February is a month when the U.S. “Postal Service” (can you say, “oxymoron”?) is flooded with mail, as both men and women send Valentine’s Day cards to the love of their lives. Try to imagine the confusion if each would-be Valentine somehow got in the wrong envelope, and people sat there reading words addressed to someone else’s lover. It would be even worse if those readers tried to act upon the errant messages. Yikes!
Very soon now TLTF will release our five-and-a-half-hour video, The End Times, and you will receive an Email Blast with details about ordering your copy. For only $39 (3 for $100 so you can give gift copies), you will receive an exposition of biblical truth that few Christians in the 2000-year history of the Church have ever been taught. WHAT parts of the Bible are written TO WHOM (Jews, Gentiles, Christians) is the biggest key I know to “rightly dividing” God’s magnificent message to mankind and livingthe kind of life Jesus Christ died to make available.
The vast majority of Christians today are reading someone else’s mail (mostly Israel’s), and that has led to rampant confusion in the Church about many vital biblical topics, chief among which is salvation. The only people for whom salvation was, is, or will be guaranteed during their lifetimes are those who’ve been “born again of incorruptible seed” since the Day of Pentecost recorded in Acts 2. Therefore, every part of the Bible written to and/or about people living at any other time, past or future, speaks of conditional salvationthat can be lost.
Satan’s relentless assault on the indispensable truth of what is written to whom is aimed at depriving Christians of knowing who they are in Christ and what they can do because of who they are. How many sincere saints are mired in some part of the Old Testament, the Four Gospels, or the book of Revelation, thinking what they read there is written to them today, when they could instead be frolicking in the Church Epistles [Romans through Thessalonians] and reveling in who they are as members of the Body of Christ, thoroughly equipped to joyously carry out their duty of re-presenting the heart of Jesus to the world?
All these tremendous truths, and many more, are laid out in detail in The End Times, but let’s look briefly at one of my “pet peeves,” and that is the flagrantly haphazard use of the word “kingdom.” Countless Christian ministers and teachers use that word as if it pertains to us today, e.g., “We must advance the kingdom”; “We’re bringing people into the kingdom”; “The kingdom is within you,” etc. Chief among the proponents of this error are those who believe what is known as “Kingdom Now” or “Dominionist” theology, which essentially says that the Church has assimilated God’s promises to Israel and will basically rule the world. Consider this excerpt from one such publication, which is absolutely devoid of any understanding of the administrations in Scripture:
“We serve a King who is advancing a Kingdom. The King has chosen to position His Kingdom within humankind. He sends those who have His Kingdom within them into every aspect of society’s culture. The Kingdom of God is here now!”
And at Christmastime, most Christians enthusiastically belt out the words to the classic hymn, Joy To The World, but are they biblically accurate? Consider these familiar excerpts:
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room… Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!…No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground;He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found…He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love…”
WHAZZAT?! Do those words describe the world you see around you today? Of course not, the place is insane, and evil is rampant. But they do describe the kingdom prophesied in much of Isaiah through Malachi. By definition, there cannot be a “king-dom” without a KING, and when Jesus does come again to the earth (with us) to save Israel, things will work out better than the first time he came to the earth as the Lamb of God to save Israel, when they killed him. He will come as the Lion of Judah, raise all Old Testament believers from the dead, and make Israel the crown jewel of a renovated earth. When we see “kingdom,” we should think Israel, not the Church. So how doesGoduse the word “kingdom”?
From the time of King David, God began to make known the truth that the Messiah, a descendant of David, was the true king of Israel. Psalm 2 (Isa. 9:6ff; Dan. 2:44, et al.) expands upon that truth and shows that he will be king of the world after he comes to the earth again and puts down those who would rebel against him. [I will elaborate on that in the February 8 WWF]. Other Old Testament verses show that this is after the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7–NKJV), i.e., the seven-year Tribulation, when the one we now know as Jesus Christ comes back to the earth to save Israel (Zech. 14:3 and 4) and rule the world for 1000 years from the land God originally promised to Abraham and his believing descendants.
When Jesus’ public relations agent, John the Baptist, showed up, what did he say to the people of Israel? “Get your act together, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2) Shortly thereafter, Jesus echoed that message (Matt. 4:17). What did they mean? Of course they were referring to the kingdom all the Jews knew about from the Hebrew Scriptures (no one asked, “What kingdom?”), the one that the God of heaven would bring to pass—on earth. When they said the kingdom was “at hand,” they meant that the prophesied king was finally here. Sad to say that their words fell on deaf Jewish ears, and, motivated by “…the rulers of this age…” (1 Cor. 2:8), Israel murdered her king.
Jesus preached “…the good news of the kingdom…” (Matt. 9:35; Luke 4:43) and, because he had no knowledge of the “Secret” (now a nearly-2000-year parenthesis amidst God’s program for Israel), he expected to be inaugurated as the king seven years after he rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of God. That’s why he said things like, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” (Matt. 16:28). If you want a thorough exposition of this little-known truth, click here to read What Did Jesus Know and When Did He Know It?”
Now consider these verses, remembering that Jesus was speaking to Jews, whose only frame of reference was Genesis through Malachi:
3After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates [seasons] the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
As Jews, his disciples immediately thought of Old Testament prophecies about the future glory of Israel, and asked Jesus if that was what he meant. His reply indicated that the “times and seasons” set forth in the Old Testament, of which he spoke in the Four Gospels, are all about God’s future timetable for Israel, and have nothing to do with the Church. There are no such “signs” preceding the “rapture” of the Church; there aresigns during the Tribulation to help those beleaguered Jewish believers “endure to the end” and thus maintain their conditional salvation (Matt. 24:13).
The holy spirit God had promised in the Hebrew Scriptures was that which would animate the resurrected bodies of the true believers of Israel (Ezek. 37:11–14, et al.). We as Christians now have “…the firstfruits of the Spirit [spirit]…” (Rom. 8:23) in “earthen vessels.” After his resurrection, Jesus apparently knew more about this than he did prior to his death, and he began to tell his Jewishdisciples about a “new deal” that was different than the Kingdom truth revealed in the Old Testament.
There are only six other uses of the word “kingdom” in the book of Acts, the time when the Lord Jesus was progressively revealing “the Secret” to Paul, and then to other “holy apostles and prophets” (Eph. 3:5), who passed it on to the growing Body of Christ, most of whom had been Jews. None of them indicate that Jesus had become either “King of the Church” or king of the world. In his Church-Epistles revelation to Paul, the Lord Jesus used the word “kingdom” only 13 times, usually with a view toward the restored Paradise where both Christians and Old Testament/Tribulation believers will dwell with him (Rom. 14:17; 1 Co. 4:20; 6:9f; 15:24, 50; Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:5; Col. 1:13; 4:11; 1 Thess. 2:12; 2 Thess. 1:5; 2 Tim. 4:1, 18).
Yes, living on the renovated earth in a new body during Christ’s Millennial Kingdom is part of our Hope, but Christians will not get there by enduring “the wrath to come,” i.e., the horrors of the Tribulation. We will have been gathered together by the Lord prior to that. The “parenthesis” of “the Secret” (Pentecost to the Rapture) will have come to an end, and God’s program for Israel, now held in abeyance, will continue. We will return to earth with the Lord to help him conquer the wicked and administer his glorious kingdom for 1000 years, after which he will create a new heaven and a new earth, and we will all live joyously ever after. Amen.
All these truths, and more, are set forth in The End Times class. If you like it, why not invite as many people as you can to watch it with you in, say, a weekend setting? You could easily do it on a Saturday/Sunday, have folks bring pitch-in food, and make it a wonderful time of fellowship and learning. Who knows, it might even generate interest in all of you gathering on a regular basis to get into the Word and grow together. Can you say, “fellowship”? Sure you can.