Tag Archive | salvation

God is faithful to his Gospel

The Great Tribulation is a time prophesied to occur in the future, where God will pour out His stored-up wrath on the unbelieving world, and onto Israel. The church will have been raptured prior to the beginning of this 7-year period. (Revelation 3:10). The church is not under wrath, but our sins have been forgiven. In us there is no condemnation, that’s why we will be removed beforehand.

The Tribulation is not the general time between His first and second comings where believers will have the promised trials and persecutions. The tribulation is a distinct time referenced as THE Tribulation. It will exist for a set purpose, certain things will happen in an progressive fashion (as prophesied in Revelation 6-18 and elsewhere) and it will cease at its end to usher in a 1000 year kingdom on earth of peace where Jesus walks and reigns with His people. (Revelation 20:2-7, 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8, Daniel 9:24-27, Matthew 24:3-28…)

During this Tribulation, it will be a hell on earth, literally. The abyss is opened and many chained up demons are let out to wreak havoc. (Revelation 9:1-12). It’s a time when God’s 4 sorest judgments will occur. He releases 4 horsemen to have their fill of death and chaos and sin and evil wrought upon the people. It will be a time of punishment, vengeance, retribution, and wrath. Many millions upon billions die. (Revelation 6:8, Revelation 9:15).

Before I get to my main point, let’s turn aside for a comment. People incorrectly view the God of the Bible as a split personality. There’s the God of the Old Testament who is wrathful, and the Jesus of the New Testament who is nice. Jesus “hung out with sinners” and spoke the Beatitudes, after all.

God is God and He changeth not. In the OT He rendered wrath, but He was also compassionate and kind. I can give many examples. He spoke gently to Hagar in the wilderness. He sent angels to feed and comfort Elijah. He answered Habakkuk’s complaints gently. He gave Hannah the son she prayed for. He spoke to Moses as a friend. And so on.

In the NT, God is kind but He is also wrath. Wrath is mentioned many times in the NT. It’s mentioned in Matthew, Luke, John, Romans, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, Hebrews, and most of all, 11 times in Revelation, where Jesus is rendering it or ordering His angels to deliver it. If you read the Jesus of Revelation, there exists no sissified, needy Jesus at all. He never existed. THAT Jesus is a figment of man’s imagination.

Now to the point, despite the horrors of The Tribulation, despite the wrath and death and chaos and sin, God still seeks souls. He saves. He saves many, multitudes one cannot number! They are saved from every language and nation and tribe and tongue! His grace abounds even in wrath.

By what process does He save?

1. His Two Prophets. Their story is contained in a Revelation 11:3-13. Their ministry begins:

And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.

They preach in Jerusalem and according to prophecy, it’s for a set number of days. People will try to kill them. Those who hate the LORD will hate their message of sin and wrath and judgment. But while they are prophesying God’s word on earth during the allotted number of days, nothing can harm them. As a matter of fact, they can spew fire and kill those who try to kill them. (Revelation 11:5). When the allotted number of days is up, they will be successfully killed. (Revelation 11:7). Their bodies will lie in the street for three days, and the world rejoices that their devastating message will have been silenced, or so the world thinks. They are resurrected and ascend to heaven before the world’s astonished face. (Revelation 11:11-12).

The result is that for 1,260 days the world hears two indestructible witnesses preach the everlasting gospel to the world, whether they want it or not.

The 144,000.

Their story is contained in Revelation 7:3-8 and Revelation 14:1-5. God plucks 12,000 from each Jewish Tribe as His firstfruits of Gospel salvation in their Messiah. Though none of the verses explicitly say that the men from the 144,000 evangelize, it’s highly likely that they are agents of the Gospel. The fact that they are chosen, sealed from harm during the judgments indicates that they have work to do. One’s relief and joy in Christ always yields a loosened tongue to proclaim His glories. How much more so in the Wrath? Also, the very next scene after they are saved and sealed, we see multitudes of redeemed from the earth. Imagine 144,000 Apostle Pauls running around, lol. People are going to be saved.

The Three Angels at Midheaven.

Their story is in Revelation 14:6-11, but the first angel in verses 6-7 is the one who proclaims the eternal Gospel to the entire world, every nation, tongue, tribe, and people.  Every. One. Hears.

What a God we serve! He pursues even as He concludes the last moments of His Age.

ecclesiastes

What was the greatest revival ever?

Pentecost yielded 3000 souls. Hallelujah! However, the harvest of souls will be even greater during the Tribulation. (Rev 7:9-10, 13). Hallelujah again!

Was it The Great Awakening? That revival, in three waves, yielded thousands over three waves, (First (c. 1730–1755; Second c. 1790–1840); Third c. 1855–1900), but Jonathan Edwards worried that some of those in the frenzy were simply carried away by emotionalism and societal pressure rather than their own brokenness over sin, marking them as false converts. In response to the very real probability that mixed in with the genuinely converted were many false professors, he wrote The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God.

Revivals have always been plagued by errors in judgment from leaders and participants alike, Edwards warned, and have suffered from the delusions of Satan. Great care and discernment are always the order of the day. ~God’s Spirit or Human Hysteria? My Time Among the Charismatics, by Jeff Robinson. So it’s hard to count that revival’s numbers and thus its effects.

So what was the greatest revival ever? For sure?

It was Nineveh that yielded 600,000 souls for the glory of God. It was and still is the largest harvest God has effected to date. In addition, we know that was a genuine repentance and coming to faith, because first, the Bible said so, and second, the LORD stayed His hand in destroying the city. (Jonah 3:5, 10).

How do we know it was around 600,000 souls when the only number mentioned in regards to Nineveh is 120,000? Jonah 4:11 says,

And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?

‘Not knowing the right hand from the left’ is a Hebrew idiom meaning ‘children’. Children don’t know their right hand from their left. Extrapolating the number of children and assigning them to two parents, historians and theologians estimate the city was populated by about 600,000. Its size also (three days’ walk) indicates a populous, bustling city of this magnitude.

By comparing these revivals at Pentecost, Nineveh, and the Tribulation we can praise God for His continuing and marvelous ongoing work in salvation. We will have lots of company in heaven! As Jonah said, “Salvation belongs to the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9). He will glorify His name by His mighty power to deliver men from the darkness of bondage to sin, speaking life into their dead bones,and resurrecting them to eternal life. Praise the Lord!

salvation lamb

Do you know how fast God can run?

I’m reading through Jeremiah. It’s been about ten years since I read through and so it’s time again. What a blessing God’s word is! I am overfilled and overwhelmed with just the first 11 verses in chapter 1.

And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.” 12Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”

I enjoy the natural history aspects of scripture. As I read verse 11, I stopped to learn more. The first chapter deals with Jeremiah’s call to his fifty-year-plus long prophetic office, almost all of which was difficult, depressing, and discouraging.

The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, opening with the famous line-

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

This is an example of foreordination, where God does not merely react to events on earth, but ordains them from before He created the world. He not only knows the end from the beginning, He authored it, ordained, it and performs it.

I was curious about the linkage of the almond tree with God’s word. What it is about an almond tree that I need to know so I can understand this verse better? How is an almond tree like God’s word? Why is an almond branch being used as a promise from the LORD that He will perform His word?

Spurgeon helped here, preaching an entire sermon on just verse 11. (sermon #2678, THE LESSON OF THE ALMOND TREE)  His sermon is ripe with meaning, insight, and background. It was extremely illuminating.

The almond tree is the first tree to awaken in the winter, hastening to put out leaves and then ripe fruit before any other tree. Spurgeon said that the Hebrew word for almond is wakeful.

Observe, first, that THE ALMOND IS A WAKEFUL TREE. The Hebrew word which is rendered “almond” comes from a root signifying to be wakeful, so this passage might be read thus, “I see the wakeful rod.”

Now, to my question about the linking of the almond tree with God’s word. In the section of his sermon explaining the almond tree with God being quick in performing His promises, Spurgeon said in part,

“Oh, but!” says one, “There are often long delays before peace is enjoyed.” Then it is because you make them, for God does not. “But sometimes we have to wait,” says one. Yes, yes; I know all about that waiting. Do you remember, in the parable of the prodigal son, where he waited? Why, with the harlots and others with whom he wasted his substance in riotous living, or with the swine, when he was feeding them with the husks with which he would gladly have filled his own empty belly. That is where he waited; but when did he end his waiting? When he said, “I will arise and go to my father.” He did not wait any longer, for we read, “And he arose, and came to his father;” and then it is written, “When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him,

and”—”and”—”and”—”and stood still, and waited for him to come”? No, no; I know that God waits to be gracious; but, according to the teaching of that parable, “when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran.” Do you know how fast God can run?

But again I ask, can you tell me how fast God can run? No, you do not know, you cannot tell; but you do know that He is all on fire with love to embrace a poor penitent sinner, and He speeds towards him at an amazing rate. … Swift as the lightning’s flash is the glance of divine compassion that brings life to a penitent soul.

I’ve always been slain and humbled by this fact. In my own conversion, I was in a dire spiritual circumstance, at very rock bottom. My next stop was the pit to be lost forever. At the end of myself, the only place I had to look was up. I was 42 years old, having pursued sin all my life. Yet when I cried out to Him for “help”, He helped me immediately. He didn’t say, ‘Wait, you decades-old sinner.” He did not say “Let me think about it.” I pled for my soul and He answered immediately. He ran!

He is a good God, a just God. I would have deserved my place alongside other sinners in hell. Yet he hastened to fulfill my appeal. Do I know how fast God can run? Yes, I do. I am eternally grateful.

Salvation shall never pass away: art by Chris Powers

Full of Eyes is a support-based ministry of exegetical art that creates still and moving images intended to point people to the beauty of God in the crucified and risen Son. All art and animations are done by Chris Powers. Powers’ goal is to help people see and savor the faith-strengthening, hope-instilling, love-kindling beauty of God in Christ. And he does this by creating free exegetical art in the form of pictures, animations, and discussion guides. His work is at Patreon.com, Youtube, and his website fullofeyes.com

My Salvation Will Be Forever

Isaiah 51:6, “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look to the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner, but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.”

This is one of those simple and yet profoundly beautiful and paradigmatic truths–the vastness and solidity of the heavens will pass away like smoke in the wind, and the depth and strength of the earth will wear out like the knees in my blue jeans. We live in a world of mist. As Paul said, everything that we see around us is transient (2 Cor.4:17-18). And God calls us to remember this, indeed, here in Isaiah the reason for looking at the heavens and earth is precisely to remember that they will not remain. YHWH intends for us to live with the ever present recognition that the world around us is not eternal, it is not forever, it will not always be as it is now, it is passing away.

But….the salvation of YHWH, the righteousness of YHWH–this is everlasting (because He is everlasting), this is sure, this is unshakable and will never pass away.

Oh, to get this into our heads and hearts and imaginations! The world is a tossing surf of change and uncertainty, but the strong rock of YHWH’s Name and Character and of the salvation He works for His people–that is where our hope is to be found, that is where we are to cling and hold and hide and hope. And note also that if the Lord’s salvation is forever, the implication is that those who are saved by this salvation will, in some way, be forever also. This is not a fully developed doctrine of the resurrection and eternal state of new creation (though I think that Isaiah does think in those categories), but it certainly hints in that direction.

And how will the Lord work this everlasting salvation? How will He reveal this never-dismayed righteousness? Through the Suffering Servant, through the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God, the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe because in it the righteousness of God is revealed. The surrounding passages in Isaiah introduce the Servant (50) and move into a foretelling of His suffering, death, and resurrection (52-53), this is how the eternal salvation of God breaks into the transient world of humanity…..And we cling to Him!…..we lay hold of this rock of salvation, this anchor of righteousness and are unmoved…….those who trust in YHWH–who trust in the crucified and risen Son–will sing songs of joy and see visions of beauty long ages after the sun has burned down and Everest has blown away in the wind.

Have you ever been snubbed?

a snub is defined as-

an act of showing disdain or a lack of cordiality by rebuffing or ignoring someone or something.

Did you ever go into a store or pass someone walking or anywhere, and you know they saw you but they refuse to acknowledge you? That’s a snub.

I’m on the spectrum and I accidentally snub people all the time. Sorry. I tend to focus more on inanimate objects than I do on people and I literally don’t see you. Children are an exception. I always see them.

A hilarious quote I read from Kin Hubbard says that “some people are so sensitive they feel snubbed if an epidemic overlooks them.”

Remember the angst in High School when we walked down the hall and saw the boy (or the girl) and desperately hoped for eye contact, acknowledgement, or best of all, personal affirmation. Would he stop, look, chat? Oh, no, he didn’t look! She didn’t see! They rejected me!

It felt horrible and as adults if we care to admit it, it still does. Snubbing and his big brother Rejection are wounds that hurt. We’ve been snubbed when a friend is angry with us, We’ve been rejected by a spouse through adultery. We have been passed over for promotion. We crave affirmation and recognition, but when we’re being ignored through a snub or rejected through anger or hate, it hurts and the hurt takes a long time to heal.

Now bundle all the times you’ve been snubbed, overlooked, and rejected, and magnify that a billion times. Imagine how you might feel at the universe’s worst snub, its highest rejection.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32).

In the first case, the person being rejected thought he was a Christian. He labored, he preached, he rebuked demons. And he was rejected. In a stunning turn of events, the person will receive an eternal rejection to his face, and be banished from glory and the presence of Jesus forever.

In order to ensure that you, dear reader, are not one of those rejected and snubbed, having no place card at the Banquet, test yourself to see if you are in the faith. Is It Real: 11 Biblical Tests of Genuine Salvation can be read here.

In the second case, the person was an outright Christ rejecter. Whether they were a ‘spiritual person’ of another religion, or an atheist, agnostic, or other flavor of rejecter, in turn they will be rejected on the Day. Forever.

This is a hurt and a wound from which one does not ever recover. Make sure you are not rejected on the Day, and repent of your sins. Today is the day of your salvation. Don’t wait, don’t procrastinate. If you’re feeling feel drawn, investigate and examine yourself to see if you pass the test.

 

wise-man

I Love Being a Christian video: Jesus Paid the Price

When you are released from the burden you sense but can’t define, (sin), when you are freed from the chains of slavery to it, when you are forgiven and loved perfectly by The Perfect, you will rejoice, as all Christians do. You will love being a Christian. Repent now, for the kingdom is at hand.

15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

Praise for the Light

Before I was saved I breathed in the air of common grace, grace that is filled with the creation knowledge of Him. It was poison to my lungs. I flopped around like a caught fish on the deck, breathing grace but longing for the murky waters to envelop me once again, the weeds wrapping around my head, because I loved the darkness. (cf Jonah 2:5b)

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:19).

as it is written:

None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
(Romans 3:10)

And yet He loved me, a sinner, and set me upright, washed me, gave me common grace and and added saving grace to my soul.

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.(Romans 8:2).

After salvation I breathe in the sweetness of special grace, the savor of Jesus and His sanctifying work of atonement. The Light came.