Archive for the ‘Rapture’ Category


Jacob had left Beersheba and was on his way to meet Esau. He had sent his family on ahead, so that perhaps Esau would soften and his heart and not kill him as he had threatened years ago. Tired, he picked out a nice rock to lay his head on and get some sleep. He had a dream about a ladder that stretched from earth all the way to heaven. And on this ladder, angels were descending and ascending. At the top of the ladder was the Lord God. In his dream, he heard the voice of God:

“I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said,

“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Have you ever gone through some trial and thought, Surely God was in this place and I did not know it?)

And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” So early in the morning

Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.” Genesis 28:10-22

STEADFAST LOVE

As we peer closely at the Real Jesus, the Jesus of Revelations One, we see another aspect of Divine Love expressed in His appearance.

John saw his golden sash (Agape love that sacrifices all), his white hair (enduring love that lasts through the tests of life), his eyes of fire (discerning love that sets boundaries), his feet of bronze (uncompromising love that desires the strength of His righteousness), and his voice of many waters (distinguishing love).

Now we see his right hand, and in his right hand are seven stars. The stars are the messengers to the churches, which could be angels but more likely represent the Pastors, or those responsible for God’s messages to the churches.

Specifically, the seven stars in His right hand means that Christ holds the power of the churches in His hand. The church age is His age; it is when He is at work among the nations. His kingdom is at work through the church.

His right hand is the hand of power, and the church is to know His power!

  • Ex 15:6 your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, you right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy
  • Ps 17:7 Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.
  • Ps 48:10 Your right hand is filled with righteousness.
  • Ps 63:8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
  • Ps 139:10 your right hand shall hold me.
  • Isa 41:13 For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you”.

The Question we must ask ourselves as we examine our Love for the Lord,

  • Do we hold His Right Hand?
  • Do we hold it with steadfast love?
  • Or do we reach for him only when we are in trouble?

Ps 16:8 “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken”. To have steadfast love is to have a love for Christ that is fixed in intensity and direction; it is steady, unwavering, marked by determination.

The right hand represents strength, it represents steadfastness. When you hold His hand, you will never be shaken.

Jesus commends the steadfast love of the Philadelphians in verse 10: “Because you have kept my word about patient endurance”

Patient endurance is hupomoné; to persevere, remain under. A bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances. It refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial[1].

Christ is writing to a church that has a steadfast love that is determined and fixed upon Him, and because of that steadfast love, they are enduring; they have not let go, they have not turned aside, they continue to lift up His name with everything they have, even if Jesus says it is little.

First love is steadfast love, and Jesus Christ demonstrated that:

  • John 13: 1 …”he loved them to the end”
  • Jeremiah 31:3 … “I have loved you with an everlasting love”

Divine Love is triumphant love, love that is steadfast and sure, love that holds on no matter what it encounters or suffers through.

God calls to us in Isaiah 55:

Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. Isaiah 55:3

Jesus is before the Church of Philadelphia, and in his hand is no rebuke, no call for repentance, only the reminder of His promises for them.

This church was not a big church. It would be considered a rural church in a small farming town on the edge of a fertile valley. There is still a farming town there today. Although just a church in the country, and not a big city church with prestige, the church in Philadelphia was special to Jesus. Therefore, He reminds them of His Promises.

Steadfast Love is always based upon promise

Marriage is always begun with a promise. Marriage is to be a display of God’s steadfast love, yet we all know the tragedy of marriages in America. Steadfast love has been re-defined to mean 5 years, 10 years, or until I find someone better. Well, with God, Steadfast Love is to be for a Lifetime!

Marriage to me is like the word to Philadelphia – He that overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of My God.

My Mom and Dad - Jim and Clare Tompkins

I am proud of my Mom and Dad for the example of being a pillar of steadfast love. They were far from perfect, and their marriage was very strained at times, but underneath it all was a steadfast love that withstood the trials and tests of time. I am so proud that we have in our church such pillars of steadfast love. I hope and pray that each of you will see the need to be pillars in this society of ours, to hold forth an example to your children of steadfast love. America is only as strong as our commitments to our families and our spouses.

The Promise to Philadelphia, and the Promise to you and me

“The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. Revelation 3:12

Yet, we read in Revelation 21:  “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God the Almighty, and the Lamb are the temple thereof” (Rev. 21:22).

There is no temple, God is the temple. Therefore, the Pillars will be in God Himself. You will always dwell in the heavenly Jerusalem. No more will you go out. You will be one who counts with God!

All who are of the character of Philadelphia, marked by steadfast love, become strength in the place of God’s dwelling and in His interest. To be of great importance to God, in the presence of God, important in the Church, which is the New Jerusalem – love is the thing that must characterize us.

It is not money, title, office, pedigree, or social standing. These things may give importance in this world, but in God’s Kingdom, it is love. It is steadfast love when you are weak, steadfast love when you are persecuted, steadfast love when you are barely able to hold on.

DO YOU WANT TO COUNT FOR SOMETHING BEFORE CHRIST?

The way to be something for God is not based on how much you know, how much you have studied, or even how many verses you have memorized.

Understand this about what God Values: He says in James 5: 11 – Behold, we call them blessed which endured. God will often take us through something that is designed to bring us to a feeling of nothingness. He wants us to love Him not because of what we have, but simply because of who He is.

You do not want to be loved because of what you are able to do. You want to be loved for your own sake.

When it is like that, and we get away from all our ambitions, all our craving for recognition and reputation, and we love the Lord for His own sake, we have attained a place of tremendous importance – pillars of strength in the things of God, in the temple of God, in the presence of God. Love is the key to all spiritual significance.

What matters to God is not the number of our trials, but that we reach God’s goal through them. That Goal is steadfast Love for God no matter what we have or do not have. It is pure love for Jehovah God.

So with the background of Christ wanting us to see that Divine Love is Steadfast Love, let’s look at this letter.

The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens. Revelation 3:7

True and Holy

The one who has the sure right hand wants us to see Him as the true one, the holy one. This true refers to the fact that He is the real Jesus, the real God, he is no man made idol, no figment of man’s imagination.

The real Jesus is Holy, He is sacred, He is set apart, and He is God! So when you pray to Jesus, when you talk about Jesus, remember the real Jesus is no Christmas ornament, He is Holy, He is righteous, and His Holiness is essential to love Him with steadfast love.

Key of David

The real Jesus holds the key of David. He has the authority of the throne of David, which is the throne of God! The promises of God to David are held in the key of David. Jesus Christ is coming soon, and He will be holding the key of David. He will have authority to sit on the throne of David and rule the world.

This is a reference to an incident recorded in the 22nd chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah. In the days of Hezekiah the king there was a courtier (we would call him a chief-of-staff, for he was in charge of the palace) whose name was Shebna. He had been caught in a personal scam run for his own benefit, and as a result God says a very unusual, very descriptive thing about him: “I will take him and whirl him around and around (like a discus thrower), and hurl him into a far country,” {cf, Isa 22:18}. It was a prediction that he would be sent into Babylon. He would be replaced by a godly man named Eliakim, of whom God said,

“I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David. What he opens, no one can shut, and what he shuts, no one can open.” {Isa 22:17 NIV}

Our Lord refers back to that passage in Isaiah and applies it to himself: “I am the one who shuts and no one can open, and opens and no one can shut”. His will cannot be opposed. He governs the events of history on earth. He will open some doors; he will close other doors… Jesus has the authority to open and to close. That which He opens, no one shuts, that which He closes, and no one opens.

We have the privilege to partner with Christ here on earth through our prayers.

Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:18-20

These verses come on the heal of the teaching on church discipline. They form the foundation for church discipline. That foundation is that when we are united in prayer and are agreed on God’s will, what we pray to be bound will be bound, and what we pray to be loosed will be loosed.

The key is coming together, being led of the Holy Spirit to pray in unity about something. In the case of church discipline, the church comes together to deal with someone who is unrepentant. If the church is led to close the door of the church to that person, then he is bound in heaven. The doors of God’s care and fellowship are shut.

The church has great authority here on earth, and in truth, God partners with His people in effecting His will. However, we fail to partner with God because our eyes and hearts are not open to see the injustice in the world, or we do not desire God’s will.

Our love for God must be steadfast, it must be resolute, always desiring His will here on earth. We must never retreat into thinking there is nothing we can do, that it is hopeless. We have the power to shake the Key of David through our prayers!

The Open Door

I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Revelation 3:8

Jesus knows their works, but He does not detail them as the other letters did. However, they are good, because Jesus sets before them an open door, which no one can shut. I believe this door is complete access to Jesus, it is complete access to His power and glory and love! No one can shut it; no one can take it away.

The Door is Always Open

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? …. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39

The church of Philadelphia has a special door to Christ, one that no one can shut. I believe we all have a special door to Christ. I believe He lives in each of us. The problem is that we shut the door of our heart to Him. We are the ones who are not steadfast in our love and devotion to Him. We are the ones who let go of His right hand, and go our own way.

The church at Philadelphia had a door that was always open because they have kept His Word and not denied His name.

O they were weak in numbers, weak in power, but their love was resolute. They were steadfast in their devotion to His Word and to His Name! To such the Door to Jesus is always open!

Little Power

However, I want you to note something: Jesus said they had little power. These Christians were clearly no Elijah, able to pray fire from heaven. They were no Paul, able to be bitten by a poisonous snake and simply shake it off and go on preaching. They were no Moses, facing off against a mighty ruler and bringing him to his knees.

No these folk were like you and me, struggling to make a life in a small town, where money and opportunities were slim. Yet they did have a little power, they did have an open door, they did have a steadfast love for the Word and for the Name of Jesus. They wore His name proudly in their forehead. They obeyed His Word no matter the cost or sacrifice.

God is the God of LITTLE THINGS

We think we cannot do anything for Jesus because we do not know too much, or we think we have no ‘spiritual power’, but the truth is that Little is Much when God is In IT!

LITTLE THINGS WHICH ARE GREAT IN GOD’S SIGHT.

  • Two or Three Gathered in His Name, Matt. 18:20.
  • Only a Cup of Cold Water, Matt. 10:42.
  • In addition, a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. Mark 12:43
  • Little Children, Matt. 18:1-5 (“little” used 7xs in 18:1-14).
  • A Little Money with…
    • Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it. Proverbs 15:16
    • Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it. Proverbs 15:17
    • Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. Proverbs 16:8
  • A poor, little widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. Mark 12:43

Little is Much when God is in it!

Does the place you’re called to labor
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.
Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ Name.

Are you laid aside from service,
Body worn from toil and care?
You can still be in the battle,
In the sacred place of prayer.
Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ Name.

Those that speak against you will learn

Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you. Revelation 3:9

Obviously, there were Jews who were making fun of this little church. They were saying that God loved them, that these Christians were noting to God.

The Church that loves with Steadfast Love can always count on opposition!

The Philadelphia letter reminds that any true church at any time, and especially during the last days, meets Satanic opposition…through imitation, religious ritualism, and hypocrisy—opposition strengthened by mixture of worldliness and religiousness.

Jesus says, remember, the door is always open to me. I will make those “Jews” come and bow before you. They will learn it is you I have loved, and not them.

We should not make fun of small things. We should not think less of one church just because they are small in number. What counts is the Love of Christ. I would rather pastor a church of 20 and know we are beloved of Christ than to pastor a church of a thousand who walked in their own way.

Because you Have endured with steadfast love

Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. Revelation 3:10-11

Remember the Door is always open

There is a trial coming on the world, a great day of tribulation.

Joel 2:1 Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!

But Jesus promises these weak but steadfast Christians that they will escape, they will go through that open door and not face the tribulation that the world will endure.

Because of their faithfulness, the Christians in Philadelphia are promised that they will be kept from the hour of trial which will come upon the earth as a divine judgment.

But the promise to the church is specifically that it is to be delivered from the hour of trial. Actually, the word is not “from”, but “out of” — to be delivered out of — not just the trial but out of the very time of the trial! This is one of the clearest promises in the Bible of the catching away of the church before the great tribulation begins.

The time of trial and trouble described in Revelation 6 to 19. This time of tribulation will overtake the entire world, as God inflicts His wrath upon unbelieving Gentiles as well as upon Christ-rejecting Jews. The Philadelphian church is therefore promised deliverance from the time of trouble, which will overtake the world but will not overtake them.

He is coming soon

Hold fast what you have. Even though your strength is weak, even though the trials have sapped your strength, keep holding on!

Your crown is at stake, the crown of steadfast love!

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

Reward

The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Revelation 3:12-13

“A pillar in the temple of my God.”

We read, “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God the Almighty, and the Lamb are the temple thereof” (Rev. 21:22).

It indicates a fixed and unchangeable state. He shall go no more out. They have now overcome. They are partakers with their Lord in all his glory. They abide in his presence. They rejoice in his kingdom, and their joy no man takes from them. Oh how unspeakably happy is this prospect!

A pillar is a symbol of triumph.

And what a triumph has the Savior accomplished for me! He spoiled principalities and powers for me, in his death on the cross, triumphing openly over them there. Every saint a separate illustration of his power. All the saints a combined demonstration of his all-conquering grace.

A pillar is an instrument of commemoration.

Living monuments of his works of grace. What testimonies do they give! What evidences do they remain forever! In the history of each of them, what wonderful chapters have been written, and are to be read hereafter! They are thus pillars of record. Upon them are inscribed such histories of grace and power as the universe has never seen but in them.

A pillar is a place of Sacrifice

Jacob sacrificed atop the pillar he made. There he pledged Jacob’s pledge.

A pillar is an instrument of support.

There is an end of all schisms in the body–of all separations of feeling or affection. Each saint is a cordial supporter of this happy union among the people of God. They unite in one song of praise. They engage in one heavenly worship. They surround one throne and one Lord in one common affection and obedience. The many tongues of earth are all forgotten in the one song of heaven. Each saint is a supporter of Divine authority.

New Name

A pillar sometimes has an inscription or an identifying mark chiseled into it by the stonemason. Jesus promises to write upon the pillar (the faithful Christian) the name of God, the name of the New Jerusalem, and Christ’s new name.

A change of names would be meaningful to the Philadelphians because that city changed its name twice in its history. It called itself Neocaesarea when Tiberius helped it; and later on, in honor of Vespasian, one of the Flavian emperors, it changed its name to Flavia. (It later resumed the name Philadelphia.) Thus these people understood what it meant to have a different name.

In addition to this promise Christ gives them a threefold assurance that they will be identified with God, because

They will have the name of God, “the name of my God”.

This is a promise that believers will be made godlike. “Godliness” is a shortened form of the word “godlikeness”. The purpose of the Spirit in our lives is to make us godly or godlike.

They will have the name of the city of God, the new Jerusalem.

And, “I will write [on him] the name of the city of my God.” The last two chapters of Revelation give a vivid description of this wonderful city, the New Jerusalem, coming down from heaven “as a bride adorned for her husband” — a beautiful bride meeting her husband. That again is a picture of loving intimacy; someone captured by the beauty and goodness of another and longing to be with him or her. That is the second promise given to those who hold on, who stand fast in the midst of a decaying world. They will know the intimacy of a husband’s love for his beautiful bride.

They will have a new name belonging to Christ.

“I will also write on him my new name.” What is that? Since a name symbolizes one’s character this is a reference to the fact that when our Lord’s work of redemption is finished he will have a new name. Everyone wants to know what that new name is, but in Revelation 19:12 we are told that when Jesus appears he will have that new name written upon him, but it is a name that no man knows.

The Choice is yours:

You can be a pillow Christian, choosing the comfort to your pillow when it comes to seeking after Christ, or you can be a Pillar Christian, steadfast in your love for Jesus, proudly bearing His name regardless of Satan’s attacks, or trials, or testing’s. You may not be strong in your own ability, but you are strong in Christ. Your faith allows you to see Him at work, and allows Him to make you a Pillar in the Temple of God.

A Pillar Christian always holds the strong right hand of Jesus Christ. He holds eternity, He holds the churches, He holds the Holy Spirit, yet He can hold your hand. When you hold the hand of Jesus, you hold on to all that power, you are holding on to eternity!


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

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Journey 2010 is about living in the will of God. It is about what John said in 3 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” God’s Will, God’s truth will always be corrupted and thwarted by unrighteousness “Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

ABOUT END TIMES

I want to reveal the single greatest motivation we as Christians have for walking in the truth. This revealing involves “end times” teachings. Most of us are very curious about the “end times”. Most people respond to surveys saying they want to know more about the Book of Revelations.

Let me give you this about that. Curiosity is not the proper reason to study Revelations. Jesus gives us the proper reason to study the Word or the End Times Book of Revelations: “Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” If your study is motivaFrom the ted by your personal hunger and desire for righteousness, God will satisfy you, He will teach you. But if you are only motivated by curiosity or the pride of ‘knowing’, you will come away not knowing, not being satisfied. You will be confused.

Some may question my teachings as not being in line with what you believe is correct especially among Southern Baptists. But allow me to clarify: The Southern Baptist Faith and Message is extremely vague about the end time teaching in the Bible. Here is what the Southern Baptists believe about the end times:

“God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.” (2000 Southern Baptist Faith & Message)

Our belief’s must not be based upon what someone else has taught us, not even what I teach. Each one of us has the Holy Spirit as our teacher. What we must do is search and study the Scriptures. The truth must be within you and it must be based upon what you have studied and struggled with. Don’t accept at face value what I say or what others say. Study to show yourself approved  (“dokimos”) unto God, a workman who is not ashamed, but who rightly divides the truth!

OUR MOTIVATION

What is this Single Greatest Motivation for Walking in Truth and Following God’s Will?

1 John 3:1-3 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

John says the truth of Christ’s 2nd coming and uor resulting change into His glorious body is the Hope That Purifies Us.

1 Peter 1:22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,

So this truth of our FUTURE transformation when we are face to face with Jesus Christ is to motivate us in the PRESENT to obey His truth and in so doing become PURIFIED or CONSECRATED (agnízō – in 1 John 3:3) to God, which is what living in His Will and walking in His truth is all about.

I have read that in certain countries, hunters capture monkeys using a very simple but effective trap. They make a hole in a hollow tree and put a banana in it. The hole is big enough for the monkey’s hand to go in but not for its fist to come out. A monkey would then reach in and grab the banana. It then tries to pull its hand out while grabbing on to the banana to no avail. Its closed fist would be too big for the hole. For the monkey to be able to pull its hand out it has to drop the banana. But hunters are well aware that monkeys will not let go of the banana and that the monkeys will kick and squeal when the hunter approaches but they refuse to let go of the banana. They refuse to let go of the bait and so become captured.

LET GO

Today I want to challenge each of us to “let go”. If we are to Live in the Will of God, we must “LET GO”

Jesus was approached by a young man …

(The Message) Matthew 19:16-22 Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.” The man asked, “What in particular?” Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.” The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?” “If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.” That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.”

The disciples were blown away. They thought “if a rich man doesn’t deserve heaven, who does? Then they reminded Jesus that they had left everything. And Jesus commended them saying:

(continuing in verses 28-29) “In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life.

The young man was told by Jesus he must let go of his riches if he wanted to have eternal life. Our churches would be a lot smaller if we told people that today! And yet, Jesus insisted that in order to follow Him, we had to be willing to let go of everything this world has:

Luke 14:25-27 One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.

SO TO WALK IN GOD’S WILL WE MUST LET GO!

Let Go of What?

I believe we must let go of the salt! But Mudpreacher,  Jesus said we are to be the salt of the world, right?

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. Matt 5:13

If you consult with salt experts, they will tell you that salt never loses its taste. Never, not in a million years. It is a mineral and will stay the same. That’s why people who question the truth of the Bible cite this verse as one that proves their belief. Let’s consider this verse further.

“moraino”

The word  for lose its “taste or savor” is “moraino”,  applied to the mind – stupid or silly (1 Cor 1:20 – God made foolish (moraino) the wisdom of the world); applied to the taste –insipid or bland; (as in salt losing its savor). Moraino is the root of our English word “moron” = very stupid person.

Elsewhere in medicine moraino is used of the slackness, fatigue or dulling of the nerves. Moraino is also used in respect of the sluggishness of animals in winter. With reference to men the use of moraino is predominantly psychological. In this context, moraino implies censure on man himself; his acts, thoughts, counsels, and words are not as they should be. The weakness is due to a specific failure in judgment or decision.

Now in this verse,most people believe it refers to normally ‘salty’ believers losing thier ‘saltiness’ and having no effect upon the world. It is true that Christians only lose their “saltiness”when they make wrong judgments and become like the world. In effect they are “contaminated”. This is how many Biblical scholars explain the salt losing its’ “moraino”.

Ancient Dead Sea salt, unlike our modern, refined table salt, did lose its flavor. The salt is not pure sodium chloride, but NaCl mixed with other rock and mineral matter; and if allowed to get moist, the NaCl would dissolve out and leave behind a pile of tasteless crud. Thus, in order for the salt to preserve its savor, contamination had to be kept out of it. This explanation makes sense to all but scientists, because to them, salt is still salt. It keeps its qualities 10,000 years, because it is a mineral.

There may be a better understanding of what Jesus had in mind, which will silence the scientists.

Recent Archeological Discoveries

In the Cultural Dictionary of the Bible, John J. Pilch, Ph.D. who teaches Scripture at Georgetown University, points out that the Hebrew and Aramaic word for “earth” may also mean “oven”. Many cultures of Biblical times used an earthen oven, an oven made of clay. Moreover, in the Mediterranean world, wood was a scarce commodity. They used abundantly available camel or other animal dung as fuel. Salt was used to dry out the dung patties, and a block of salt was placed at the base of the clay oven as a kind of catalyst to make the fire burn. Recent archeological discoveries confirm this use. “…in all the ‘salt’ passages of the New Testament, salt is presented in its function as an aid to making fires burn rather than as a  seasoning or preservative agent.” When the salt lost its ability to stoke the fires, it was thrown down as gravel on muddy roads.

Factoring into the translation these cultural connotations, Pilch translates Matthew 5:13 as “You are the catalyst (salt) in the earth oven. But if the catalyst (salt) has lost its catalytic ability (saltiness), how shall its catalytic ability (saltiness) be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by human beings.” (Cultural Dictionary of the Bible by John J Pilch, 1995)

This view of Biblical salt flavors these verses in this way:

  • “You, my disciples, are salt for the hearth (or earth oven)…  an image that reminds me that you are also the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:13-14)
  • “Salt is good [an excellent thing], but if salt has lost its strength and has become saltless (insipid, flat), how shall its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the land nor for the manure heap; men throw it away. He who has ears to hear, let him listen and consider and comprehend by hearing!” (Luke 14:34-35, Amplified Bible)
  • “You are the fire making and sustaining agent in the earth oven. But if that agent has lost its ability to maintain a fire, how shall that ability be restored? This salt is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out. People can step on this solid block of salt in an otherwise muddy road.” (Matt 5:13, with a very logical lead into “light of the world.”)
  • “For every one will be salted in order to burn. Salt is good, but if it has lost its ability to start and maintain a fire, how can that ability be restored? Be salty, but stay at peace with one another.” (Mark 9:49-50.  Notice the repeated mention of fire in the context from v. 42 to these verses. Another logical lead into the salt statement.)
  • “I came to light the earth oven; would that it were already kindled” (Luke 12:49, then notice the subsequent discussion of family conflict and division, vv. 51-53).
  • “Salt is good. But if salt has lost its ability to start and maintain fires, how can that ability be restored? This salt is fit neither for the earth oven, nor for preparing the fuel (the dunghill). People just throw it away.” (Luke 14:34-35).

If you doubt the fire making qualities of salt, go to YouTube and type in salt water into fuel and watch salt water burn: Salt Water into Fuel

So LET GO of the dung contaminated salt. When the salt can no longer change the dung, it’s time to let go. When the world is making the salt lose it’s saltiness, you must LET IT GO!

Jesus provides further insight into what it means to “LET GO THE SALT” in Luke 17:

Luke 17:20-37 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

When it comes to the end times, when it comes to Jesus Christ’s return, don’t worry about your stuff, don’t worry about your car, that precious music box your grandmother gave you, your unfinished chores, your crops needing to be harvested, the money in the bank or the gold buried in the back yard. No, when it comes to going to be with Jesus, he gives one and only one warning:

Remember Lot’s Wife!

If you want to go with Jesus, don’t look back. Don’t long for the world. When God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, the angels warned Lot and his family, do not look back. It is all going to be burnt up just like useless dung. So when Lot’s wife looked back, God said, “O, you like that dung? Well then I’ll turn you into salt to help it burn even more!”

She was burnt up and became useless salt, contaminated by the dung of the world. Or perhaps God was saying “You Love that Stuff? Here, now you can help fan the fire!”

Now let me connect the dots, and scratch some saints.

  • 1. The return of Christ is our greatest motivation to live the Will of God
  • 2. Contamination by the world and all that the world offers will make us useless for nothing except road gravel.
  • 3. When it comes to the rapture, will we go to Christ if we look back?


To put it bluntly: If You Look Back Will You Drop Like A Block Of Salt?

Wait a minute Mudpreacher! All my Christian life I have heard about the Rapture. I have thought about it, desired it, wondered what it will be like! Everyone gets to go, don’t they? To answer that question, we must look at the warnings of Jesus:

WARNINGS

Let’s consider some other warnings that Jesus gives about the end times:

Don’t Look Back (Love not the World)

  • Genesis 19:26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
  • Luke 9:62 “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”
  • Hebrews 10:37 “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”
The Apostle John made this bold declaration: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Do you think he believed that those Christians who loved the world would be raptured?

Do you think Paul, who wrote about the rapture in Thessalonians, thought Demas would be raptured with him? After all Paul said this about Demas: “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;” (2 Tim 4:10).

Wake Up and Watch

  • Matthew 24:36-44 36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
  • Matthew 25:1-13 1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

They had oil, but it ran out. They had the Holy Spirit, but had He become Quenched to the point of no power to light their lamp? (If you Deny me to the world, I will deny knowing you, as the bridegroom said.)

  • Mark 13:35-36 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:1-7 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
  • Romans 13:11-14 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Scripture offers this about becoming sleepily involved with the world and its lusts:

James 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Titus 2:11-14 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Overcome and Endure

  • Revelation 2:26-28 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations–‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’– as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.
  • Revelation 3:10-13 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
(This is the one solid verse that promises the saints will not go through the tribulation, but it even lists conditions.)
As Christians, we are to have power over the world, not become enmeshed and tangled up in it:
  • 1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.  (they walk in the truth)
  • 1 John 5:4-5 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
  • John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Love His Appearing

  • 2 Timothy 4:8. “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved his appearing.
  • Hebrews 9:28so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

Do not be ashamed of Jesus

  • Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
  • Hebrews 10:35-38 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:”For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back (ashamed), My soul has no pleasure in him.”
  • 1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.

This expression is very peculiar. It means to “be ashamed from Him.” (Wuest) Sounds like you might not get to go!

DOES YOUR LIFE DEMONSTRATE YOU ARE WALKING IN THE TRUTH?

If we live our life in love with the world and all it offers. If we are so busy living that we forget Jesus Christ, we never mention to our friends we are His follower, if we get involved in sinful relationships and activities that the Holy Spirit shrinks from…You may even come to church and sing songs and look ‘Christian’. But God’s eyes are like a powerful MRI that can see inside every bit of us. He knows our heart. He knows our secret desires. He knows what you love. Your secrets will be exposed. I believe the Rapture could be a major step in that process. If anything is clear in God’s Word, it is that God is the one who judges, it is God alone who we must face. God will make known to the world the those ‘secret desires’ we may hide from others. What better way than to be left behind and have to explain to your friends who will say “I though you were a Christian! Why didn’t you get raptured?”

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

LOOKING FOR OUR BLESSED HOPE

Regardless of our beliefs about the rapture, we can be assured that there will be a rapture. God’s Word is clear on that. As we seek to live in God’s Will, the one great motivation we must have is in Titus 2:13:

Titus 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”

Holy Warriors

Why might some be taken and others left until His second coming?

He needs His Holy Warriors, to prepare them for the final battle. I believe Jesus will rapture His soldiers that He will need to battle the Beast and the prophet and the nations. He must put is through a heavenly boot camp to prepare us to battle. You go if you can make the cut. You are left if your heart is not ready. Jesus says, “If you love the world, why don’t you go through the tribulation and learn to despise it, learn that I AM GOD! As Jude says:

Jude 1:14-15 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

3000 years ago God gave us an example of what happens to His people when they don’t forsake the world. The Hebrew children wandered in the wilderness for 40 years until they died off and the youngsters came of age. The worldly Hebrews had to die because they would have made terrible soldiers. They would never have been able to take the Promised Land. God had to give an example to their children, an example of the need for obedience to Him. Joshua had his army, but they had to be warriors un-entangled with the world.  They had to hate the world. They had to war against the world. We must be of the same mind if we want to be raptured and join Jesus’ Army!

What about the wedding feast? I thought THAT took place after the rapture! We are the Bride and we will be married to Him! Read your Bible. The marriage feast is not mentioned until Revelations 19 and 21, AFTER the new heaven and earth.

Today, on Jebel Usdum (Hill of Sodom) on the Dead Sea’s western shore, stands a pillar of salt known as “Lot’s Wife.” This monument is a perpetual reminder of a woman who allowed her human nature to turn her from the express command of God. In a critical moment she took her eyes off the goal. Christ warns that we cannot allow the same to happen to us.

You can get all hissy at me and say, “I can’t believe you don’t believe all Christians will get raptured!” You can keep on thinking that you can live any old way you want, and it doesn’t matter. You can say you love Jesus and keep on living as YOU think is best, you can keep on following the world and living like the rest of the world. But you are closing your eyes to the warnings that God has in His Word. Jesus said “Remember Lot’s Wife!”

HEED THE WARNINGS

If you do you are reading a different Bible than I have. I read this Word and I am in fear, I tremble before this Holy God. I cling to Jesus as my righteousness. I cling to Him because without Him I am burnt toast, I am dung.

We must learn from those before us, who as the Hebrew Children, loved this world, loved Egypt, and did not let go. They did not enter into God’s Rest, they were too in love with the world, with Egypt. They were poor warrior who washed up in the desert boot camp. They missed the call to fight because as 1 Cor 10:5 says

with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. …. Paul warns us: Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

Paul said in Phil 3:8 “I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ!
I don’t believe Paul ever took His salvation for granted. He never allowed His life in Jesus to make Him proud or arrogant or self-righteous. He was confident, but only in Jesus Christ and His living in him.

Are you walking before God in humility, in reverence, in Holy fear? Is your confidence solely in Jesus Christ and His righteousness? Or are you living your life as you think best? Are you so in to the world that you would hate for Jesus to come back right now and interrupt your plans?

Are you ready to Let Go the Salt in 2010?

I think this morning the best way we can remember Lot’s Wife is to visually let go of the salt. If you want to get serious with God about living in His Will and walking in His truth, I would like you to come forward and pickup this 50lb salt block and then let it go! Let’s tell God we are serious about living in His will and walking in His Truth! Everything else is Dung. It will all get burnt up-so why are you holding on to it? Do you want to be caught looking back when the Rapture happens? Are you willing to take that chance?

I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna let go the stinky salt!


Remember-Lots-Wife

Jesus tells us to “Remember Lot’s Wife” in Luke 17:32. I remember watching some movie where it shows her looking back longingly on Sodom, and then suddenly turning into a pillar of salt. It was horrifying to a young child. How could God do something like that?

The RaptureWhen Jesus mentions Lot’s wife, it is in context of looking for His return. So does this mean that when Jesus returns and shouts “Come up hither!” that those that look back or say “wait a minute, let me finish this project” or “let me go back and turn off the iron” will not be raptured?

Elder Brother Left BehindI think what it means is that the Rapture, or any Call of God, simply reveals what is in our heart. Millions of people who thought they were believers in Christ will reach over and find their spouse gone. Many deacons will be left behind. Even many pastors. Jesus began this discourse with His response to the Pharisees demand to know when the Kingdom of God would come. Jesus replied that the Kingdom is not something you look for, it is already here, within us.

Surely he did not mean it was within those self-righteous Pharisees. But ANYONE can have the Kingdom of God within their heart! And if you have the Kingdom of God in your heart, it won’t matter when Jesus comes back!

Jesus does tell us that even with the Kingdom in our heart, the days will grow so wicked that we will long to see Him return. There will be false messiah’s, but when the day of Jesus return is here, everyone will know it,  just as we know there is lightning all around us.

Lots WifeJesus tells us to remember Lot’s wife. She lived in wickedness, yet when the time came to leave, she obeyed, but looked back. She was turned into a pillar of salt. That is what Christians are supposed to be to an evil world, salt. So God left her. I doubt that she ended up in a container of Morton’s salt!

Pillar of SaltWhat does this have to do with Elder Brother’s? The Father was pleading with the Elder Brother to see what was really important, becoming alive from the dead (like the prodigal son), and come in to join the feast. The Father was saying, “hey, come enjoy the Kingdom of God, come enjoy fellowship with Me!“, but the Elder Brother was going “what about my field, what about the crops, what about his behavior, what about MY STUFF!”

Elder Brother Left Behind2So the story ends with the Elder Brother being left behind.

Elder Brother’s must stop looking around at the stuff and start looking to the Father. They must stop saying “what about” and start SEEING the Kingdom of God! They must start saying “what about YOUR HEART Father?The Kingdom is NOT in meat and drink and stuff, but it is in the Father, and in His righteousness, His peace, His joy.FaTHER INVITE eLDER BROTHER IN

He calls all Elder Brother’s to COME! Are you looking back like Lot’s wife? Does His CALL reveal the worldliness and selfishness of your heart? Are you so self-focused that you would hate to be interrupted by the RETURN OF JESUS? If so, I hope you like salt.SALT1