saying that there is a vanity in their mind. Now the mind is that aspect of the soul that is the window (the door, the opening) into our soul. God does not expect us to continue with that kind of vanity, that lack of hope, that lack of vision, in our soul.

Here in the next verse is a further description of the vanity of the mind.

18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, (ignorance means, a lack of knowing) because of the blindness(hardness)of their heart:

Now brethren, if you do not intend to follow the Word of God, if you do not intend to obey, it would be better if you remained in ignorance. Because once you have heard the Word of God you have a responsibility to walk in that which you have heard. A man who has heard the Word of God and has rejected and turned from that word, if he then chooses hell then his torment will probably be greater than the man who only heard a little or had a small glimpse.

Having the understanding darkened

through the ignorance that is in them

because of the blindness(hardness)of their heart:

Blindness of the heart. Darkness. Inability to see. So many times we speak to people and they say,

I just don’t see it. What are you talking about?”

I don’t get it?”

I can’t see it?”

There was a time when we as well were unable to see the things of the kingdom of God. Not everyone who is born again is able to immediately see the fullness of the kingdom of God, to fully comprehend the gospel of the kingdom. I remember when I first began to hear kingdom truth. I believe it was Brother Campbell that first began to bring that word to New York. While he was here and preaching the Word, I could see and I began to understand, but one week after he was out of town I couldn’t see the things any more. I went back to my old level of understanding. Then I remember how he came back again, and again I was able to see the kingdom truth that was being brought. Again perhaps two weeks after he left town, it was gone. I would read the Word of God but I could just see the natural things and I could not see the spiritual things. I don’t know how many times it took me to hear this word, but after a while I began to cry out to the Lord, and I said, “God, I need to see this thing!” You know that there is a price that we have to pay to have the oil. Amen. There was a pressing in that I had to go through, and it opened up and I said, “Thank you God. I can see now.”

Now, brethren, I was born-again all along, but I couldn’t see the spiritual things. I only saw the natural lower level things. Amen.

Well, let me go on in this passage here. Verse 19,

Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

It describes a terrible condition, does it not? Even the feeling is gone. You know, the people of the world are getting harder and harder. I remember a time in the 1950’s when men would come into the area and they would put up a big tent and preach the Word of God. It didn’t matter what church they belonged to, people would come from different churches. There were feelings; our emotions were moved as well as our heart by the Word of God and we responded to the Word of God. People of the world gave their heart to the Lord. Amen.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

Now this next verse is the key verse to what I want to bring to you today. If you want to, get a pencil or pen and underline this word, or put a star by it in your Bible.

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

What does the Word say? “Put off!” “Put off!” Does that mean that there is something that I have a responsibility to do? I don’t know about you, but I am finding people who want to come into the deep things of God, but they want to come in with one or two easy steps.

Give me the recipe. Give me the formula! Step one. Step two. Step three…”

Okay, do it to me. Just cast some devil out of me! I don’t want to have to do anything! You do it for me!”

But the Word here is saying that we must put something off about our old man. Now who is the old man? I think that there was a time in our life when “old man” was how we referred to our natural father: “Well, I don’t know. Ask the old man.”

Well the old man is our father all right, and his name is “Adam.” To my surprise, he lives here—he lives in my flesh. He is my natural-man oriented thinking. I inherited him; he comes from many generations ago and he faithfully follows even into the next generation. So I haven’t completely eliminated him yet, but I am in the process.

Now just putting off the old man is not all that is necessary. Let us go one more step.

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

in the spirit of your mind. You see, there is a spiritual nature to your mind. What needs to be renewed? The mind. You see, we came into Christ (if I can I use the term) with a “warped” frame of mind. It was bent, it was twisted; and a good carpenter wanting to build something square on this mind is going to have trouble with it.

Brother Burt came one time to help us with a building project. The frame of the foundation had to be straightened out and leveled, and he spent three days just looking at it and trying to fix it. You see, it is that important. And if we want to have the proper building of the kingdom of God in our soul, we cannot build on the framework of Satan’s kingdom.

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Old man = Adam.

New man = Second Adam = Christ.

Amen. To help demonstrate this, if I had a coat here I would take it off for you so you can see how to put off the old man; then I would take another coat and I would put it on and you could see that I am now wearing a new garment. I am covered with something new. Amen.

Now let me just go a little bit further here (and now there is going to be a list of things we are going to be talking about when we get into this word).

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

27 Neither give place to the devil.

Let me just stop here a minute, and let us look at the 30th verse in John 14, where Jesus said,

Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

Now He didn’t say a whole lot more about it than this: “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.All right, who is the prince of this world? He wasn’t talking about Caesar, was He? He was talking about the Devil coming. The Devil is a “person” of darkness—not just a principle of darkness, not just a concept of unrighteousness, but a personality of darkness. “He is coming and he has nothing in me.” Hallelujah.

Now we are going to talk about that, because going back again here to Verse 27 in Ephesians, it says,

Neither give place to the devil.

That means, do not give him ground; do not give him any opportunity in your soul. You see, there is more to it than just, “Okay, we are going to lay hands on you and put all those devils out and it is going to be wonderful, and that will be the end of all your troubles.” Because if you continue in the way that you have been going, you have the same ground; you have the same vulnerability in you. You will have the same vanity of your mind; you will have the same Adam ways in you. That will be an attractive foundation for Satan to come in and begin to build again in your soul.

We can come back perhaps later to Ephesians, but let us go to John 20, where Jesus had some interesting things to say. These are some of the last things that He was saying before He left.

Now this is after the crucifixion and after the resurrection, and before He went to heaven.

John 20

21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”

Brethren are we open enough to believe that this is being spoken to us? I mean, to you and me, ordinary Christian people? I have had people tell me, “Oh, He just said that for His disciples. He didn’t mean that for you and me. He only gave the authority to the special twelve.”

Come on! Why record it if it wasn’t meant for us? So what did He say?

as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

I don’t know what the Amplified Bible says, but I will amplify it for us. I am going to say that it says,

In exactly the same way that the Father has sent me, that is exactly the way that I am sending you.”

The Father sent Jesus Christ with power. He sent Him with authority. He sent Him to deal with the terrible condition of man. He is sending us in that same anointing to deal with the terrible fallen condition of man. Now let’s get into this next Verse 23,

Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

Now I hope that your Czech Bible has words that are easier to understand than the words “remit” and “retain” in English? Your Bible uses better words perhaps, but in our English Bible these seem to be old English words that are little understood by most people today. They are words that have a kind of legal understanding in a court of law. I believe judges and lawyers would be able to understand these words in their old English context.

So let’s look at the word “remit.” A judge would use this word if you were a prisoner and you have been charged with a crime, and somehow you have been found that you were not guilty. Maybe you really did do something wrong, but the judge might say to you, “I find you not guilty.” Basically he is saying, “I “remit” the charges against you.”

Did that get the meaning across? Now basically Jesus is doing more than the judge would do. What Jesus is saying is,

I am also taking away the guilt that goes along with that. You don’t need to carry that burden of guilt anymore. It isn’t just that I am finding you not guilty anymore, but I am taking away the feeling and the pressure of that sin that has lain upon you.”

So that much I can understand from the English word “remit,” but here we come with this word “retain.” In my old natural understanding, I would think, “Well, if I choose to forgive you then okay, but if I don’t then you are going to be in trouble and you won’t be forgiven. I have the power to do it either way I want.”

Here is the word now that we need to redefine. In the Greek, “retain” is the word krateo (krat-eh’-o). Again, it is kind of a legal word and it refers to a power of a government. It means:

To take control; to prevail; or to become a master of a situation.”

It sort of speaks of a nation coming into another nation and taking over control of the government of that other nation. I suppose that was the goal of England and the United States and those allied nations when they came into Iraq. They were coming in to take over the government of Iraq (of Saddam Hussein) and to put it under another system of government. I believe this is what Jesus meant in that He has given us the ability to bring a new government into the sinful man’s life—“the government of the kingdom of God.” (A ministry that has the power over sin to break it’s dominion over us.)

Now, Jesus said,

for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

I like the pattern of Jesus. So often I think of how that there was “no ground” in Him—No ground! What do we mean by no ground? “No basis.” That is what we are going to talk about too. We will define it in the next hour.

Years ago, I used to use Velcro as the example whenever I was talking about “No ground.” There are two parts to Velcro. One is made up of many, many little hooks. The other side of this Velcro is this little wool: a type of fabric that has much place for hooks to attach. Now the part with the little hooks comes and grabs hold of the wooly part. But when you take the part with the little hooks and put it on something smooth, it doesn’t stick. With the smooth part there is “no ground”; there is nothing there that is attractive to all these little hooks. That is what we are talking about: Jesus had nothing in Him that Satan could attach to. Satan tempted Him with pride; he tempted Him with, “Go ahead and use Your power!” He tempted Him to do something independent of the Father; to do something the Father never showed Him to do; he threatened Him—but he could find NO GROUND! In other words, Jesus might say,

Satan, you can make all the noise that you want. I am not moved by it. Just get behind Me! I am not interested! There is nothing you can offer Me that is of any interest to Me at all.”

I am going to describe four basic grounds that relate to the old man. I am a word-smith, so we deal with words. Now these are grounds that will attract troublesome unclean spirits into our soul. Let me say, brethren, if we want to be walking as sons of God, we are going to have to put this out of our soul. By the way, the first two that I am going to give you are actually weapons that Satan has. How many of you know that Satan has weapons? There are some brethren that claim that he has 13 weapons. I don’t know. I kind of made a list one time of 13 but I thought there might be more. Then I began to consolidate them and some words kind of overlap and have similar meanings to others.

DISTRACTIONS

Considering distraction, Brother Burt had a vision at one of the conferences in Nebraska several years ago. Satan came before the throne of God accusing us and he said that we were “easily diverted and subverted.” The word “diversion” falls in the category of distraction. I think we have to be “distracted” in order to be diverted.

Let me talk about different forms of distractions now. We are going to get into some. The first one is a simple, uncomplicated distraction. These things are done by other people, but they are not done with any malice or any intent to harm us. They are just things that irritate us.

Let’s suppose that a brother were up here this morning and was playing with his cell phone. This might annoy you if he is really using it: “You know, we are preaching the Word. Why does he have to do that? Doesn’t he ever pay attention?”

Then we have all these cell phones going off (ringing) all the time.”

That is a new type of distraction. It isn’t just the noise of the cell phone; it is the thing that begins to come into our mind about the noise. And we think:

Is his business so important that he has to be doing it here?”

Does he have to get so loud about it and everybody else has to hear him give instructions to employees?”

You know, it is just rude!”

And then she keeps tapping that pencil all the time.”

I have nervous habits too, yes I do. You hadn’t noticed had you? Well, my wife knows what they are. I am talking on the phone and she says, “You are drumming your hands again.”

Well these are simple things, but do you know what? It can bring other things into our mind and we begin to think. It isn’t just the noise; it isn’t just the activity that is being done. We are talking about our soul now, as sons of God and believers.

Simple distractions, and we get annoyed, we get critical, we get resentful: “Who does she think she is?” Then we take on a spirit of accusation, we get suspicious. These are things that open our soul to other spirits. So this isn’t just the tapping and playing with your hair, this is something more now.

Let us talk about persons that draw attention to their body by the way they dress. Do you suppose that we could be vulnerable to that kind of thing?

Why? Why does she have to wear that? What is she trying to advertise anyway? Isn’t there anybody that can tell her how inappropriate that is?”

Then we go out in the world and we see others as we walk in the mall: “Isn’t there another space where they could put another ring in that ear?” “Aren’t there some new colors they could put in their hair?”

And our mind gets going. Do you understand? But you see, it is other people, and it is not just the way that they dress, but they do things. Sometimes we see them doing unkind, cruel things. It opens us up to unclean and lustful thoughts. Really unclean and lustful thoughts. Why? Because we have been distracted.

The Devil hates this word. I tried to bring this word in New York and I got so distracted that I forgot to turn the microphone on. I turn it on very carefully now and I look to make sure that it is really on. The good news is that if I had previously successfully finished ministering this word I wouldn’t be bringing here it again. It is as if the Lord said, “You are not finished with this word.”

Quarreling; anger; bitterness. Wishing evil on others; jealousy; hatred. Hopelessness. Do you understand that when we get distracted it opens up the soul to all these kinds of spirits.

Let’s get into it a little deeper here:

People who do us wrong.

Now it is not just their nervous habits. It is not just the way that they present themselves, but now they are actually doing something that hurts you. For example, people who don’t keep their promises. Have you ever had that happen to you?

Oh yes. I will be there.”

I will support you.”

I am behind you 100%.”

8:00 o’clock tomorrow morning. You can count on it; I will be there to help you.”

Then: 9:00 o’clock… 10:00 o’clock… and “Oh, something came up. I am so sorry.”

Look, I needed you! I was depending on you! I couldn’t get this done without you.”

But people break their word and let you down and it can distract you.

People that speak against us.

I don’t know what the matter is. Why are they saying this about me? They have completely misunderstood me.”

Why this gossiping? Why this tale bearing?”

Lord, You are my Judge. You stand before me, but this man is hurting me.”

Well, it is another distraction isn’t it? It is a little heavier distraction and it plants in us seeds—seeds of fear, anxiety, depression, nervous disorders, self pity, and self condemnation.

Oh, nobody loves me.”

I don’t know, what is the matter with me?”

Everybody misunderstands me.”

Well, brother, do you have a right to feel that way?” “Yes! If it happened to you, you would feel that way too. I have a right to feel sorry for myself.”

You know, in Jesus Christ you do not have any rights. Do you really think that this kind of thing can enter into the kingdom of God? “No!” Absolutely not!

Look at Jesus! Did He have a right to feel all this self pity? Not in God! He didn’t and He would not. Satan had no ground in Him. They were cruel to Him; they were unjust; they lied; they were deceitful; what they did against Him was illegal—but it didn’t move Him to sin. It did not change His focus on the Father’s business.

Lust

Another distraction is lust; and you know, lust isn’t just sexual. There are other kinds of lusts. Let us take the “lust for power and authority” first. That too is a lust. Did you know that? Some people are very lustful for power and authority. My goodness, just look on the news channels and watch everything that is going on in America in this time of year, and all these people lusting for power and to have dominion over others.

Also, do you know there are people who have a lust for “recognition in front of others”? I would use perhaps the term “attention.” It seems that in everything that they do they want to be seen by other people. You have never had people like that in your fellowship, have you? They get an opportunity to pray and they are loud; they are not really praying but instead they are just announcing their own agenda. Very lustful. The message is:

See me!”

Look at me!”

See how religious I am!”

Look how I can pray in King James English.”

Well, that is a kind of a lust. I want to tell you something, brethren, when you come up against that spirit you have come up against something that is pretty strong. Recognition: attention: your own agenda—these are all types of lust.

Now there is another kind of lust, which is the unclean sexual kind of attraction. These spirits hang out in bars, pubs, nightclubs and those kinds of places. They attach themselves with these kinds of people who are given over to this kind of uncleanness. When you expose yourself to the sexually explicit and pornographic books, magazines, pictures, television and the Internet, you give Satan the basis of the foundation (or ground) upon which he is going to build. So that which begins with an imagination or image in the mind will go beyond just the thought process and you may actually begin to act upon the thing that you see with your eyes. You know, sometimes in this world you can’t always avoid a quick glimpse. It is everywhere. But we don’t have to dwell in that place. James says that sin, including this kind of sin, begins with our being drawn away and enticed by our own lust.

James 1

13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

You take a look at somebody, and there may be a distraction that comes from the way that they are dressed. The next thing is that your mind is going down some road of imagination. You begin to think about this; you begin to think about that. You know, brethren, you don’t have to go down that road. Here is where, as sons of God, we need to take control over our thought process.

I am going to ask you a question. Let’s talk about the last twenty-four hours, if you can remember. Would you be embarrassed if the thought processes and the pictures of your mind from the last twenty-four hours were all projected here on this screen? I am not just limiting it to sexual lust. I am talking about the things that you have been thinking about other people as you looked at them; as you observed their manner of behavior. I see from some of your smiles that you would not be pleased to have that projected for the whole group to be viewing.

Do you remember in the 8th Chapter of Ezekiel how the prophet Ezekiel was digging down into the wall and he was seeing into the secret things and the imagery of the soul. Now the imagery is the imaginations of our mind. He saw things that were not pleasing to God. You know, brethren, we have to put an end to it.

I want to ask you another question. How many times now were you distracted and you found your mind starting to go somewhere, but you said, “No!”

No! I will not go there. No! I am not going down there either. I am going to focus my mind on the things of the kingdom of God. My mind is governed by the principles of the kingdom of God. I will not walk in the vanity of my mind as Gentiles walk.”

I will not think like the people around me at work are thinking and talking. Their coarse jesting will not move me down to where they are.”

There is a lust for money in these things too. You know, the lust for money is a pretty powerful lust, isn’t it? People are really driven by it.

There came a time in my life when I had to make a choice. You know, when you go to school and college and all that, I think that they try to put in you the goal of being a success and having a great income. I had that in me at one time. I graduated with a nice Master’s degree in Hospital Administration:

I’ll be the number-two man for a while, but as soon as I get my foot on that ladder I am going up. I am going up the ladder and I am going for the number-one position. I am going to take myself up to number-one in a big organization.”

Then the kingdom of God came along and interrupted my plans. I began to discover that there is only so much energy in me (I was going to say “There is only so much that I can lust for,” but I had better not). I can spend my energy in the lust for power and income and money, or I can spend my energy for the kingdom of God. However, I cannot give all that I have to both kingdoms. If I am going to make success in the world as my goal, then they are going to want to own my soul. They will want me 24/7 and I don’t want to give them the entirety of my soul. So I had to make a choice. Hallelujah.

Let me say this, there are these drives. If they have not been dealt with already, they still remain in us. Unclean spirits dwell on this ground. We have been pushing it down, suppressing it; but those lusts, those yearnings are still there. These unclean spirits are just patiently waiting for a weak moment, when you are tired, when you are lonely, when you are irritated with someone else—and until there are suggestions coming to your mind that are stronger than your determination to resist them. So you try to become religious and you try to cover it up with religious activity, but religion doesn’t drive it out of your soul, brethren. It just covers it up. It takes the power of God.

Let us look at 1 John 1,

8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Let me try to amplify that again a little bit. When we tell Him all of our sinful thoughts and desires, hiding nothing, we will find that He is faithful; He is fair. He sets us free and He cleanses us from every unclean thing. We can be honest with God. We can tell Him things that would be difficult to tell other people. He understands. He is ready to forgive you and set you free; and He will not condemn you. Then you will find freedom.

Lord, I have been bothered by these kinds of thoughts about this person. My God, I repent of that. Cleanse me!”

Cleanse me, O God, of that attitude.”

Please, Lord; deal with me.”

Do you know that when you tell God your sin, that isn’t when He finds out about it? When you confessed it, that is not when He found out. It is probably when you found out about it, but God saw it all along.

Now we have come to the point of realizing the problem that we have, and we have gone to God. Maybe we need the help of others. Let us go over to James again.

(By the way this is still the first distraction, and there are four of them altogether. The others won’t be so long, but you will have the picture.)

All right, we are going to go to James 5:16,

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed….

Do we have the kind of relationships within the kingdom of God where we can trust other people? Could I come to you and be honest with you and tell you what is troubling me, and ask you to pray for me and to ask God to forgive me? And can I ask, “Will you help me?” That is a good question, isn’t it? I wonder how often we really do this. It says to do so in James. Do you know it links this thing to our healing?

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may behealed….

The first time we went to Nigeria there was a sister that came to the meeting. She was bound, she could not conceive. There were problems in her marriage. The elders got together and we thought we were just going to pray for the sister. But as the elders began talking and counseling with this couple they discovered that they had ought one with another and there was unforgiveness and bitterness amongst themselves. When they confessed and repented, healing came into their relationships. It was quite a surprise to us that before we came back the next time this sister had conceived a child. The child was named “Victory.”

Let us continue with the next of the grounds here, which is ACCUSATION. Now accusation is another weapon of the enemy. If you want proof, you can go to Revelation 12:10,

Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

That means that he carries on his business without stopping. The nature of the accuser is such that he wants to bring his nature into us, that we also take on accusation. So if this business of distraction has accomplished what he wants, then accusation takes over and we begin to find someone to blame for our failures. I’ll give you some examples:

A man has been distracted by sexual lust. Maybe he has even given in to that distraction and has gone way too far. So who is he going to accuse?

Well it is my wife’s fault. If she were only thus and thus I wouldn’t have done this, you know.”

Well it is my parents, you know. My father was such and such of this kind, and I have the nature of my father.”

Well, the church, the fellowship has failed me. If they had only been thus and thus and helped me properly. And that preacher, it is his fault really.”

No, it is society! They just flood everything with graphics and temptations. I just can’t get away from it. It is their fault.”

Then, it is my job too. It’s those people down there where I work.”

Especially my boss, it is his fault for my failure. If he would only get off my back. He just makes me too…. I can’t work right the way they are after me all the time.”

Well, it’s my friends. It’s just the kind of friends that I have, you know?”

Oh, I’ve got a better one: “The Devil, the Devil made me do it. It’s not my fault. I’ve got a pure heart. It’s the Devil’s fault.”

You know, it’s the television.”

It’s the internet.”

It’s other people”

It’s my background.”

And here is the best one of all: “It’s God’s fault. He made me the way I am. I can’t help the way He made me. It is His fault.”

You know the word “Devil” in the Greek is diabolos. Its definition is: “Someone who hits at another person in accusation.” So that is why in both 1 Timothy and Titus, when it is talking about the wives of the elders and the example that the older women are to give, it says that they must not be slanderers1 or false accusers.2 It says this in the King James Version, and these are both correct translations of this Greek word, “diabolos.” If you are a diabolos then you are a false accuser, a slanderer. An accuser is a gossiper and a talebearer.

Guess where accusation started? In the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3

12And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to bewith me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

It’s my wife’s fault. You gave her to me, so it’s Your fault, God. If you had given me somebody else, this would not have happened.”

Of course, Eve took it real good, didn’t she?

13And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

So they are both blaming and accusing their failure on someone else. Basically neither of them are taking the responsibility for what they have done in their own life. As long as you are accusing, you are not going to be dealing with it in your own soul. You are busy accusing someone else.

RESENTMENT. Now resentment isn’t so much of a weapon of the enemy, it is more of our own response to these things. Now if the enemy can get us involved in resentment it will also attract more unclean spirits, and there is a nice foundation here for him to build a project. And the project might be called “revenge” or “retaliation.” Do you know what this means? It means waiting for “the right moment” when we can get even. You might have to be very patient to wait for them to make one mistake: “Yes! Yes! I knew he was going to do that! I was waiting for that to happen. Now I can get even.”

You see, this is a “whispering campaign” against the offender.

Whisper… whisper… whisper.”

Just wait! Just wait! I know what they are like, and I’ll just wait. Yes, I want a pay-back.”

You know this resentment thing can come from way, way back in your life. For example, people can resent being poor.

I grew up so poor. I never had anything to eat; I never had the right clothes to wear. Oh, I am so resentful of that.”

People can resent other people’s success; they can resent being rejected. Some of you have been rejected in life. Someone very important to you turned you out; has turned you away; has turned away from you. Some of you resent the loss of a loved one. So many of us, even if we are adults in our natural age, we have within us a child that is full of resentment:

A girl resents her parents for something.

A boy continues to be angry and resentful about his father leaving his mother.

A girl is not beautiful, her sister is beautiful. She is very resentful for that.

A boy is crippled in life. He is very resentful of that: “Why did God make me crippled like this?”

A girl is resentful: “Why wasn’t I born a boy? They have all the privileges.”

We could go on and on. There are so many things that you can resent. The bottom line is that you can’t take it with you into the kingdom of God! Resentment will not fit in the kingdom of God.

Now here is the last one; if we continue with resentment, guess what happens next? BITTERNESSsets in. What is the difference between these: bitterness and resentment? Well one blends into the other one. Resentment leads into the bitterness. The first one (resentment), is it like rebellion? Rebellion is more of an acting out. Resentment is a way that you feel. Bitterness is the condition of the soul which can go to such an extent that you don’t even know where it came from any more. Bitterness becomes part of your nature.

You know that there are some people that are so bitter that every time they speak, they overflow with curses, anger and venom. It just oozes out of them. It affects everything; it affects all relationships that they have. It is bitterness.

Actually, when a bitter person begins to love somebody, guess what happens? It becomes jealousy. Now they don’t trust that person to go out of their sight. If someone else talks to them: “What did he want?” “Where have you been?”

Let me take you to Romans 3.

10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

14Whose mouthis full of cursing and bitterness:

Now this is a description of bitterness, and it equates with what comes out of the tongue. What comes out of the mouth is cursing. So these are people who are continually cursing others; praying and hoping for evil upon others.

Let’s compare this with where we started as we go back now to Ephesians 4.

29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Hallelujah. Now we know that fear cannot exist with faith; and (as Brother Burt has already said here) “faith is the absence of fear.” The two cannot live in the same place. The same is true with bitterness: faith cannot dwell in the midst of bitterness.

30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Now look at the things that Paul puts in the same category as bitterness,

31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

How did Paul say to deal with these things?

Let (them all) be put away from you.

Now if you have been wanting somebody else to deal with this (your problem) it is really something that you are going to have to deal with. Put it away from your own life. Put it away from your own soul. Put it away from your own mind.

32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

A couple of quick verses here and then we will close up.

Hebrews 12:15,

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root ofbitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

You see bitterness is not always manifest immediately, but it is there; it is a root. The kind of roots that I know of grow under the ground. That means if you cut the top off, the root is still there. If you cover it up with religious activity, sing nice songs and fellowship with brethren, it could still be a root down under the ground waiting to manifest.

lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

What happens to this root? At the opportune time, it springs up. It doesn’t just trouble you; it defiles and troubles many people. Have you ever had that happen? You were so surprised. Somebody that you thought was just so sweet and nice; all of a sudden they just exploded. I mean the darkness that came out was unbelievable!

What happened to Brother So and So? Where did all that come from?”

It came from a root of bitterness; it just sprang up and troubled everybody.

Now let me just close with a couple of more verses.

Brethren, let us not accuse anyone because of our failures or because of the difficulties that we have had in our life. The things in our life come from the hand of God. Did you know that? I will go back in my life probably to the early 1970s; which thank God, was a time before any of you knew me. I had terrible circumstances and I cried out to the Lord. I said,

Lord, when are You going to change these circumstances?”

I was just learning to hear the voice of God. It was the first time I think I ever heard the voice of God speak to me. I was down on the floor. I know that my nose was touching the floor and I was weeping. My tears were all over that wooden floor and I was so distressed at my life and my circumstances. I said,

Lord I am not going to get off this floor until I hear from You.”

I meant it. It was not a religious thing. It was not a twenty-one day fast or anything like that. It was very spontaneous. The grief of my life just overwhelmed me to the point where I didn’t know how to deal with it anymore; and I was making so much noise before the Lord that He put a trumpet right here to my ribs, and He blasted the words right through me. He had to get loud for me to hear. He said to me,

Will you bear with Me a little while longer?”

(Now, what are you going to tell the Lord when He asks you a question like that? Are you going to say no? Do you know that the words “No” and “Lord” do not go together? You cannot call Him “Lord” and say “No” at the same time.)

I said, “Yes.”

But do you know what He was really doing? By the way, it took about six more years. That was His definition of “a little while longer.” I was thinking, “Six months and it will all be over.”

He said, “Will you bear with me…?” That means to say that the Lord is saying, “I am in charge. I am in control. All things are of me.”

What are you going to do about your circumstance, and how are you going to deal with it in the context with the word that says “this is of God”?

2 Corinthians 5:18

All things are of God…

Psalm 72:18

Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

In every thing give thanks….

But Lord, this is terrible.”

But there is darkness in my life.”

Lord, there has been sin in this thing.”

Lord, how can I give You thanks for this?”

Lord, how can I give You thanks forevery thing?”

At one time, I thought, “Okay I’ve got it: ‘Inall things.’ I am not going to thank Him for what is going on, but in the situation that I am in I will thank Him. Okay, I thank You Lord, because You are God.”

But then the Lord comes and He says, “give thanks forallthings.” “Lord, I don’t like that. I don’t like what is going on in my life.”

Now what is going to happen in my life if I refuse to give thanks to the Lord? How am I ever going to break the hold of bitterness in me without thankfulness? Without praise?

Fast-forward a couple more years to another time in my life. I had been hearing this word about giving thanks in my circumstance for all things. I won’t tell you the whole story, but it began with me one day when I was having to get up at 5:00 o’clock in the morning, which I do not greatly enjoy. (It is easier now than it was when I was forty years old.) My life was a mess and I had to get into my car and drive down to Albany (the capital city) where I was the president of the Assistant Administrators Group. I remember getting in the car and the Holy Spirit was saying to me, “Give Me praise and give Me thanks.” In my mind I was saying, “I don’t feel like it, I am just going to be grumpy and miserable.”

The Holy Spirit is saying, “It doesn’t matter whether you feel like it or not. I want you to learn to give Me praise and thanksgiving.” And I am thinking, “But my mouth is shut and it doesn’t want to be opened?”

The Lord is saying, “Open it anyway.”

But I am not in a mood to sing praises?”

Mood has nothing to do with it. Obey Me.”

Okay Lord.”

Praise the Lord. (through my clenched teeth).

Praise the Lord.” (through my nearly closed mouth).

Open your mouth, son.”

Praise the Lord!”

Now, you know, that didn’t hurt.”

 

Yes!”

 

Praise the Lord!”

 

Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

You know, I finally really got into it. I mean I was rolling down the road and my car was almost jumping around. I mean, it began to feel good.

I got to the meeting. There was to be a speaker that morning that I had arranged for several months earlier. We wrote in our calendar that he was going to come to speak to this group on Thursday morning, the 14th of February. But guess what he wrote in his book? Thursday, the 14th of March. I am pacing around while the other guys are in the back room having their breakfast, waiting for the speaker. We were at a fancy motel. By the way, this is before the days of cell phones, they didn’t exist then. We had to call upon the name of the Lord.

So they are all finished with their breakfast now and they are waiting, looking at their watches, thinking that, “We have to go back to work soon.”

Hey Jantzi, where is your speaker?”

I am out by the reception desk and I saw the man (my speaker). He came with his suitcases. He stopped at the reception desk. He gave his credit card and he walks right past me and goes for the door.

Oh, Dr. Noble?”

He turns around.

Yes.”

I said, “Oh, Dr. Noble, do you remember me?”

No, he didn’t know who I was.

I said, “Do you remember that you were going to speak to our group?”

Oh, yes, yes. You are that guy. Yes.”

I said, “Well, today is the day.”

No, no, no. It is next month.”

I said, “No Doctor, it is today. The guys are in the back room.”

I said, “Do you have a minute? Can you come in and share a little?”

He said, “Why, yes. Let me make a phone call and I will be with you.”

So he makes his call and I walked in with him. To this day I don’t know what he talked about, and nobody in that meeting knew what I was going through.

I went home that day and I said, “Lord, did I have a miracle today? Did I have an answer to prayer? Is this okay to call this a miracle?” I mean I was really naïve, I didn’t know.

I asked the man, “Why were you at this motel?” He said, “Well, I was up in the North Country and last night I was driving down through here and I was going to drive all the way to New York City. But it was late and I was tired, so I thought I’ll just stop here for tonight and I’ll spend the night at this motel.”

You see, God knew the night before that I was going to need that man at that place, the next morning, at 7:00 o’clock. And God put him there, and God taught me a lesson:

You praise Me in your circumstances when you don’t feel like it; and I will take care of things that you can’t take care of.”

Blessed be the Lord! Thank you for your kind attention. I pray that the Lord will use this word. Somebody said that there is repentance that is needed. Take the time to deal with these things (these distractions; these accusations) and let us not take on the nature of the enemy in resentment and bitterness and this type of thing. We can be cleansed of them, brethren.

God bless you.
For additional copies or literature call or write:

Mark Jantzi, 190 Fox Street, Esperance, NY 12066

Tel: (518) 875-6476

Email: mrjantzi@gmail.com

1 Ref. 1 Timothy 3:11

 

2 Ref. Titus 2:3

 

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