Originally posted on :

I often talk about the Christ-less Gospel of Joel Osteen. Whenever people ask me what I mean by that, I always tell them this; Joel Osteen does not talk about the Christian Gospel. Joel does not follow in the footsteps of Paul and share this message

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you,which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve… 1 Corinthians 15:1-5

Rather, the gospel of Joel Osteen, the “good…

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Originally posted on Possessing the Treasure:

by Mike Ratliff

3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:3-4 ESV)

The Epistle of Jude is generally attributed to the half-brother of our Lord Jesus Christ. In v3 we learn that his original intent was to write an epistle on salvation to his recipients. However, he was compelled to write a call to battle for the truth instead.  Why? The church was being infiltrated by some apostate teachers. I hear from so many who attempt to say that God’s plan for the…

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Originally posted on My Word Like Fire:

Now when the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the people of the exile were building a temple to the LORD God of Israel, (Ezra 4:1)

they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of fathers’ households, and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we, like you, seek your God; and we have been sacrificing to Him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us up here.” (Ezra 4:2)

But Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the rest of the heads of fathers’ households of Israel said to them, “You have nothing in common with us in building a house to our God; but we ourselves will together build to the LORD our God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia has commanded us.” (Ezra 4:3)

When the Body of Christ was offered the “good news” (?) of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 Steps, strange…

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Sanctification: A Positive Certainty

J.C. Ryle

He who supposes that Jesus Christ only lived and died and rose again in order to provide justification and forgiveness of sins for His people, has yet much to learn. Whether he knows it or not, he is dishonoring our blessed Lord, and making Him only a half Savior. The Lord Jesus has undertaken everything that His people’s souls require; not only to deliver them from the guilt of their sins by His atoning death, but from the dominion of their sins, by placing in their hearts the Holy Spirit—not only to justify, but also to sanctify them. He is, thus, not only their “righteousness,” but their “sanctification” (1 Cor 1:30). Let us hear what the Bible says: “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified”

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Why I No Longer Speak in Tongues


The main point that I would argue in the paragraphs that follow is that “Tongues” was a gift given by God for a particular time and reason. Once that time and reason passed, Tongues ceased to operate in the Church. This doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit has no function in the Church: He has a very important function, but I do not believe it is “signs and wonders.” I heard a preacher once say that if you got all the Charismatic leaders in the world together on one stage, they couldn’t produce a single sign, except one that’d make you wonder! And the man who said that was a Pentecostal!An argument to which I will appeal a little later on, presented by Conyers Middleton, is that the gift Tongues is the stand-out, or primary gift of the extraordinary charismata. Hence, if they have ceased, then it is only reasonable to conclude the same for the other extraordinary charismata. Therefore, I assert that if the gift of Tongues was a sign gift for a temporary time and purpose, then we are not to seek it today.

Those who would argue that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, hence the gift is for all ages, neglect the clear Scriptural fact that God has often given gifts for a distinctively limited time. Israel ate manna in the wilderness for 40 years, but Joshua 5:12 tells us that the very day after Israel ate the produce of Canaan, the manna ceased forever. In 1 Kings 17, God miraculously increased the oil and flour of the widow until it rained again.

Furthermore, the desire for Tongues, or for that matter any of the extraordinary charismata, neglects the true work of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Many people don’t have a clear idea of the Spirit’s work, thus the Pentecostal argument seems at least plausible

Another thing I want to assert right from the beginning is this: As a former Pentecostal, I am not being simply reactionary. I am not throwing out the baby with the bath water. I am not, upon seeing fraudulent gifts, making an unwarranted leap to the conclusion that there are no real gifts. It seems to me that each generation has to relearn these things. There would be no Arminianism had people learned from the Pelagian/Augustinian debate. I talk with people all the time who are completely unaware that these issues were dealt with in more than sufficient detail by the Fathers, the Reformers, and the Puritans, never mind men closer to our own age. I repeat: Cessationism is not throwing out the baby with the bath water. In fact, I would assert that Pentecostalism is throwing out the baby and keeping the bath water. Why do I say that? Well for starters, Tongues was a sign gift. You don’t need to take my word for it. Jesus Himself called Tongues a sign. Mark 16:17, Jesus said, “These signs…” (This word is sometimes translated “miracle”). “These signs [these sign miracles] shall follow them that believe.” And part of the text says, “In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.” It is a sign miracle. Then Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:22, “Tongues are for a sign.”

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“Emmanuel” — God is with us! 


By Pastor Larry DeBruyn


The mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.(Colossians 1:26-27, NASB) 

Among evangelicals there’s a lot of chatter and publicity about seeking “the manifest presence of God.” For example, some musicians, singers and worship leaders boldly claim that their music can escort listeners “through the door of worship, right into the heart and presence of God.”[1] Christian worshippers are classified as “inner court, outer court, or holy of holies Christians, each one needing a certain period of time to come into the manifest presence of God.”[2] So it becomes incumbent upon the worship team to lead congregants into the divine dimension. In this regard, there are even congregations who name themselves Church of the Presence.

Other evangelicals talk about “practicing the presence,” perhaps by employing mood music, cultivating solitude and silence, or practicing other spiritual disciplines to experience it. Often spelled with an upper case “P,” masses of evangelical Christians are passionateabout experiencing Jesus’ Presence, that somehow in an exciting new way God will speak to them. In his newly published book, “Another Jesus” Calling: How False Christs Are Entering the Church Through Contemplative Prayer,[3] Warren Smith points out that, in her best-selling evangelical book Jesus Calling (Thomas Nelson, 2004),[4] Sarah Young uses “The word ‘Presence’… more than 365 times….” He notes further that, “the term [presence] is also commonly used in New Age/New Spirituality.”[5]

In light of all the talk going on about contemplating or experiencing God’s presence, biblical Christians ought to know something of what Scripture teaches about God’s presence so that His Word can inform us whether the experiences of it ought to be embraced or shunned, whether they are authentic or synthetic, or worse, demonic.

The Bible and the Presence 
The subject of the presence of God in heaven with people on earth is the storyline of the Bible from Genesis thru Revelation. The holy, transcendent and infinite God of the universe desires to become known by and to fellowship with finite and sinful people on earth. As recorded in Scripture, the first mention of His stated presence commences with Adam and Eve in the first book of the Bible, when after they had sinned and heard God walking in the garden, they “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8), and consummates in the last book when a voice declares: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them” (Revelation 21:3). So in defining God’s presence, the Bible must be our guide.

God’s Presence—He’s Far and Near 
In knowing about God’s presence, both His transcendence and immanence must be understood with both of the divine attributes being held in tension with each other. The tension, like a rubber band, can be stretched but it must not break. By God’s transcendence it is meant that He is distant, “that God is separate from and independent of nature and humanity.”[6] In other words, He is not present. By God’s immanence it is meant that He is near, that God is present and active “within nature, human nature, and history.”[7] In other words, He is present.

In his dedicatory prayer for the Temple, Solomon exclaimed, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee, how much less this house which I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27) In his prayer Solomon pleads with God from earth that He “would hear in heaven” (1 Kings 8:30, 32, 34, 36, 39, 43, 45, 49). In heaven, God is transcendent. Yet, upon that prayer’s completion, the cloud of the glory of the Lord’s presence came to fill the Temple (2 Chronicles 7:1-3; Compare 1 Kings 8:11.). As the occasion of Solomon’s dedicatory prayer indicates, God’s farness and nearness were balanced. Yet some would break the band.

For example, exaggeration of God’s farness ends in deism, the view of God which distances Him so far from history that there arises the perception that He doesn’t care about what happens on earth, that He may not be good and loving. On earth, we’re left to go it alone. Amidst life’s trials, conflicts, pain and vicissitudes, we can expect no help from heaven. God is too far removed to care, let alone help. God is an outsider. He’s not a prayer away! A deistic God reminds me of the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley (1849-1902) which in part reads,

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
My head is bloody, but unbowed. 
I am the master of my fate: 
I am the captain of my soul.[8]

Yet in the opposite direction, exaggeration of the nearness of God ends in pantheism, the view of God which places Him so within the structure of time, matter and space that He becomes subject to those dimensions. While this God is everything, He controls nothing. Because He is part of the very process of nature (i.e., process theology and open theism), He is not sovereign. This thinking envisions God to be finite, like one of us. He’s as much a victim of life’s circumstances as we are. He is so infused into the world that He can no longer control it. As the lyrics of one song ask, “What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us….”[9] Pantheism says, “He totally is!” God is an insider—inside everything, inside of us. 

In the deistic worldview and for reason of His farness, God won’t help. In the pantheistic worldview and for reason of His nearness, God can’t help. Yet God’s disclosure of Himself in Holy Scripture describes that He is at the same time both near and far, both present and “un-present.” You may argue with the antinomy, but that is how the biblical writers describe God. As the holy creator of the universe, God is distantly transcendent. Yet the distant One has brought Himself near in the redemptive events of human history which climaxed in the incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension into heaven of the Lord Jesus Christ. So when thinking about God’s immanence, we are really acknowledging there’s a sense in which He is present.

The Biblical Meaning of Presence 
In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for “face” (pānîm) and in the New Testament the Greek words translated “before” (prosopon or enopion) define the meaning of being in God’s presence[10]; as for example, when Adam and Eve “hid themselves from the presence (pānîm) of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8), of Jesus Christ who now is “in the presence (prosopon) of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24; See Hebrews 10:19-22.), and of the angel who told Zacharias, “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence (enopion) of God” (Luke 1:19). In the Bible, being in God’s presence implies personal interaction with Him. As the English word’s occurrence in the Bible indicates, the condition of being in God’s presence finds greater mention in the Old Testament than in the New, and that, as shall be explained later, for good reason. But to discover what it meant to experience God’s presence, whether as individuals or a group, we begin with the beginning. But in doing so, let it be stated that the study of God’s manifest presence is profound. So we begin with the profoundest sense of it.

God’s Omnipresence 
Of course, any consideration of “the presence” of God must begin with understanding His omnipresence—the divine attribute that God is everywhere present and with His whole being at all times.”[11] As the Psalmist asked, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Psalm 139:7) In our reality, there’s no where to run and no place to hide from God. So there’s a sense in which there’s no need to seek a presence that’s already here!

Yet the hallmark of rebellious (like Jonah, Jonah 1:3, 10) and wicked (like those described by Isaiah, Isaiah 29:15) people is their desire to flee and hide from God’s presence. They think that in this reality there’s a dark place where somehow God will be incognizant of them. But Scripture reminds us that’s what hell will be like. In addition to other discomforts, hell will be a sphere of existence, another dimension, in which unrepentant and unbelieving persons will “be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence [Greek, prosopon] of the Lord, and from the glory of His power (Emphasis added, 2 Thessalonians 1:9). Of hell, God will self-limit both His omnipresence and omnipotence. He will not be able to help people in hell because He will not be there. This will be the end for all who captained their own souls.

This statement by the Apostle Paul ends the discussion regarding the derisive question scorners of the Christian faith often ask: Do you think God is in hell? According to the apostle, He isn’t. God, by an act of His own will limits Himself from being there, and the restriction is just. The wicked did not want God’s presence in this life (they tried to hide from Him), so why should they want God’s presence in life to come? Thus God gives them over to what they want. Forever He removes His presence from them! So don’t look for God to be in hell. He won’t be there. He’s not in Hades (the jail) now and He won’t be in hell (the prison) then.

God’s Presence—in Particular 
But there’s another sense to the word presence in Scripture; that there is a “particular and personal presence” of God. By stating this, I am not suggesting that God’s omnipresence is not personal. It is. For if His presence is not personal, then it’s impersonal which thereby inferences that His presence not only permeates space, but also matter and time. But Scripture does not teach that God omni-permeates everything. God is not in matter because He created it separate from Himself (See Genesis 1:1; Romans 1:19-23.). As Creator, He is Holy.[12]

God’s Presence—in Paradise
The storyline of God making His presence known in the world begins with the description of His creation of it and its inhabitants (Genesis 1:1ff.), and then of how God communed with Adam and Eve. They lived in God’s presence. But what they lived they lost. They disobeyed God and consequently, attempted to hide themselves from His presence of God, from their personal fellowship with Him. They experienced “alienation and conflict” first with God, and then with each other as they “covered” themselves and argued as to who was to blame for the lost bliss (Genesis 3:8-13). The point: sin hinders anyone from experiencing God’s presence (See Isaiah 6:1-6.). When we sin our natural instinct is to hide from God. So how can people who are alienated from God by their sin (that’s all of us) experience His presence, both in this life and life to come? (See 2 Thessalonians 1:9.). The whole Bible is the historical record of and commentary on God manifesting His presence to humanity, both as to the barrier of it and the way to overcome the barrier.

God’s Presence—Patriarchs and Kings 
Can we experience God’s presence by means of mystic contemplation, our initiative, our spiritual disciplines, or the self-conditioning of our soul to commune with His? Or do we enter God’s presence via the Cross, God’s initiative, His grace, as the Holy Spirit links us to Him? For true believers, the answer is obvious. As illustrated by Adam and Eve, the “presence” of God becomes a game of “hide and seek.” We hide and God seeks! The whole of Scripture provides commentary to this point; that God initiates the experience of His presence (via the Word and the witness of the Holy Spirit), and either we respond to Him or we do not. After Adam and Eve, the storyline of God’s presence continues. He banished Cain from His presence (he went out from the presence of the Lord, Genesis 4:16). He was present with Enoch (Genesis 3:22, 24), with Noah (Genesis 6:9), with Abraham (Genesis 21:22), with Jacob (Genesis 28:15), with Joseph (Genesis 39:2) with Moses (Exodus 3:12), with Joshua (Joshua 1:5), with Gideon (Judges 6:12), with David (1 Samuel 18:14), with Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:7), and more. In all of these instances, God was present by providence. His presence was manifested, even mediated, but it was not meditated.

God’s Presence—Israel 
“With” Israel 
Having begun with Abraham and continued with patriarchs, kings and others, God made His presence known to Israel for reason of His choice of that nation (Deuteronomy 7:6). God was with Moses and at the Exodus His presence led Israel out of Egypt and during her wilderness journeys, with the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22). To make His presence further known, God instructed the nation through Moses to build a Tabernacle for the habitation of His glory, in the Holy of Holies, on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant beneath and between the covering Cherubim (Exodus 25:8-9; Numbers 7:89). During Israel’s wilderness journey, God also provided His people with daily food thereby manifesting His presence (Psalm 78:23-24). God led Israel to the Promised Land, to that particular geographical location on this planet known by the prophets as His land (“My Land,” Jeremiah 2:7).

In that place and to those people, God would further make Himself known. He chose Jerusalem as His city and Zion as His holy mount upon which His Temple was to be built (Deuteronomy 12:5; Zechariah 8:1-3).[13] That Temple, built by Solomon, the Lord filled with His presence (2 Chronicles 5:13b-14).). The Shekinah glory (Shekinah derives from the Hebrew word “dwell’—shakan—and thus refers to God’s dwelling presence.), signifying the divine presence, dwelt there 24/7. Yahweh dwelt amidst Israel in the Holy of Holies into which only Israel’s high priest was allowed to enter once a year to offer a goat’s blood for the sins of the nation before the cloud of His presence (Leviticus 16:1-34). (The cloud kept the dwelling glory on the ark from blinding the high priest.) The access into the Holy of Holies was extremely limited to remind the nation that though Yahweh was with them (immanence), He was separate from them (transcendence).

“From” Israel 
But it came about that the people of Israel did not adore the holiness of the Lord and His presence. By their sinful behavior they profaned His name (Ezekiel 20:13-14). As Isaiah records, “For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deed are against the Lord, defying His glorious presence (Emphasis added, Isaiah 3:8, ESV). So the Lord’s judgment upon the defiant people could take one of two courses. Either He could remove His presence from them, or remove them from His presence. He chose both. For seventy years He sent Judah back to Babylon, to the very idolatrous place from which He had extracted Abraham fifteen centuries before, and He withdrew His glorious presence from the Solomon’s Temple (Ezekiel 1:28; 10:4, 18; 11:23). Of the contrast between Ezekiel’s visions in chapters one and ten, Stuart comments that, “It links indisputably the departure of the glory from the temple… so that no reader can miss the point that as part of His judgment God Himself is actually now abandoning the place where He was once worshipped.”[14]

But having withdrawn His glory from Israel, the day would come when, in the person of His dear Son, He would offer it to the Jews again. But before we come to that offering of the divine presence, first offered in the person of Jesus Christ and then in the Holy Spirit, I am compelled to say something about “meditating-down” the presence God.

God’s Presence—the Silence 
After removing His presence from the Temple (Ezekiel 1:28; 10:4, 18; 11:23) and with the death of Malachi (circa 5th Century BC), the Lord no longer personally spoke to Israel. So in that void (they couldn’t stand the silence), Jews like Saul, may have “inquired of the Lord, [but] the Lord did not answer [them] either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets” (1 Samuel 28:6, NASB).[15] In short, they no longer had any sense of the divine presence with them. From the time of Ezekiel and with the death of Malachi, that had been lost. So what would they do? They chose to compensate for the loss by attempting to conjure-up a divine presence, even as they had attempted to do while the Lord’s glory dwelt in the Temple (Isaiah 2:6).

One of the means they employed was mystical meditation, a primitive type of spirituality called Merkabah (circa 100 BCE—1000 CE), the progenitor of the later Jewish mysticism called Kabbalah (literal Hebrew meaning receiving tradition) which began to be streamed into Judaism during the 12th -13th centuries. Leaving aside the whole subject of Kabbalah, which has many adherents, both within and without Judaism, we need to note the rise of its predecessor, Merkabah (literally known as “chariot mysticism”).

Sometime during the Intertestamental Period, the four centuries of prophetic silence between Malachi’s death and John the Baptist’s birth, “Chariot Mysticism” (Merkabah) arose, perhaps owing its name to Ezekiel’s experience of the heavenly vision (Ezekiel 1:1-28) combined with the record of Elijah being taken to heaven by chariots (2 Kings 2:11-12). So if Jews wanted to experience the divine presence, they like Ezekiel could meditate themselves into a visionary state and like Elijah get a “chariot ride” to heaven. The point: Merkabah arose at a dark time in the history of the Jews when the nation lived only in the shadows of the glorious presence which had been removed from the national life of that people. Israel hungered after some sense of the divine presence because in judgment God had withdrawn it from them. So with that absence, Judea became a wasteland of spiritual seekers after a word from God. Occult activity—paranormal, psychological and mystical—thrives when the Word of God is ignored or lost and as a consequence, the sense of God’s presence dies. But God who is ever faithful would return the light of His presence to the Jews. Enter Messiah, Christ Jesus the Lord! As Isaiah prophesied, “The people that walked in darkness [would see] a great light” (Isaiah 9:26; Compare Matthew 4:11).

God’s Presence—Among Us 

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt [Greek, skenoo, i.e., “tabernacled”] among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth”
(John 1:14, KJV) 

Of this verse, Carson comments:

[T]he Word pitched his tabernacle, or lived in his tent, amongst us… the tabernacle where God met with Israel before the temple was built… God has chosen to dwell amongst his people in yet a more personal way, in the Word-become-flesh.[16]

Need anything more be said about the meaning of Christmas—“Emmanuel,” God with us? (Isaiah 7:14) In the person of the Lord Jesus, the greatest present of Christmas is His presence. As Charles Wesley wrote a Christmas hymn: “Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.”[17]

But the Jews rejected that divine presence too. John tersely records that, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not” (John 1:11). But before the rejection of His crucifixion, The-Word-Made-Flesh (Philippians 2:6-9) prayed for and made a promise to His disciples.

God’s Presence—Jesus’ Prayers
At this juncture of the biblical history of God’s presence, we are introduced to the subject of the Lord’s permanent presence in and with Christian believers, to the spiritual union they have with Him and the Father through the Spirit. This relationship is one that believers not only share in Christ but also with each other in His body, the church. Individual believers are one in Jesus and His Father. This condition of being “unionized” with the Lord is one of the profoundest spiritual conditions we could ever contemplate (in a good way) during this life, yet it mainly goes unnoticed by many if not most of the Lord’s people. And furthermore, it’s a union which is appropriated by faith. (Confession: To my shame, my union in Christ by grace through faith was unknown to me during the formative years of my Christian life. I do not remember hearing about it, but if I did, I was, because of my own carnality, insensitive to the teaching of it.) But Jesus both prayed for and predicted our spiritual union with Him through the Holy Spirit. The divine presence of being in union with Yahweh was unknown to believers living under the Old Covenant, but it should be known to us. We can observe it when listening in on Jesus’ prayers:

I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you
(Emphasis added, John 14:16-17). 
Neither pray I for these alone [His followers then], but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word [His followers now—that’s us]; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in Me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us…. And the glory [His participation in our lives] which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me….”
(Emphasis added, John 17:20-23) 

God’s Presence—Jesus’ Promise 
Jesus promised that He would not leave His disciples to be orphans in the world after He departed. He would not abandon them. He promised to send to them another Comforter to be as equally present with them as He had been; the marvelous difference being that while Jesus had been present with the disciples, the Spirit of Christ would be present in them! The time of the Spirit’s indwelling presence however, would not come before Jesus’ glorification—that is, until after His resurrection and ascension into heaven. Then Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter or Paraclete, to be His proxy presence. Through the Holy Spirit who proceeded from Him and the Father (John 15:26, “whom I will send unto you from the Father”),[18] the Lord Jesus Christ would abundantly infuse His presence into the lives of those who by faith belonged to Him, both individually and collectively. As Jesus stated and John interpreted:

“In the last day, that great day of the feast [The Feast of Tabernacles], Jesus stood and cried, saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.’ (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:37-39). 

That coming of His presence Jesus did not compare to a well, a creek or a stream, but to rivers of living water(plural), the supply of which might be compared to the Mississippi River and all its tributaries. But unlike the Mississippi, His divine presence would not be polluted, but pure—it would be living water.

Questions: Why are Christians seeking a divine presence that Jesus promised would abundantly flow in them? What is it that some Christians are seeking after that the Spirit of Christ does not already supply? Why do they need another voice, another visitation, or another vision? Why are some people unthankfully desirous of “something more” than what in God has already given to us? Why is it that some Christians, in the depth of their souls, are not seemingly at rest? (See Hebrews 4:9-10.) 

God’s Presence—Pentecost
To return to God’s abundant supply, Acts records that in fulfillment of John the Baptist’s prediction (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33) and Jesus’ promise (Acts 1:5), the Holy Spirit descended upon the Pentecost crowd to dwell with them and in them. Even though a mixed mob of people, Jew and Gentile, had rejected and crucified the Lord of Glory, in His goodness the Lord offered to them His presence again as He came to dwell not just with them, but in them, both individually (as saints) and corporately (as the church). As such, the divine presence with people would no longer be associated, as during the Old Testament Era, with a place (i.e., a land, a city, a mount, and a building), but in a collective group of people, the Church, which would be spread over the whole planet (John 4:21-24; Acts 2:1-4; 11:16; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). And this indwelling presence of the Spirit of Christ will never be withdrawn from those who approach God by repenting of their sin(s), placing their faith in Jesus’ atonement for their sin(s) and believing his resurrection from the dead (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10).

The point: Under God’s Old Covenant administration over Israel (originally, it was a theocracy, but by popular demand with Saul, became a monarchy), His personal presence was provisionally with Israel, but with the establishment and commencement of Jesus’ New Covenant (Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23), His presence is permanently in believers who constitute His Body, the Church.

This constitutional presence however, does not include the institutional church which supposes that via the administration of sacraments, invocations, baptisms, altar calls, music, smells and bells and other rites and ceremonies, the divine presence can manipulated down from heaven to infuse the church and its congregants. The common elements of the Eucharistic bread and cup do not become a divinized presence of Christ (transubstantiation). In an alchemical way, the materiality of the bread and cup do not morph to become divine, which divinity is then distributed to the Eucharistic participants. Neither in an exceptional way does Christ’s presence hang around the communion elements (consubstantiation). The Lord’s Supper memorializes and remembers Christ’s death for our sins, and that is all, though observance of the rite is serious for the spiritual life of any congregation. Believers, not the Eucharistic bread and cup, are the “hosts” of Christ’s presence. That is how the New Testament states it to be. The Spirit of Christ lives in people. Above all else, Christians are the people of Christ’s presence.

This presence is real and abiding. Christ dwells in believers. This is “the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). In Christ, the Holy Spirit, who “is the earnest [down payment] of our inheritance,” has “sealed” [stamped] us “until the redemption of the purchased possession [our persons]” (Ephesians 1:13-14). Our eternal destiny involves His presence until the completion of our redemption. As Jesus told His disciples, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). Although Jesus would no longer be physically present with His faithful followers, the Spirit, whom He would send to take His place, would, and by faith we have that presence NOW! The Spirit of Christ is both with us and in us! (Romans 8:9b) Hebrews tells the people of the promise, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

Question: Of this pledged-permanent presence, I would ask, “How can we meditate or contemplate ourselves into it?” The answer is, “We can’t!” By faith God gives it (Galatians 3:2). For this reason, I never pray for the Lord to be “with” me. He already is! 

God’s Presence—the Parousia 
But even as personal as His spiritual presence is to us now, Jesus’ physical presence will be manifested in the future. This presence will be revealed not only at the time of His Second Coming, but before that, to believers when they are translated to be with Him.

“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming [parousia] of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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: 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

(1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). 

The “coming” of the Lord Jesus is to be understood as “His presence” again. In the New Testament three nouns describe Jesus’ return—“coming (parousia)… appearing (epiphaneia)… and revelation (apokalupsis).”[19] The first word, parousia, means “presence… Jesus’ personal presence on earth again.” Jesus’ coming again to this earth, as with His birth, will be in glory (Compare Luke 2:9; Matthew 24:29-30.). We’ll call it His shining, the Shekinah of His Second Coming, the visage of which, except for instances at His birth (Luke 2:9) and transfiguration (Matthew17:2), was veiled from the sight of those who saw Jesus in His humility. Oh, and by the way, when He comes in His Shekinah, believers shall shine with Him! (See Colossians 3:4.)

Two witnesses in white told the disciples at the time of His ascension, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Just as Emmanuel was present at the first Christmas, so shall Emmanuel be present when He comes again, a demonstrable and invasive presence which, in history at the end of this age, no man will be able to deny, control or manipulate. Maranatha! O Lord, come! (1 Corinthians 16:22) The time of His coming physical presence has been set by the Father (Acts 1:7), and we believers shall not experience it (though now we live, move about and have our being in His spiritual presence) until body, soul and spirit we are “caught up” to Him (i.e., translated or raptured, 1 Thessalonians 4:17), or die, temporarily leaving our bodies until we are reunited with a resurrected version of them (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54).

God’s Presence—at the Believer’s Death

“We are confident, I say,
and willing rather to be absent from the body,
and to be present with the Lord”

(Emphasis added, 2 Corinthians 5:8). 

For believers, “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:23). As is noticeable in the text just cited, the equating verbs are italicized (meaning they’re not in the Greek text, but rather supplied) and present tense. Paul’s picture of our life and death (absent the verb is) is that the life of Christ and the lives of believers are so coalesced together so as to be almost synonymous. I say almost, because Christ remains Christ even as we remain human.[20] Nevertheless, the Christian has no identity crisis. We are in Christ, and He is in us. The resurrection life all true believers possess from the point of regeneration (John 3:7) to glorification resides in continuum in this life, through death and into eternity (Romans 8). So in facing our end, we must realize that because life is Christ, death just means more of Him, more of His presence. As John Gamble (1711-1771) poetically stated:

And when I’m to die, 
“Receive me,” I’ll cry, 
For Jesus hath loved me, 
I cannot say why. 
But this I do find, 
We two are so joined, 
He’ll not live in glory and leave me behind.[21]

Applications: Christ’s Presence 
By way of review and summary, allow these applications regarding the presence of Christ to be made.

His Promised Presence 
We can bank on Jesus’ presence. He guaranteed its continuation to His disciples throughout this evil age until He physically returns to this earth again. After His resurrection He told His disciples, “Lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). He would extend His presence with His followers until “the end of the age” (NASB). Earlier in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus set the sequence of two ages. First, the present evil age began with the fall of man in Eden and will end when Messiah reigns on earth, which is the age to come (See Matthew 12:32.). In other words, Jesus promised His disciples His spiritual presence for the duration the present time period before the “age to come” commences. As his disciple-apostles knew and wrote about, The Parousia, when He physically comes to earth again, will mark the end of this age, and parousia is a Greek word which means “presence” (Matthew 24:3b). At that time people will no more need to seek His physical then than they have to seek His spiritual presence now because Jesus Christ dwells in/with every believer.

The only persons He is not spiritually in/with during his present evil age are unbelievers. As Paul wrote the Romans, “But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” (Romans 8:9b). According to His promise, His presence is present in/with them already, that is, if they’re believers. So why are some Christians so intent on seeking a divine presence that’s already present? 

His Proactive Presence 
Jesus’ presence arrives to and arises in our hearts for reason of God’s pro-action for us and in us, by His grace. His presence is by His choice and according to His conditions. Before the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son to reside in us, there is not, as new spiritualists commonly believe, a dormant Christ or Buddha spirit that perennially resides in everybody, merely awaiting an awakening unto divinization. For example, Eckhart Tolle, a bestselling author whose writings Oprah Winfrey highly recommends, teaches that all humanity is indwelt by an immanent Christ-spirit. He has stated: “Jesus speaks of the innermost I am, the essence identity of every man and woman…. Some Christian mystics have called it the Christ within.”[22] The Christian union with Christ is not like that. It’s neither universal nor perennial.

As the High Priest could only enter the presence of the Lord in the Holy of Holies once a year through the blood of the sacrificed goat (Leviticus 16:1ff.), so the Spirit of Christ comes to be present in individuals who trust that the blood of God’s sacrificed Lamb Jesus will make them fit for divine habitation (1 John 2:2). Only through the blood of Jesus Christ do persons become fit hosts for His presence. The error of the new spirituality is that it assumes that God’s presence can be ginned-up via the exercise of human passion. But Scougal reminds that this union with the Lord “is not a sudden start or passion of the mind, even if it should rise to the height of a rapture and seem to transport a man to extraordinary performances.”[23]

Rather, Jesus’ presence in us depends upon our acceptance of His propitiation for us—that He died for our sins to make us fit vessels to be in (Romans 6:3-11). Christ graces sinners with His presence when by faith they receive the cleansing that can only come through His blood and new birth from above (John 3:3, 7). The divine presence descends to us (John 3:13). Unlike mystic spirituality, we do not ascend to it. Jesus illustrated that the presence of the Spirit may be compared to a wind which blows upon the human soul (John 3:8), and we can no more control the presence of the Spirit than we can control the wind or the weather. As such, union with Christ cannot be activated or initiated by mystic disciplines or rituals, but only cultivated. Union with Christ is reactive and interactive. God initiates, we respond. As to this important distinction, A.J. Gordon (1836-1895) wrote that,

The method of grace is precisely the reverse of the method of legalism. The latter is holiness in order to union with God; the former, union with God in order to holiness.[24]

We do not get at this union via the legalism of our own works or by engaging in rituals called “spiritual disciplines.” This union with Christ comes to all believers for reason of Holy Spirit baptism whereby they are “union-ed” with Christ and with one another (1 Corinthians 12:13). In the aftermath of the Spirit’s baptism, communion with the indwelling Spirit of Christ can be facilitated via our Bible reading (the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit do testify concerning Christ, John 5:39; 15:26), meditation on Scripture, prayer, witnessing, singing “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” in our hearts and to each other, being thankful, submitting to one another, corporate worship, observing the Lord’s Table, and so forth (Acts 13:48-52; Ephesians 5:18-21).

His Personal Presence 
Employed hundreds of times by the Apostle Paul in his epistles, no phrase bespeaks the infusion of divine life into a human soul more than the little phrase “in Christ.” “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17a). The uniting of our soul to Christ is personal and intimate. The little prepositional phrase communicates both our union and communion in Christ. To again cite Henry Scougal (1650-1678):

True religion is a union of the soul with God, a real participation in the divine nature, the very image of God drawn upon the soul. In the apostle’s words, it is ‘Christ formed in you’.[25]

His Protective Presence
Christ protects us. When musing, in a good way meditating, on that little prepositional phrase “in Christ,” our tendency might be to compare our standing/state to a circle inside of which we are in/with Him. As such, the circle, much as “the city limits” might define those who are citizens a certain municipality, defines those who are in Christ’s presence. But A.T. Pierson (1837-1911) suggested “in Christ” might better picture a sphere than a circle; that the believer’s protection in God is impenetrably around, above and below. Literally, through death and until the resurrection of the body, the believer’s being is cocooned in Christ. Pierson explained:

A circle surrounds us, but only on one plane; but a sphere encompasses, envelopes us, surrounding us in every direction and on every plane…. Moreover, the sphere that surrounds you also separates you from whatever is outside of it. Again, in proportion as such a sphere is strong it also protects whatever is within it from all that is without—from all external foes or perils.[26]

His Permanent Presence
Once we’re sealed into this union, it’s effective for the rest of this life, through death, with the resurrection of the body, by our appearing with Him in the glory of His second coming, and into eternity. We are “sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13b-14, NASB). “For [we] have died and [our] life is hidden with Christ in God [and] When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then [we] also will be revealed with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:3-4). We are identified with Christ (“baptized into Christ”) in His death (Romans 6:3b, 5a), His burial (Romans 6:4a), His resurrection (Romans 6:4b, 5b), His ascension (Ephesians 2:6b) and coming glorification before this world (1 John 3:2). As Holloman writes, “The identification of believers with Christ and Christ with believers though the Holy Spirit in a dynamic, permanent spiritual relationship.”[27] These poetic words, written by Horatius Bonar (1808-1889), portray what it means to be in God’s presence for reason of our being “in Christ.”

A Mind at Perfect Peace 
So near, so very near to God, 
I cannot nearer be;
 For in the person of His Son, 
I am as near as He. 

We began this writing by citing evangelical Christians who are in the mood of trying to experience the divine presence. Seemingly, they want to “feel” their way into it. Yet, the Bible teaches that the experience of God’s presence in our lives depends upon His initiating His work both for us and in us. We can no more experience God’s presence that we can resurrect ourselves from the dead or seat ourselves with Him in heaven (Ephesians 2:1-10). This wonderful union can only be appropriated by objective faith, not by subjective feelings.

Yet pervasive throughout our erotic and pantheistic culture—and even creeping into the evangelical church—there resides the existential notion that, as Oprah Winfrey put it, “God is a feeling-experience, not a believing-experience!”[28] This idea of “God-as-feeling” results from believing that God exists more immanently below than transcendently above. As such, belief in divine immanence eclipses belief in His divine transcendence, or as Francis Schaeffer put it, “nature eats up grace.” That being the case, then the only request that can made of a god like this—we might call him his immanence—is not “Help me!” but “Thrill me!”[29] God is no longer sovereign, but sensational as the spiritual life comes to rely upon human passions rather than divine providence. Is “the faith” (Jude 3) now being thrown into an existential dump by many Christians? I think that, if the culture and church give any indication (Wag the dog!), this is the case.

Think of how often in association with experiencing God’s presence or purpose the attendant buzz words “passion” or “passionate” are uttered. It’s as if the realization of His presence and purpose depends upon passions we arouse in and among ourselves. If so, then maybe Pentecost was just a first “passion conference.” But then Pentecost could neither be worked down from above to below or worked up from below to above. The inauguration of the Church came not for reason of the passions of people, but for reason of the promise and providence of Almighty God through the baptism/filling of the Holy Spirit. Oh, Praise His Holy Name!

A major seminary hosted a conference last fall (2013) dealing with God’s presence. The website that advertised the conference contains this statement by Gary Pratico.

The theology of divine presence is profoundly simple and yet it is simply profound. It is a topic of inquiry at the highest level of scholarship but, more importantly, it is a promise for everyday life and living. The reality of God’s redemptive, sustaining presence in our lives is our source of hope, consolation and joy amidst the victories and trials of life. We don’t have to ‘go it’ alone; he is with us. He is our Emmanuel.[30]

Though biblical in so far as it goes, Pratico’s statement is deficient in one major aspect. Not only is God “with” us, but under terms of the New Covenant, He’s “in” us! He’s present in/with us at all times and through all the experiences of life, death and eternity. That is why the Lord Jesus described His gift to believers as “eternal life” (John 3:15, 16, 36; 6:40; 10:28; 17:2-3). In continuum, the Lord’s presence resides with/in believers from now into eternity, and His presence we cultivate through faith in God’s Word, not through ascetical practices or devotional invocations.

Christ Liveth In Me 
By Daniel Whittle (1840-1901) 
As lives the flower within the seed, As in the cone the tree, 
So, praise the God of truth and grace, His Spirit dwelleth in me. 
Christ liveth in me, Christ liveth in me; 
Oh, what a salvation this, That Christ liveth in me.[31]

“Emmanuel”—Christ is in us, the hope of glory!


Footnotes can be found at Herescope


Garage Sale God Whispers, Twice Dead, and the Name of Jesus Ignored

At times it can be easy to forget the depth of deception that exists among professing Christians. Those of us who are blessed to be in churches where the Word is proclaimed without compromise can forget what it was like to be starving for truth and spiritual meat. Yes, we see many concerning things on the Internet and lament and decry theses deceptions. Perhaps we even speak out against them on social media. But Twitter, Facebook and blogs are not real, tangible life and it is not until ‘real life’ is standing and talking to you in your driveway that you remember just how active is the Great Deceiver.Last month, this ‘real life’ confronted me in my driveway as I engaged several individuals in conversation during the neighborhood garage sale. There were a few ‘Christian themed’ items in our sale and this inevitably invited conversation. I live in a fairly religious-minded area, so folks usually are open to at least talking about God. The name of Jesus, however, doesn’t fall from their lips so easily. And of course, the big mystery always is—to which God are they referring?One of these interesting encounters was with a gentleman who clearly was caught up in charismaticism. I do not recall exactly how the conversation started, but at one point he declared, “Well, God just told me to leave my church.”Okay. “So, what do you mean that ‘God told you to leave your church’? Were there things going on there that didn’t line up with Scripture? Is that how you knew it was time to leave?” Of course, I already suspected the answer to the question, but did not want to presume.

He answered,

Click HERE to finish article.

Originally posted on Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr.:

What-Happens-After-Death-1024x585There is a significant amount of confusion regarding what happens after death.  The existence of life after death is a universal question.  Job asked God, “If a man dies, will he live again?” (Job 14:14).  Like Job, all of us have been challenged by this question.  What exactly does the Bible says happens after we die?  Does everyone go to the same place or do we go to different places?  Is there really a heaven and hell?

Christ most certainly affirms there is an afterlife in a number of biblical passages.  The Bible says there is not only life after death, but eternal life so glorious that “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).  Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came to earth to give us this gift…

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The Bible’s Clear Condemnation of Homosexuality — J. Ligon Duncan

“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” – Romans 1:26-27


J. Ligon Duncan IIIPaul himself in this passage makes it very clear that what he is saying about homosexuality is, in fact, based upon the Old Testament Law. And especially Leviticus, chapter 18, and Leviticus, chapter 20. But Paul doesn’t say, you know, that unbiblical. What he says is, it’s unnatural. What does he mean by that? He means a lot of things by that, but he means at least this.

He means first of all that you don’’t even have to have common sense to know that this is wrong. He says all you have to know is basic anatomy, and all you have to do is know animal biology to know that this is not the way it’s supposed to be. Nobody out there works this way. There are no female to female relations in the animal world like this. Your anatomy is even against it. It’s not supposed to work that way. You don’t even have to have any common sense to understand this, Paul says. It’s unnatural. It’s against nature. It’s against the created order. It’s against the way God made us to be. And when he says its unnatural, he means that everybody knows that. This is apparent to everyone. And, therefore, the people who engage in this have to work very hard to make their minds conform to their unnatural thinking and behaving. So the apostle Paul brings a strong charge against this particular type of activity.

Now I’m well aware that we live in a society that tends to do two things with the Bible’s teaching about homosexuality. It either says, well, we’’ve all misunderstood the Bible. For 2000 years, Protestants Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Jews have all misunderstood the Bible. Actually the Bible doesn’’t condemn homosexuality. And then there are others who say, well, the Bible’’s wrong. We have understood the Bible, but the Bible is wrong. And neither of those answers will do. First of all, if you can mistake the Bible’’s teaching on homosexuality, you can get the Bible to say anything. If you can mistake what the Bible says about homosexuality, you can make the Bible say that the moon is made of green cheese, and it’s raining lollipops. The Bible is crystal clear.

There are five passage which are absolutely unmistakable. In Genesis, chapter 19, in the story of Sodom. Moses makes it crystal clear that homosexual activity, all of it, is wrong. In Judges, we’re told in the story of Gibeah, chapter 19, in no uncertain terms that homosexuality is wrong. Moses, thirdly, in Leviticus 18 and in Leviticus 20 makes it absolutely clear that homosexuality is wrong. In fact, the language that Paul is using here in Romans 1 is pulled right out of the Greek translation of Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20. Here in this passage today, as Paul describes decadent pagan societal practice, he again makes it clear that homosexuality is wrong. And then when you get to I Timothy 2, or I Corinthians 6 in that list of sins that will keep you out of the kingdom of heaven, homosexuality is once again mentioned, indicating once again that the Bible is unequivocal in its condemnation of homosexual practice. . .

. . .Paul in condemning male homosexuality is not just condemning kinds of male homosexuality, he’’s condemning all of it. Oftentimes you will hear people say, well, what Paul is condemning is heterosexuals acting like homosexuals. What Paul is condemning is pederasty. Very common in the Greaco Roman world where an older man would attach himself to a young boy, and they would carry out a homosexual relationship. True, but that’’s not everything that Paul is condemning. Paul is condemning all types of homosexual activity. You see it in the phrase “indecent acts,” and you see it in the word that he uses for homosexuality. It’’s the word that comes from Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20, and Moses describes it simply as this:– man sleeping with man, man relating sexually to man. Period. All of it is out, according to the apostle Paul. And so Paul rules out all homosexuality.

taken from: God Gave Them Over (Part 2). Sermon delivered on May 21, 2000 at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Click here to read and/or listen to the entire sermon.

Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III is the Chancellor/CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology.

Source HERE

Una recurrencia de los tiempos de Noé y Lot

Johan Malan, Mossel Bay, Sudáfrica (julio de 2014)

Lea Lucas 17:26-37.

La Biblia hace una comparación entre la pecaminosidad absoluta que prevaleció durante los tiempos antiguos de Noé y Lot, y una situación similar que será evidente justo antes de la segunda venida de Cristo. La historia se repite en varias formas - también con respecto a la ira divina que se derrama sobre las personas que blasfeman a Dios por despreciar continuamente y rechazando los principios espirituales y morales de su reino. Los siguientes aspectos de la comparación entre los tiempos antiguos y modernos, se señalaron en la Biblia:
Apostatising. En los tiempos de Noé y Lot decadencia espiritual fue generalizado ya que prácticamente todas las personas que se habían olvidado de Dios y dio rienda suelta a los dictados de su naturaleza depravada. Eran malvados en todo designio de los pensamientos y no inclinados a seguir la justicia de Dios (Génesis 6:05). La misma situación es característico de nuestro tiempo: “Pero el Espíritu dice claramente que en los postreros tiempos algunos se apartarán de la fe, escuchando a espíritus engañadores ya doctrinas de demonios (1 Tim 4:01.). Bajo la influencia del diablo, mal extremo prevalecerá en la vida de la gente, y ellos serán arrastrados por el error de los inicuos(2 Ped. 3:17).
La depravación moral. En los tiempos de Noé y Lot los estilos de vida más licenciosas eran socialmente aceptables, entre los que también era la sodomía. Los hombres de Sodoma no se interesaba por las hijas de Lot, pero fueron violentamente la intención de sodomizar a los ángeles (Génesis 19:1-10). La perversión sexual, en particular con referencia a las relaciones y las prácticas homosexuales, de nuevo se convertirá en la norma socialmente aceptable y no la excepción (Rom. 1:26-27). La estructura familiar de la sociedad comienza inevitablemente se desmorona cuando los líderes del gobierno y de la iglesia también se aprueban y abiertamente aceptan estas prácticas como la consecuencia natural de la libertad de elección que se ve que es parte de los derechos humanos básicos.
Una cultura apóstata se convierte en dominante. En los tiempos de Noé y de Lot, la extensa apostatising y decadencia moral de la sociedad dieron lugar a una cultura en extremo pecaminoso que era completamente contrario a Dios y su santidad. Estas personas malvadas perseguidos quienes promovieron norma de conducta honorable de Dios. Cuando Lot trató de oponerse a ellos le gritaron y dijeron: ¡Atrás! … Ahora te haremos más mal con usted … y [ellos] se acercaron para romper la puerta “(Génesis 19:9). Lot tuvo que cerrar su puerta y esconderse en la casa. En los últimos tiempos, una cultura extremadamente pecaminosa volverá a ser dominante y la gente generalmente será sin autodominio, brutal, aborrecedores de lo bueno, traidores, impetuosos …” (2 Tim. 3:3-4). Estas inclinaciones torcidas se moverán a las naciones a firmar un pacto con el Anticristo que se describe en la Biblia como el hombre de pecado” y “el hijo de perdición” (2 Tesalonicenses 2:3;. Rev. 13:3). Durante su reinado, el pecado y la maldad proliferarán. La pequeña minoría de verdaderos creyentes serán fuertemente perseguido y obligado a esconderse de los perpetradores del mal detrás de puertas cerradas, y al mismo tiempo tratando de evadir los gobiernos hostiles que cazarlos.
La anarquía y la violencia. En los tiempos de Noé y Lot anarquía prevaleció como la gente en estas sociedades sin ley y promiscuos hicieron todo lo que quisieron. La violencia era el medio más común que se utilizan para resolver conflictos: la tierra está llena de violencia a causa de ellos” (Génesis 6:13). Eso significa que no había gobierno central con la capacidad de mantener la ley y el orden, y por esa razón la gente tomó la ley en sus propias manos. Gangsterismo, el robo y el terrorismo eran las inevitables consecuencias de este estado de cosas. En los últimos tiempos, las comunidades también se convertirán desorganizado y caer en un estado en el que nadie estaría seguro - ni siquiera los niños en su camino a la escuela, o dentro de las propias instalaciones de la escuela. El terrorismo, golpes militares, guerras y rumores de guerras dominarán la escena noticias (Mateo 24:6-7). El comportamiento violento tendrá lugar en conjunción con otras formas de inmoralidad y apostasía, y hasta cuando Dios comienza a castigar y juzgar a estas personas malvadas durante el período de la tribulación no van a dejar de pecar y rebelarse contra Él: Pero el resto de la humanidad, que no fueron asesinados con estas plagas, no se arrepintieron de sus homicidios, ni de sus hechicerías, ni de su fornicación, ni de sus hurtos (Apocalipsis 9:20-21).
El materialismo y la vanidad. En los tiempos de Noé y Lot la gente estaba excesivamente materialista y sólo vivían por las cosas de este mundo - en particular con respecto a hacer grandes inversiones, la acumulación de riqueza, asistir a fiestas, disfrutando de comer y beber y disfrutar de todos los placeres de la vida. Ellos no vienen a sus sentidos antes de que fuera demasiado tarde: De la misma manera, ya que también fue en los días de Lot: comían, bebían, compraban, vendían, plantaban, edificaban; pero el día en que Lot salió de Sodoma, llovió fuego y azufre del cielo y los destruyó a todos. Aun así será en el día en que el Hijo del Hombre se manifieste (Lucas 17:28-30). En los últimos tiempos, muchas personas también disfrutar de la bebida y licenciosa búsqueda de placer en un esfuerzo para olvidar las penas de la vida. Para ellos, la llegada repentina del Esposo celestial por Su esposa será como una trampa que los llevará cautivos a los juicios de Dios durante el período de la tribulación posterior: Mirad también por vosotros mismos, que vuestros corazones no se carguen de glotonería, la embriaguez y de los afanes de esta vida, y venga aquel Día de improviso sobre ustedes. Porque vendrá como una trampa sobre todos los que habitan sobre la faz de toda la tierra (Lucas 21:34-35). La riqueza de los ricos, que practican la corrupción y explotan a otros a alcanzar sus metas, será en vano cuando los juicios de Dios son derramadas sobre la tierra: Vamos ahora, ricos! Llorad y aullad por las miserias que os vendrán sobre vosotros! Habéis acumulado tesoros en los últimos días. De hecho, los salarios de los obreros que han cosechado vuestras tierras, el cual por engaño, gritar; y los gritos de los segadores han llegado a los oídos del Señor Todopoderoso. Usted ha vivido en la tierra en el placer y el lujo; habéis engordado vuestros corazones como en el día de la masacre “(Santiago 5:1-5).
Burlándose de los creyentes y en la Palabra de Dios. En los tiempos de Noé y Lot la gente se burlaba de los creyentes y optaron por ignorar las advertencias proféticas de próximas sentencias. Les especulación descabellada considerados y continuaron con sus vidas imprudentes de los placeres carnales y la codicia. Sólo Noé y su familia (ocho personas) no eran culpables de esta actitud y eran dignos de escapar del juicio del diluvio de Dios. Una situación similar del desprecio de las profecías bíblicas se repite en el tiempo del fin: … sabiendo primero esto, que vendrán burladores en los últimos días, andando según sus propias concupiscencias, y diciendo: ¿Dónde está la promesa de su venida ? (2. Pet 3:3-4). Los que están en el camino angosto son una pequeña minoría.
Despreciando el tiempo de gracia. En los tiempos de Noé y de Lot que Dios dio a los pecadores degenerados tiempo razonable para arrepentirse de sus malos caminos. Se negaron a arrepentirse y con ello sellaron su propio destino. Tenían los únicos culpables de su caída y castigo. En los últimos tiempos, la gran mayoría de la gente no se arrepiente de sus malos caminos, sino abrazar la falsa esperanza de iniciativas de paz hechas por el hombre hasta que sea demasiado tarde para escapar de los juicios divinos: Cuando digan: Paz y seguridad! entonces destrucción repentina vendrá sobre ellos. … Y no escaparán (1 Tes. 5:03).
La fuga de los creyentes. En los tiempos de Noé y Lot Dios ofreció una vía de escape para los creyentes en el momento crítico antes de prender los malvados con el castigo iracundo (Gen. 6:13-14; 19:15-17). El orden de los eventos fue: Primero las advertencias proféticas sobre los juicios inminentes, a continuación, la salvaguardia de los creyentes que se hubiera seguido el llamamiento a arrepentirse, y en última instancia, el derramamiento de la ira sobre los malvados. Ahora, en el tiempo del fin, el mundo ha sido advertido en repetidas ocasiones en contra de los juicios inminentes de Dios durante la próxima gran tribulación. Puesto que los creyentes no están destinados a estos juicios debemos prepararnos para escapar de ellos esperando que el Hijo de Dios desde el cielo “, a Jesús, quien nos libra de la ira venidera(1 Tesalonicenses 1:10;.. Cf 5:9).
La tragedia del formalismo religioso. En los tiempos de Noé y Lot no había seguridad para los creyentes nominales cuyos corazones todavía se dedicaron a las cosas de este mundo. La esposa de Lot era un tipo de aquellos creyentes que sólo tienen una forma externa de piedad, pero todavía están espiritualmente muertos. Este falso pretexto le costó la pérdida de su vida en el último momento (Gen. 19:26). En el momento de la segunda venida de una situación similar de Cristo prevalecerá. Por esa razón se nos advierte en la parábola de las diez vírgenes que aquellos de entre ellos que tienen el corazón no se llena con el aceite del Espíritu Santo serán dejados atrás cuando llega el Esposo (Mateo 25:1-13). Autojustificación, los cristianos tibios que son engañados y erróneamente consideran a sí mismos como “muy buena” son abominables al Señor (Apocalipsis 3:15-17;. 2 Corintios 11:2-4).
catástrofe repentina. En los tiempos de Noé y Lot un desastre terrible azotó este mundo poco después de la evacuación de los creyentes. Muerte y destrucción ocurrieron como nunca antes en la historia (Génesis 7:04; 19:24-25). Después del rapto, los juicios de Dios de nuevo se derramarán sobre los impíos: He aquí el día de Jehová viene, terrible, y de la ira y la rabia furiosa, para poner la tierra y toda la tierra en soledad, y raer de ella a sus pecadores “(Isaías 13:09; AB). El Señor Jesús nos advirtió que poco antes de su segunda venida habrá una gran tribulación, como nunca antes en la tierra, y si aquellos días no fuesen acortados, nadie sobreviviría a ese momento terrible (Mat. 24:21-22; 29-30).
La bendición ofrecida a través de retenedores. En los tiempos de Noé y Lot los malvados no se dieron cuenta de cómo muchos privilegios y bendiciones que disfrutaron debido a la presencia de unos pocos creyentes en medio de ellos. Dios está dispuesto a perdonar a una ciudad entera si había sólo diez creyentes en él (Génesis 18:23-32). Cuando este pequeño grupo de creyentes se retiraron de repente a un lugar de seguridad, los malvados fueron envueltos rápidamente por la oscuridad de los juicios divinos. En los últimos tiempos, los verdaderos creyentes también actúan como retenedores del mal, pero el mundo sólo podrá apreciar el valor de su papel cuando se han ido. La dispensación de la iglesia continuará hasta que “el que ahora lo detiene [la verdadera iglesia habitada por el Espíritu Santo] se saca del camino. Y entonces será revelado ese inicuo [el Anticristo]. . La venida desaforado es según la operación de Satanás, con gran poder y señales y prodigios mentirosos, … para que sean condenados todos los que no creyeron en la verdad sino que se complacieron en la injusticia “(2 Tesalonicenses 2:07 - 12).
ceguera Profética. En los tiempos de Noé la gente se burlaba de los constructores del arca, y en su ignorancia no eran conscientes de su peligro hasta que vino el diluvio y se los llevó a todos; así será también la venida del Hijo del Hombre “(Mateo 24:39).

Importancia del rapto

Tiempo del fin el juicio de Dios sobre los pecadores es un hecho que no se puede negar. La liberación física de los creyentes antes del comienzo de los juicios es un hecho bíblico igualmente importante que siempre debe tenerse en cuenta: Velad, pues, en todo tiempo orando que seáis tenidos por dignos de escapar de todas estas cosas que han de suceder, y para pie delante del Hijo del Hombre “(Lucas 21:36). Pablo explica más adelante esta maravillosa promesa: “Porque el Señor mismo descenderá del cielo con aclamación, con voz de arcángel, y con trompeta de Dios. Y los muertos en Cristo resucitarán primero. Luego nosotros los que hayamos quedado, seremos arrebatados juntamente con ellos en las nubes para recibir al Señor en el aire. Y así estaremos siempre con el Señor. Por lo tanto, alentaos los unos a los otros con estas palabras (1 Tes. 4:16-18). ¡Qué maravilloso futuro que esperar!

Debemos reaccionar ante la promesa del éxtasis en un número de maneras, si queremos disfrutar de todo su bendición. Las personas que niegan esta promesa no están en contacto con la palabra profética, pierden muchos de sus bendiciones, y corren el riesgo de quedarse atrás y confundiendo el Anticristo para el verdadero Cristo. Nos deberían estar atentos por engaño espiritual y siempre estar listo para presentarse delante del Hijo del Hombre: “Velad, pues, porque no sabéis ni el día ni la hora en que el Hijo del Hombre ha de venir” (Mateo 25:13). “Por tanto, también vosotros estad preparados, porque el Hijo del Hombre vendrá a la hora que no pensáis(Mateo 24:44).

Las siguientes son las bendiciones que están en el almacén para los creyentes que prestan atención a la orden de estar listo para el rapto:

Buenas noticias en las profecías

El rapto antes de la tribulación es el buen elemento de noticias en un escenario oscuro de las profecías del tiempo del fin. Sin esta promesa cristianos quedarían sólo con la mala noticia de la venida del Anticristo y el período de la tribulación que se tendrán que enfrentar antes de que Jesús venga. Sus posibilidades de sobrevivir a todos los desastres apocalípticos de la gran tribulación, así como la batalla de Armagedón, serán delgado hecho. Una situación como la que se puede equiparar a la inundación sin el arca, o la destrucción de Sodoma y Gomorra y sin ninguna provisión para la huida de los creyentes de la escena de la ira de Dios. Tal situación sería muy desmoralizante y contradice un principio bíblico claro que los verdaderos creyentes no son nunca objeto de la ira de Dios: “Porque no nos ha puesto Dios para ira, sino para alcanzar salvación …” (1 Tesalonicenses 5:09.). Los justos no serán destruidos con los impíos (cf. Génesis 18:23).

Las personas que son cínicos acerca de la promesa de que el rapto y no prestar atención a la exhortación a que se prepare para escapar de la tribulación que viene revelan una actitud muy irresponsable. ¿Cuál habría sido la consecuencia de Noé y su familia si Noé hubiera argumentado de la siguiente manera (y para la futura supervivencia de la raza humana entera!): “Dios es un Dios de amor y yo realmente no crea que le va a enviar un diluvio para juzgar a todas las personas; Por lo tanto, yo no voy a construir un arca para escapar de este llamado juicio “O lo que habría sucedido a Lot y su familia si hubiera tomado la siguiente posición:”. Creo que el juicio profetizado sobre Sodoma y Gomorra se debe interpretar simbólicamente . Yo no tengo que escapar de mi vida. Incluso si ocurre el desastre Creo que Dios nos protegerá de su ira en este lugar. Argumentos similares se oyen a menudo hoy en día.

Los juicios venideros durante el período de la tribulación están hechos bíblicos irrefutables. Jesús dijo que habrá gran tribulación como la cual no ha habido desde el principio del mundo (Mateo 24:21), y que debemos estar preparados para escapar de ella. El rapto es parte de las buenas nuevas del evangelio de nuestro Señor Jesús. Él vino a este mundo pecaminoso dedicarse a pagar el precio por la salvación de los pecadores. A continuación, regresó al cielo a preparar un lugar para nosotros, y volverá a llevarnos a nuestra morada celestial. Si estamos verdaderamente nacidos de nuevo vamos a ser dignos de escapar de los horrores de la tribulación venidera en la tierra por medio del rapto. No tenemos a la desesperación en el conocimiento de lo que está por venir sobre el mundo ya que es un elemento maravilloso de buenas noticias en la palabra profética.

Una expectativa futura correcta

Si creemos en el rapto pre-tribulación tenemos la seguridad de un futuro verdaderamente expectativa bíblica. Esta creencia no afecta en modo alguno contradice otras verdades bíblicas. Esta perspectiva del tiempo del fin honra al Señor Jesús y le reconoce como la clave de toda la profecía de la Escritura, porque el testimonio de Jesús es el espíritu de la profecía” (Apocalipsis 19:10). Los cristianos deben permanecer enfocados en Él y esperar su aparición repentina - no para el Anticristo. Aquellos que lo niegan permanecerán detrás después del rapto. Habiendo rechazado la vía de escape y salvación ofrecida por el verdadero Cristo, van a tener que soportar la dictadura del Anticristo y los terribles juicios que seguir. Lo que ellos experimentan en la tierra será un resultado directo de los sellos rotos por el Cordero en el cielo. Nunca negar a Jesucristo Su posición central en las profecías bíblicas. A esperar su inminente retorno, y que disponga su vida en consecuencia, es un comando que está destinada a ser un fuerte, la motivación positiva a todos los cristianos de todas las edades.

Una de las motivaciones para la constancia

La venida del Esposo celestial se producirá en un momento de compromiso religioso y lo mundano. Habrá una gran apostasía de la verdad de la Palabra de Dios. Un grupo relativamente pequeño de cristianos evangélicos brillará como luces en medio de una generación maligna y perversa (Fil. 2:15). Al igual que en los tiempos de Noé y de Lot, la tierra será llena de violencia, el materialismo y la perversión sexual. Por desgracia, el espíritu de maldad e inmoralidad también tendrá sus consecuencias entre los cristianos. Ellos descuidar su vigilancia y hacer los ajustes a la baja de sus normas espirituales: Y por haberse multiplicado la maldad, el amor de muchos se enfriará(Mateo 24:12). Algunos cristianos se convertirán en apóstata o desanimado en la obra del Señor.

Cristianos inactivos a menudo comprometen su dedicación al Señor ya su responsabilidad de servirle fielmente. Su decadencia espiritual puede manifestarse de diversas maneras. La forma más común de la reincidencia es abandonar la necesidad de la santificación y de convertirse en buscadores de placer que asisten a fiestas mundanas donde la gente come y bebe en exceso. También se convierten en críticos de los cristianos evangélicos que no aprueban sus formas depravadas. El Señor Jesús nos advirtió en contra de este tipo de comportamiento pecaminoso y contrarrestado mediante el uso de la perspectiva de su repentino regreso inesperado como una motivación positiva para permanecer firme hasta el fin: “¿Quién es, pues, un siervo fiel y prudente, al cual puso su señor sobre su casa para que les dé el alimento a tiempo? Bienaventurado aquel siervo al cual, cuando su señor venga, le halle haciendo así. Pero si aquel siervo malo dice en su corazón: “Mi señor tarda en venir ‘, y comienza a golpear a sus consiervos, y aun a comer ya beber con los borrachos, el señor de aquel siervo llegará un día en que él es no en busca de él, ya la hora que no sabe, y lo castigará duramente, y pondrá su parte con los hipócritas (Mateo 24:45-51).

Determinar correctamente y obras priorizar

Esperar que la venida del Señor Jesús antes de que el período de la tribulación, guía sus acciones en la dirección correcta. Usted se prepara para su venida, y no para la venida del Anticristo. El concepto del rapto que enfrenta explícitamente con su responsabilidad de dar cuenta de sí mismo ante el tribunal de Cristo inmediatamente después de ser alcanzado a los lugares celestiales (2 Cor 5:10;.. Rom 14:12). Los siguientes coronas serán otorgados a los fieles:
La corona incorruptible de santidad (1 Cor. 9:24-27). Una vida de esta naturaleza se caracteriza por el poder del Espíritu Santo, que permite a un creyente permanecer en Cristo, resistir las tentaciones del pecado y el engaño espiritual, y para seguir sirviendo al Señor a pesar de la adversidad severa y oposición. Todas las demás coronas dependen santificación del creyente.
La corona de regocijo para los ganadores de almas (1 Tes. 2:19). Cuando se proclama la gracia salvadora del Señor Jesús, se invita a la gente a aceptar por fe, obteniendo de esta manera la promesa de la vida eterna. Fuimos comisionados para ser testigos de Cristo en todas partes en la tierra (Hechos 1:8), pero no todos los creyentes comprometidos en el cumplimiento de su llamado.
La corona de la vida de los mártires cristianos (Rev. 2:10). Todos aquellos que han sufrido o incluso muerto por su fe, serán recompensados​​. Esta categoría también incluye a los creyentes que fueron severamente probado, pero llevan su cruz con paciencia (Santiago 1:12).
La corona de gloria para los pastores fieles (1 Ped. 5:2-4). Peter deja claro que los pastores fieles son los que no cumplen su ministerio por fuerza, o por ganancia deshonesta, o por consideraciones de estado. Los falsos maestros que proclaman mentiras no compartirán en el rapto a comparecer ante el tribunal de Cristo, ya que no le pertenecen y están destinados a la perdición (2 Pedro 2:01;.. 2 Tim 4:3-4).
La corona de justicia para aquellos que amaban la aparición del Señor (2 Tim. 4:8). Amar a sus llamadas entrantes para la disociación del mundo depravado y sus (en su mayoría) los líderes corruptos y respeta el reino de Cristo. Los creyentes son ciudadanos de este reino celestial sobre el cual Cristo reinará como Rey en la tierra después de su segunda venida (Fil. 3:20-21).

El hecho de que nuestras obras serán juzgados después del rapto, y que sólo los que tienen valor eterno será recompensado, es de gran importancia para ayudarnos a dedicarnos a los objetivos que son superiores a las cosas materiales de este mundo perecedero. Después de la conversión, nuestras vidas deben dar el fruto del Espíritu y no debemos perder tiempo y recursos en las cosas terrenales, placer u obras inútiles. Después de que el fundamento de la fe en el Señor Jesús se ha puesto en nuestras vidas debemos cuidar a caminar según el Espíritu y no según la carne: Que cada uno mire cómo edifica encima. Y si alguno edificare sobre este fundamento oro, plata, piedras preciosas, madera, heno, hojarasca, la obra de cada uno se hará manifiesta; porque el día la declarará, porque será revelada por el fuego “(1 Cor 3. :10-13).

¿Va a ser encontrado un digno siervo o va a estar ante el tribunal de Cristo en ese día con las manos vacías, salvo como por fuego? (1. Cor 03:15). Si se pierde de vista la posibilidad del retorno inminente del Señor puede caer en la complacencia, la inactividad espiritual, e incluso en el pecado: Pero el día del Señor vendrá como ladrón en la noche. Así que vosotros, oh amados, ya que usted sabe estas cosas de antemano, guardaos, no sea que caigáis de vuestra firmeza, no sea que arrastrados por el error de los inicuos; pero crecer en la gracia y conocimiento de nuestro Señor y Salvador Jesucristo. A él sea la gloria ahora y para siempre “(2. Pedro 3:10, 17-18).

El siervo fiel y prudente, se mantiene ocupado con la obra del Señor, siempre dándose cuenta de que el momento de trabajar por su Maestro se está acabando. El Señor Jesús mismo dijo: Me es necesario hacer las obras del que me envió, entre tanto que el día dura: la noche viene, cuando nadie puede trabajar” (Juan 9:4). La noche de los juicios de Dios durante la gran tribulación se acerca rápidamente. Espiritualmente hablando, la tribulación será uno de los períodos más oscuros de la historia entera de la humanidad - y eso nos debe motivar para trabajar con mayor dedicación y compromiso con el Señor, mientras que todavía estamos en el día de la gracia.

Motivación para la santidad

Una de las motivaciones más fuertes que la promesa del arrebatamiento infunde en el cristiano es el de la santidad. Como miembros de la iglesia de novia debemos comprometernos con el reto de ser presentado al Esposo celestial como vírgenes castas. Eso implica la responsabilidad de estar atentos al no permitir que el maligno para pervertir o corromper nuestras mentes y vidas (2 Cor. 11:2-3). Jesucristo dio a sí mismo para santificar y limpiar la iglesia a fin de presentársela a sí mismo, santos y sin mancha ni arruga (Efesios 5:25-27). Tenemos una responsabilidad distinta de utilizar los medios de gracia a nuestra disposición para caminar en los caminos del Señor y llegar a ser santos en toda nuestra conducta (1 Ped. 1:15). Por tanto, teniendo estas promesas, amados, limpiémonos de toda contaminación de carne y de espíritu, perfeccionando la santidad en el temor del Señor” (2 Cor. 7:01).

Si permanecemos en Cristo, vamos a tener confianza cuando él se manifieste, y no seamos confundidos de él (1 Juan 2:28). Sin embargo, ¿debemos perder de vista su venida inminente y dejar de vivir de acuerdo podemos caer en la complacencia, la pasividad espiritual, e incluso en el pecado (Mateo 24:48-51).

Esperanza durante pruebas y aflicciones

Bajo la sombra oscura de pruebas y aflicciones, cuando nuestras perspectivas en la tierra parecen sombrías, la creencia en la venida de Cristo para nosotros en el rapto es una luz al final del túnel. A través de muchos dolores y sufrimiento, millones de cristianos se han aferrado desesperadamente a la promesa de la resurrección y nuestra unión con el Señor en el rapto. Se les dio fuerza para soportar, contando cosas de la tierra y hasta sus propias vidas como de ninguna importancia para que puedan ganar la eternidad con Cristo. Por lo tanto, tomar coraje, levanta tu cabeza, y esperar la venida del Señor, conscientes de que su futuro es seguro y seguro en sus manos.

Un sentido de destino

Como Abraham debemos vernos a nosotros mismos como a extranjeros y peregrinos en un mundo que “se encuentra bajo el dominio del maligno(1 Juan 5:18). Dado que nuestro futuro no está aquí, necesitamos una visión de la ciudad que tiene fundamentos, cuyo arquitecto y constructor es Dios (Hebreos 11:10). En nuestra peregrinación por este mundo, necesitamos un fuerte sentido de destino. Cuando el Señor venga por nosotros en el rapto, él nos llevará a nuestro hogar eterno en la nueva Jerusalén (1 Cor 2:9;. Juan 14:2; Apocalipsis 21:2).

No debemos identificarnos con este mundo y convertirse en uno con su materialismo, la búsqueda del placer y la depravación moral y espiritual. Debemos proclamar las virtudes de aquel que nos llamó de las tinieblas a su luz admirable. Los incrédulos que nos rodean están en la oscuridad espiritual, sino a través de nuestro testimonio que ellos deben mostrar el camino al Salvador, quien es la luz del mundo.

Mientras servía al Señor como testigos fieles, siempre debemos mantener nuestros ojos en Él como “la estrella resplandeciente de la mañana” (Apocalipsis 22:16) que brilla sobre el horizonte oscuro de un mundo agitado y hostil. La estrella de la mañana nos dice que la noche está avanzada, y el día está cerca. Antes de que Jesús aparece como el Sol de Justicia, cuando todo ojo le verá, los cristianos tendrán una reunión impresionante con Él, la Brillante Estrella Matutina, en el aire!

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