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« Reply #180 on: April 09, 2008, 05:08:56 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Appearances To Paul
by A. Edwin Wilson


APPEARANCES TO PAUL

In our last article, discussing the physical appearances of our Lord after his resurrection, we called attention to His appearance unto Stephen, who saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God and cried out to the synagogue before whom he had given his defense, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."

In the 9th chapter of Acts we have the first appearance of our Lord to Saul of Tarsus. Acts 9:1-6: "And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest; it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"

Here was the one at whose feet was laid the clothing of the ones who stoned Stephen. Here was one - this proud, young Pharisee - who, observing Stephen being stoned, heard Stephen say, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." I doubt if Saul of Tarsus ever forgot that moment or the angelic face of Stephen and the prayer which he prayed for him and for those who were guilty of stoning him to death. But Saul so hated this movement called "the way," this movement we call Christianity, that he had thrown into prison all the Christians he could find in Jerusalem. Then knowing of the colony of Christians over at Damascus, he obtained authority from the high priest to go to Damascus into the synagogues, where he could look around. All he could find there who were walking in "this way," who were believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, he could take, have them bound and brought back to Jerusalem to be thrown into prison and later executed.

As he was journeying along the way, drawing nigh unto Damascus, suddenly there shined round about him a light brighter than the dazzling sun reflected upon the sands at high noon. He fell to the earth, blinded by the brightness and glory of the One who was standing in front of him. This One standing in front of him spoke and said, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" What a startling question! Saul knew this was some manifestation of deity, some theophany, some revelation of the Godhead. But what did this One mean by saying that Saul was persecuting Him? Saul was persecuting no one except those followers of the lowly Nazarene. And Saul replied, "Who art Thou, Lord? He knew this was One from heaven but not exactly who. And he said, "Lord, who art Thou?" And the Lord replied, "I am Jesus."

Again I call your attention to the fact that He did not say, "I am Jesus Christ." He did not say, "I am Christ Jesus." He did not say, "I am the Lord." He did not say, "I am the Prince of the house of David." He simply said, "I am Jesus." That name, the name Jesus, is the name of His physical, human body. He was standing there on the sand on the highway, in front of Saul of Tarsus. "I am Jesus." Saul of Tarsus would not have been surprised if He had said, "I am the Lord." He would not have been surprised if He had said, "I am from heaven." Saul knew that; Saul believed in God; Saul believed in the resurrection; Saul believed in angels. But when this One said, "I am Jesus," he who went out to slay remained to pray; he who went out cursing remained to be cursed; he who went out hating, casting into prison and executing, remained to be hated, thrown into prison and later on, executed.

Why the physical, the visible, the bodily revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ to Saul of Tarsus? At the meeting in the upper room the disciples, attempting to elect an apostle to take Judas' place, called attention to one of the qualifications of an apostle: "One must be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection." For one to be an apostle he must have seen the Lord Jesus Christ in His body of flesh and bones after He rose from the dead. And the Lord Jesus Christ was choosing, I think, His own apostle to take the place of Judas. In Galatians 1:1 the apostle Paul says, "Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man." He was not chosen by men; he was not chosen by any man. A group of men did not get together and elect him to succeed Judas. He was chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead.
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« Reply #181 on: April 09, 2008, 05:11:37 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Appearances To Paul
by A. Edwin Wilson

In my personal work among the lost, I have encountered more than one who told me that they had not accepted the Lord as Saviour because they were' 'waiting for the light." When I inquired as to what light, they said it was the light comparable to that which was shown to Saul of Tarsus. I thank God I could tell them to cease to wait. Because no such light is coming. That revelation, that appearance, that light was vouchsafed to Saul of Tarsus because Jesus was choosing him to be an apostle, the Lord Jesus Christ had to appear unto him in His body of flesh and bones that Saul of Tarsus himself might see that body, thus fulfilling a prerequisite to apostleship.

In Galatians 1:11 we read concerning Saul of Tarsus, "I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached to me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it (by man), but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." Jesus appeared unto Saul of Tarsus and taught him by word of mouth the gospel that he preached. That is the meaning and significance of the statements of Paul the apostle when he says, for instance, "This we say unto you by the word of the Lord. . ." Jesus came, no doubt, there in the Arabian desert - as Paul says in Galatians 1:17 when he speaks of his conversion: "Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia. . ." There are some two and a half years of Paul's life unaccounted for. Many are the scholars who believe those two and a half years were spent out there in the Arabian desert with the Lord Jesus Christ. And one thing we do know - that the gospel which he preached was given to him by word of mouth as Jesus taught him, an apostle, even as He had taught the other apostles.

In the third place, in Acts 22:17, 18 we read, "It came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; And saw Him. . ." (saw Jesus in His body of flesh and bones) ". . . saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me." Paul did just that. Later on, he was arrested and thrown into prison and in Acts 23: 11 we read, "And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome."

Four times the Lord appeared unto Saul of Tarsus, later known as Paul the apostle. On the road to Damascus the Lord came and stood in front of him, spoke unto him and gave him his orders, which at that time were to go into the city and wait until he would be told later on what to do. Then in the Arabian desert the Lord appeared unto Saul and taught him by word of mouth the gospel that he preached, even as He taught the other apostles. Then in the temple as Paul prayed, the Lord appeared unto him and told him to get out of there because they would not receive his testimony. And fourth, in prison in the middle of the night the Lord appeared unto him and told him, "Be of good cheer. Just as you have witnessed of Me in Jerusalem, so shall you yet bear a testimony to Me in Rome."

Saul of Tarsus - Paul the beloved apostle - saw Jesus Christ in His body of flesh and bones on at least four different occasions. No wonder he could preach as he preached! Because he believed; and he believed because he had seen. I feel sure that the success of the ministry of the apostle Paul was due in a great deal to the personal, physical, visible appearances of our Lord unto him. Also the catching up into heaven of the apostle Paul, his seeing and hearing things of which he did not speak, ministered greatly to his faithfulness.

In John 20:29 Jesus saith unto Thomas, "Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." Though we have not seen our Lord in His body of flesh and bones, yet believing in the resurrection when we were saved, according to Romans 10:9, we know as certainly as did Paul that Christ did rise physically, and that ere long He shall return in the same manner. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
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« Reply #182 on: April 09, 2008, 05:13:11 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Appearances To John On The Isle Of Patmos
by A. Edwin Wilson


APPEARANCE TO JOHN ON THE ISLE OF PATMOS

In our past two studies we presented the manifestation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in His body of flesh and bones to Stephen, also to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, to Paul in the Arabian desert, again in the temple and then in the prison. We now want to consider the revelation of the Lord unto John the revelator on the island of Patmos.
 
In Revelation 1:9-20 we have the account of the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ unto John as Jesus came to the island of Patmos on which John was located. John tells us that he was in the island of Patmos for the specific purpose of obtaining, that is, getting the Word of God and testimony of Jesus Christ which is recorded in the book of Revelation. I differ with those who imagine John to have been exiled to the Isle of Patmos. The 9th verse seems to call attention to the fact that he went out there for the specific purpose of receiving the Revelation. In vs. 10 he says (translating literally), "I became in the spirit and was projected into the Lord's day" (or, into the day of the Lord). That is the secret of the book of the Revelation. John had gone to the island of Patmos to receive this Revelation.

When the time came for him to receive the Revelation, in the Spirit he was projected into the day of the Lord. He heard a mighty voice behind him, a voice as of the sound of many waters; and this voice commanded him to write in a book the things which he would see and send the revelation to the seven churches designated. Then John turned to see who it was that was speaking to him. This One who was speaking to him was behind him. When this One appeared to Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus He appeared in front of him; but here He appeared to the rear of John and when John turned and looked he saw first of all seven golden candlesticks, and in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks One like unto the Son of Man.

Here again we have the name of our Lord's humanity. He is the Son of Man now on the earth with John; He is yonder in heaven the Son of Man with God the Father; He is coming back one day as the Son of Man to establish His kingdom. John saw Him like unto the Son of Man. He had on the priestly robes which reached to His feet but the girdle was around the breast rather than the waist, the difference being that the priest wore the girdle around his waist but the judge wore the girdle around his breast. So the Son of Man appears here as the Judge, His office as High Priest finished.
 
John continued to describe Him as he saw Him: head and hair white like wool, as white as snow; His eyes as a flame of fire; His feet like fine brass; His voice as the sound of many waters; in His right hand seven stars and out of His mouth a sharp two-edged sword. You will notice as Jesus was standing John saw the girdle about His breast; he saw His head, the hairs on His head; he saw His eyes and His feet, he heard the sound of His voice; he saw seven stars in His right hand and the sharp two-edged sword going out of His mouth. Those physical attributes could be only of One who was visible to John in His body of flesh and bones, for a spirit has not flesh and bones, a spirit would not have the head, the hair, the eyes, the mouth, feet and hands, such as this One had.

He was shining in His countenance as the sun, even as Saul of Tarsus saw on the road to Damascus. When Saul saw Him he fell prostrate in the dust, blinded. When John saw Him on the island of Patmos, he "fell at His feet as dead" and the Lord standing in front of John, laid His right hand upon him. One says, "Well, this is just a figure of speech. This body of His, His head and hair, His eyes like a flame of fire and His feet like fine brass, His voice and right hand, as well as the sword coming out of His mouth, are just figures of speech and not to be taken literally." If that were the case, then the island of Patmos is figurative, John is figurative, the whole vision is figurative and the book itself is figurative and the result would be that we would end up with nothing. Do not join those who would phantomize God Almighty, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. There is one blessed and supreme fact concerning the Revelation of God as recorded in the Bible. This is a historical and documented account given by God to man. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are real.
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« Reply #183 on: April 09, 2008, 05:14:24 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Appearances To John On The Isle Of Patmos
by A. Edwin Wilson

Here we have the historical, literal account of the Son of God as the Son of Man on the island of Patmos with John, the beloved apostle, and His right hand resting upon John. And John felt His right hand, knew that it was His right hand and described it as His right hand. And He said to John, "Fear not. I am the first and the last. I am He that liveth. I became dead. . ." (rather than was dead). "I voluntarily offered up My life; no man could take it from Me. I became dead. Now I am alive forevermore." The One who became dead is alive forevermore. That is the Lord Jesus Christ. The body of flesh and bones became dead, but that body of flesh and bones became alive forevermore. He is alive today. How we need to pray to God for childlike faith to believe the Word of God and accept it for what it is, the Word of God.

On the island of Patmos John saw Jesus; John saw the Son of Man. Jesus is the name of His humanity; Son of Man is the name of His humanity. Christ is the name of His deity. Today He is Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, the Son of God. Today He is the one Mediator between God and man, The Man Christ Jesus. After Jesus ascended into heaven in His body of flesh and bones, He revealed Himself in that body unto Stephen; four different times He revealed Himself unto Paul. Now we read of the revelation of Jesus in His body of flesh and bones to John on the island of Patmos.

The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh, dying for the sin of the world, rising again and ascending on high, from whence we look for Him.
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« Reply #184 on: April 09, 2008, 05:16:12 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Israel's Resurrection
by A. Edwin Wilson


ISRAEL'S RESURRECTION

"Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, 0 my people: and I will bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come out of your graves. 0 my people! And I will put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I will place you in your own land: and ye shall know that I, Jehovah, have spoken it and performed it, said the Lord" (Ezekiel 37:12-14).

Note here - the whole house of Israel - not the church, not Christians, not the New Testament saints - but the whole house of Israel - those Jews who died in the faith, those Jews who had not been cut off from among the people of Israel, will come out of their graves. Israel thinks of her departed loved ones as "dried up," "hope lost," "clean cut off." They think that the promises to Abraham have failed, that neither he nor Isaac, nor Jacob, nor his descendants will possess the land promised to them.

But look! Their graves are to be opened. Allover the world this will be done. God will open every grave of every Old Testament saint who died in the faith and raise that Jew up from the dead. Do not phantomize this Scripture - do not try to explain it away, but read it and believe it. Look at God's promise: "open your graves; cause you to come up out of your graves; when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come up out of your graves." Here we have GRAVES in the plural four times, and it means resurrection from earthly graves, just as it says. The innumerable literal graves of deceased Jews or Israelites who died in the faith will be opened, for only they are reckoned to be Israel. Some expositors say that GRAVES mean the nations of the world whither the Jews have been scattered. If that is true then Matthew 27:52, 53 would have to mean, "The nations where many of the saints were living opened their doors and let the saints who lived there leave and return to Jerusalem from the nations where they lived after Christ arose from the dead and were seen by many who lived in Jerusalem." But that is not what it says. It says, "And the GRAVES were opened and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the GRAVES after His resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared unto many."

What God has promised to Israel is the RESURRECTION of all true Israelites, and He emphasizes it four times. Remember: GRAVES, GRAVES, GRAVES, GRAVES. That means individuals, the bodies of these Jews raised - earthly bodies going back to an earthly land, even Palestine, to be fed as an earthly people and to live as an earthly people. THE JEWS ARE GOD'S EARTHLY PEOPLE, even as the New Testament saints are His heavenly people.

The New Testament saints will rise from their graves and the living will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. They will appear with Him in varying capacities, ruling or ruled, as the judgment seat of Christ will reveal, according to their works, (Luke 19:11-27). But the New Testament saints do not appear in the prophecies which concern the resurrection, regeneration and restoration of the nation of Israel, God's chosen EARTHLY NATION.

God has promised resurrected and restored Israel many things:

1. To have them dwell securely in their own land (Ezekiel 11:17-19; 28:25, 26; 34:25-28 ).

2. To cleanse them (Ezekiel 37:23; 36:24-26).

3. To give them a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26).

4. To give them a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26).

5. Cause them to walk in His statutes (Ezekiel 36:27; 37:24b).
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« Reply #185 on: April 09, 2008, 05:18:12 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Israel's Resurrection
by A. Edwin Wilson

The land from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates was given to Abraham and HIS SEED for an everlasting possession (Genesis 15:18 ). God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham and HIS SEED that the land from the Nile River (the River of Egypt) was to be an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:7-8 ). For these promises to be fulfilled, Israel must be resurrected as an EARTHLY PEOPLE and be RESTORED TO AN EARTHLY LAND for an eternal possession. God confirmed this covenant with Isaac: "Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee: for unto thee and unto they seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; and I will make they seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 26:3, 4). God confirmed this covenant with Jacob: "And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac; the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 28:13, 14). Note especially Genesis 35:9-12: "And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came from Padanaram, and blessed him. And God said unto him: thy name shall not be called anymore Jacob, but Israel shall be they name: and He called his name Israel. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty, be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; and the land which I gave unto Abraham and Isaac, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land."

Joseph had his brethren promise him that they would carry his bones with them when they left Egypt and returned to the land, saying, "God will surely visit you and bring you up out of this land unto the land which He sware to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob." The land was made for Israel and Israel was made for the land, and God will raise them up to possess that land as an earthly people in an earthly land. The Talmud of the Jews teaches that if a Jew dies in the Land of Israel he will be saved. If he dies out of the land he is to be buried with a wooden fork so that he may dig his way from the place of burial to the Land of Israel. If they but believed the Word of the Lord, they would know that salvation to them before Christ was by believing God (Romans 4:1-3), and that no matter where they died and were buried, God will raise their bodies up and restore them to their land for an everlasting possession along with those who will be gathered out of the nations when Jesus returns.
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« Reply #186 on: April 09, 2008, 05:19:59 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Go Ye Out To Meet Him
by A. Edwin Wilson


GO YE OUT TO MEET HIM

TWO BEARS AND FORTY-TWO CHILDREN "And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them" (II Kings 2:23, 24).

Because of the destruction of these forty-two children by the two she bears as a result of the curse pronounced by Elisha, many accuse God of inhumane injustice. The Hebrew word (nah'-ar) which here is translated little children leaves the impression that they were toddling babes who were unaccountable and irresponsible. A study of any comprehensive concordance will reveal that this Hebrew word (nah'-ar) is used of young men who have attained their majority. For instance, II Chronicles 13:7b: ". . . when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them." Here Rehoboam was called young (nah'-ar). I Kings 14:21: "... Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign. . ," This (nah'-ar) was forty-one years old. Consider Joseph in Genesis 41:12: "And there was there with us a young man (nah'-ar), an Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret." And in the 46th verse of this same chapter we read that Joseph, the (nah'-ar), was thirty years old at this time.

Next consider Isaac in Genesis 22:5b: ". . . and I and the lad will go younder and worship. . ." This lad (nah'-ar) was twenty-eight years old at the time Abraham offered him as a burnt offering. The word (nah'-ar) translated little children in II Kings 2:23, 24 is never used anywhere in the Bible except of a young man or young men; and the three examples given above show three of them between the ages of twenty-eight and forty, so that the forty-two little children (that is, young men) were accountable, responsible and knew exactly what they were doing when they ridiculed and mocked Elisha, shouting after him, "Go up, thou bald head, go up, thou bald head." They were ridiculing the message of Elisha concerning the literal, physical, bodily, visible ascension of Elijah into heaven.

Increasingly today accountable and responsible so-called Christian teachers mock and ridicule the literal, physical, bodily, visible ascension, presence in heaven and return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Along with that, they fail not to mock and ridicule any and all preaching pertaining to the literal, physical, bodily, visible resurrection and translation of the Christians at the first stage of our Lord's second coming.

Let the fate of the forty-two young men who so blasphemously ridiculed Elisha and his ministry be a warning to all who do not justly appreciate the rapture of the saints.
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« Reply #187 on: April 09, 2008, 05:22:20 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Go Up, Bald Head
by A. Edwin Wilson


GO UP, BALD HEAD

II Kings 2:11-25. After Elisha had witnessed Elijah's going up into heaven in a whirlwind, attended by a chariot of fire and horses, he had a new concept of heaven, life and death. Since he had seen a man go into heaven in his body of flesh and bones, heaven became a real place to him. From then on his ministry centered around the physical, literal, bodily presence of a man - Elijah - in heaven.

Then as now, that teaching infuriated most of the hearers. So that when Elisha went into the city of Bethel there was a large group of young men who ran out to meet him, crying, "Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head." This was a most contemptuous greeting. First of all, they were challenging him to go up into heaven like he was preaching that Elijah had done. And secondly, they were calling him "bald head."

There was a despicable expression of contempt used in those days, "You are a son of a bald head." In Lev. 13:42-46 we learn that a bald head is a symptom of leprosy; and growing out of that loathsome disease and symptom came this expression. There was not anything worse or lower they could call this prophet of God whom they despised than to call him a "bald head."

Contempt for one of God's servants is always perilous - "Touch not Mine anointed." One of the tragedies of today is that fact of so many Christian workers contemptuously talk about and point out failures and shortcomings of servants of God upon whom they have sat in judgment.

In Romans 14:4 the Spirit of God in no uncertain terms says, "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant?" It is generally supposed that the one who judges, that is, who condemns the servants of the Lord is a stronger believer and a better Christian than the one he condemns. But such is not the case. We read in verse 3 that it is the weak Christian who condemns the strong one and thereby thinks he is bringing the strong one down to his level or elevating himself to the strong one's height, from which the weaker one would topple him.

It is the weak Christian who condemns the strong; the strong Christian despises the weak Christian because of his weakness. The weak Christian condemns the strong Christian as if he were not a believer or, a believer sinning against God. In this the Christian who does the condemning is very much to blame - he has assumed the prerogative of GOD, who ALONE is the judge of His own servants.

Many Christians suffer today because of the weakness of their faith as manifested in spending most of their time condemning stronger Christians, who in turn suffer because they spend so much of their time despising their weaker brethren. When these young men in Bethel treated God's servant Elisha so contemptuously, God showed His disapproval by tearing some forty-two of them by means of two bears.

I believe one of the most poignant verses of Scripture in connection with the present article is James 1:26: "If any man among you seem to be religious and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain."
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« Reply #188 on: April 09, 2008, 05:24:01 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
A Second Chance?
by A. Edwin Wilson



A SECOND CHANCE?

Recently I encountered what appears to be a most vicious heresy being proclaimed by presumably recognized, fundamental teachers and preachers, namely, that after the rapture of the saints, all who have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ prior to that moment shall have, during the time of the Tribulation, other opportunities to be saved.

One such minister stated it in this fashion: As he was giving an invitation to the lost to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and no one responded, he urged upon them the possibility of being saved after the Christians are caught out. He said to the lost who were present, "When you see friends and loved ones being caught up to be with the Lord and you realize then that you are lost, receive the Lord as your Saviour and you too shall soon be caught up to be with the Lord."

I want to state categorically that I have not been able to find a single passage of Scripture that will warrant anyone to believe that, having heard the story of salvation by grace and rejected it in this dispensation of grace, he will have an opportunity to be saved during the Tribulation. This is what is called or what constitutes a "second chance" of salvation. On the other hand, the Word of God tells us directly and explicitly that anyone who has heard the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in this dispensation and has rejected it can never be saved in a dispensation to come.

In II Thessalonians 2:8-12 we learn that after the rapture of the saints and the manifestation of the son of perdition - the man of sin, the Antichrist - there is absolutely no opportunity for one to be saved who has rejected Christ prior to that time. In fact, God is going to send strong delusion upon everyone who rejected Christ so that it will be impossible for them to be saved; whereas, such delusion will cause them to believe The Lie instead, that all who believed not the truth might be damned.

I have a very dear friend who is trying to train and educate a hundred and forty-four thousand Jewish evangelists to do the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom during the Tribulation. But according to the Word of God, every Jew that has heard the story of Jesus and rejected it cannot be saved during the Tribulation. The vast, innumerable host of people to be saved during the Tribulation will be from among the approximately two billion people now living who have never heard the gospel of the grace of God. Every individual, Jew or Gentile, who dies without accepting Christ as Saviour is forever damned to eternal retribution in the lake of fire.

Today is the day of salvation and if today you hear His voice, harden not your heart, for there will be no second chance for salvation for ANY who, having heard of Christ's redeeming love, refused to accept it.
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« Reply #189 on: April 09, 2008, 05:26:08 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
No Split Rapture
by A. Edwin Wilson
 


NO SPLIT RAPTURE

During a recent conference tour in the west we encountered many perversions of premillennial truth. Among the most common were those which we shall refer to, for lack of better names, as the split rapture, mid-tribulation rapture, post-tribulation rapture, no literal kingdom of Christ on the earth, and the usual post-millennial and a-millennial heresies. May we say in the beginning that these heresies stem from either or both of two misconceptions:

(1) A disbelief in the literal, physical, visible, corporeal resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, and

(2) A misconception pertaining to God's plans and purposes in regard to the nation of Israel.

There are those who hold to the false teaching that Jesus did not come to establish an earthly kingdom, to rule and reign on David's throne in the city of Jerusalem for one thousand years, but say that He came to establish a spiritual kingdom only. This is because THEY DO NOT BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST ROSE PHYSICALLY FROM THE DEAD AND IS NOW PRESENT IN HEAVEN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER IN HIS BODY OF FLESH AND BONES. The Spirit of God through the Apostle Paul proves once and for all in I Corinthians 15 that if Jesus Christ did not physically, literally and in His body of flesh and bones arise from the dead, then there is nothing at all to what we refer to as Christianity and the hope of salvation. We shall not dwell at this time on these presumptuous errors because they are so foreign to the Word of God.
 
Another common heresy which is gaining in favor with those who try to obliterate the God-given distinction between Israel and the Church is that which is named at the heading of this article: the split rapture. This system teaches that when the Lord appears in the air for His own, a particular group by virtue of their consecration, separation, sanctification, etc., will be caught up to meet the Lord, and that other Christians who have grown carnal, careless and indifferent will be left behind to go through the great tribulation.

There is a slight variance from this on the part of the post-tribulationists who teach that all Christians must go through the great tribulation and then be raptured. There is one Scripture more than any other which has contributed to this misunderstanding, and that is Hebrews 9:28 where it speaks of the Lord's appearance and says, ". . . and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation." The fact of the matter is, all Christians are looking for the Lord; some before the millennium; some in the middle of the tribulation; some after the millennium, and some are looking for Him to return in His body while others are expecting Him to return without His body of flesh. But the fact remains that all are looking for His return. The verse quoted above does not in itself distinguish at all between the various groups of Christians. The one passage of Scripture which sets forth the rapture more clearly than any other is I Thessalonians 4:13-18. Here we have clearly, chronologically and conclusively the order about which there can be no doubt.
 
1. The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout. In this connection, we call your attention to Acts 1:11, "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." Note in particular that the same Jesus is coming back in the same manner in which He went to heaven. It was a physical (flesh and bones), literal, visible ascent, and the heavenly messengers said it would be the same with His return.

2. The dead in Christ shall rise first. The dead in Christ are those who departed this life by way of death and at the time of their departure believed on the Name of the only begotten Son of God. There is no place in this passage of Scripture for the raising of the unfaithful dead in Christ to go through the tribulation. There is no place in this passage of Scripture for the unfaithful Christians to remain in their graves until after the tribulation. The Scripture simply says, "the dead in Christ shall rise first," and that means that ALL the dead in Christ shall rise first.

3. Then we which are alive and remain. . . Notice in the thirteenth verse of this passage that these remarks are addressed to the brethren. The word brethren as used in the New Testament is a very inclusive term and has for its object all who have believed and shall yet believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour.

The Apostle Paul, the human writer of this portion, identifies himself with this group when he says, "we which are alive and remain." This passage of Scripture divides all Christians into two classes - those who have died and those who are alive.

4. The dead in Christ and all Christians who are alive at the time of the rapture shall be caught up together in one body to meet the Lord in the air.

There is absolutely no place for the false teaching which has been referred to as the split rapture.
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« Reply #190 on: April 09, 2008, 05:28:45 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
The Church And The Tribulation
by A. Edwin Wilson


THE CHURCH AND THE TRIBULATION

A major Bible study which is confusing many today is the relationship of the Church to the Great Tribulation. This discussion resolves itself into the question, "Will the Church or any part of it go through the Great Tribulation?" I think one of the difficulties many people encounter in studying the relationship of the Church to the Great Tribulation is failure to distinguish between the Jew, Gentile and the Church, according to I Corinthians 10:32. The Jew is an earthly people with earthly blessings and earthly curses. The Gentile also is an earthly people with earthly blessings and earthly curses, whereas the Church is neither Jew nor Gentile but a new creation of God (II Corinthians 5:17). In this new creation there is neither Jew nor Gentile (Ephesians 2:14-18; Galatians 3:28 ). God's dealings with each of the three divisions of mankind seem to be separate. His laws, rules and regulations for each are different. Their origins are different, their purposes are different, and their destinies likewise are separate and distinct.

God set aside the human race as a whole and called out Abram as the forebearer of Isaac and Jacob to head a new race of people through whom He would bless the world. Because of Israel's failure, God temporarily set them aside and called out the Church, and during this dispensation His blessings flow through the Church to all mankind. Romans 11:25 specifically states that God will not again deal with Israel until the Church has been completed.

The rapture of the Church, so-called, is our Lord's appearing in the air and calling His own to meet Him up there (see I Corinthians 15:20-25 and I Thessalonians 4:13-18 ). The Church, being a heavenly people, is called into heavenly places where she will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, at which time the just recompense of reward will separate the faithful from the unfaithful Christians, manifesting a difference in rewards and positions but having no effect upon their eternal security. Christians are urged to wait for, to look for, to expect the Lord Himself and not the antichrist or the Great Tribulation, neither any other person or event. (See Romans 8:23; I Corinthians 1:7; Galatians 5:5; Philippians 3:20; I Thessalonians 1:10; Hebrews 9:28.) When the high priest went into the Holy of Holies, the children of Israel waited expectantly on the outside for the high priest. They did not look for, expect or wait for any other person or event. They simply waited for the return of the high priest. I Corinthians 10: 11 tells us that all of these things which happened to Israel are types for us. Therefore, the experience of the high priest entering into the Holy of Holies and Israel waiting typifies our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ entering into the Holy of Holies as our great High Priest. Luke 12:35-37 speaks of waiting for the Lord. John 14:1-3 tells us ". . . And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Acts 1:11 tells us that the same Jesus which was taken up into heaven shall come back in exactly the same manner.

I want to call your attention now to some other types in the Old Testament which happened to Israel and are for our admonition. First, Enoch, typifying the Church, was taken up into heaven before the flood came - which plainly teaches (in the light of I Corinthians 10:11) the rapture of the Church before the Great Tribulation comes on the earth. Second, Lot and his family, typifying the Church, were forcibly removed from Sodom and Gomorrah before destruction fell. In the light of I Corinthians 10:11, the Church will be forcibly removed from the earth before the destruction of the Great Tribulation. Third, Noah and his family were safe within the ark before a drop of rain fell. Again, in the light of I Corinthians 10:11, the Church will be safe with the Lord before one judgment of the Great Tribulation affects the earth.

Fourth, all of the first-born of the children of Israel were safe before the death angel came through the land. Fifth, the spies who went into Jericho were safely removed before the city fell. Both of these latter two instances teach that God makes provision for His own before He brings judgment upon those with whom they have been associated.

In the sixth place, Joseph, who is a type of Christ (Psalms 81:5) married Asenath, who is a type of the Bride of Christ. But when Joseph revealed himself unto his brethren the second time and dealt with them harshly because of their treatment of him, his bride was not with him. Neither will the Bride of Christ be associated with Jesus as His wrath is poured out upon those who mistreated Him.

Seventh, Moses, who is a type of Christ (Deuteronomy 18:15-19), married Zipporah, who is a type of the Bride of Christ; but when Moses returned to Egypt the second time to deliver his brethren, Zipporah was not with him. She had no part whatsoever in any of Moses' dealings with Israel or the Egyptians. Neither will the Bride of Christ have any part in Christ's dealings with Israel and the Gentiles.
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« Reply #191 on: April 09, 2008, 05:31:40 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
The Church And The Tribulation
by A. Edwin Wilson

There are those students of the Word who want the Church to go through the Great Tribulation as a process of purification whereby they will be made fit to rule and reign with the Lord. However, the Word is very explicit in the statement that all Christians, regardless of status quo, will be raptured at the same time (I Corinthians 15:23b; I Thessalonians 4:16, 17). The judgment of the individual Christian's works will take place in the heavens at the judgment seat of Christ (II Corinthians 5:10; I Corinthians 3:11-15). In the next place, Scripture again is very clear in its statement that Christians are not to experience the wrath of God (I Thessalonians 5:9, 10; Revelation 3:10). In the next place, the wrath of God is reserved for earth dwellers, which is God's designation for those who remain on the earth after the rapture (see Revelation 3:10; 6:10; 11:10; 13:8, 12, 14; 14:6; 17:8 ). These earth dwellers are the ones who go through the Great Tribulation, but we do not find them so designated until after the Church has been raptured.

In conclusion I want to say that the return of the Lord Jesus Christ for His own will usher in the blessed hope which Christians await (Titus 2:13). This hope centers around occupying a position with Christ in the coming Kingdom. There is no blessed hope for me to sit and wait for the appearance of the antichrist and his Kingdom with all the suffering that he will occasion. There is no blessed hope in my sitting and waiting for the Great Tribulation with its untold agony and indescribable horrors. The blessed hope is associated with the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who will first appear in the air and call us to meet Him up there before one single blade of grass or one single leaf on a tree shall be disturbed by the wind betokening the approach of the Great Tribulation.

Rejoice, ye saints of God. The coming of the Lord draweth nigh and we who name the Name of Christ shall be delivered from this sin-cursed world before the judgments of God shall break in all their fury.
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« Reply #192 on: April 09, 2008, 05:33:43 AM »

Prophecy - Signs
Preparation Of The Bride
by A. Edwin Wilson


PREPARATION OF THE BRIDE

When the midnight cry rings out with the announcement, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him," the question arises, how can I prepare to meet the Bridegroom other than by having confessed my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ? Meeting the Bridegroom involves preparation for the wedding, which is set forth in very descriptive terms in Naomi's advice to Ruth. In the 3rd chapter of Ruth, verse 3, Naomi tells Ruth, "Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee..." We also call to mind that Rebeka - journeying with Eliezer to the home of Isaac - on seeing Isaac approaching, alighted from her camel and put her veil over herself. Revelation 19:7, 8 also tells of preparation for the meeting of the Bridegroom, and Matthew 22:11-14 tells of what happens to the saved who are unprepared for the wedding. Let us take Naomi's advice to Ruth and consider that in a little more detail. First, Ruth is commanded to wash herself. That type is drawn from the use of the brazen laver used by the priests to cleanse themselves of the defilement accumulated on the hands and feet after they had offered the sacrifice for atonement on the brazen altar. The New Testament way of cleansing is the washing of water by the Word, which is very clearly expressed in I John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Ruth, washing herself, typifies the Christian cleansing himself of unforgiven sins. And as we who are Christians anticipate the soon coming of the Bridegroom, the first thing we are to do is to cleanse ourselves of all known sin and unrighteousness. This is done by a confession of our sins.

In the second place, Ruth, having washed, is then to anoint herself. This anointing was with oils, symbolic of the Holy Spirit. It is not sufficient to wash. One must be anointed with the perfumed oils, etc., in completion of preparation for the meeting of the Bridegroom. We who are Christians need not only the Spirit indwelling us - which we have from the time of our salvation - but we also need a special out-pouring of the Spirit of God for service and power. This we receive after we have washed. The Holy Spirit is given in power to those who obey the Lord. Such an individual has already received the indwelling Spirit when he believed (John 7:37-39). This anointing on the part of a Christian is typified by the extra vessels of oil which the wise virgins took but which the foolish virgins neglected.

In the third place, Ruth, having washed and anointed herself, is to put on her raiment; that is, her wedding garment. Again referring to Revelation 19-7, 8 and also Matthew 22:1-14, we learn that the wedding garment is made of the good deeds, righteous acts resulting from the life of obedience. There are Christians today looking for, waiting for, longing for the coming of the Lord but because of ignorance have not washed themselves, nor anointed themselves, neither have they prepared a wedding garment.

Perhaps the most pressing need of Christians is to prepare for the coming of the Bridegroom by washing, anointing, and putting on the wedding garment.

TO BE CONTINUED....
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« Reply #193 on: April 10, 2008, 10:40:10 PM »

Prophecy - Signs
The Word Became Flesh
by A. Edwin Wilson


THE WORD BECAME FLESH

The birth, life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ is one of the best authenticated historical events the world knows. Yet when He came unto His own, His own received Him not. One of the enigmas of all time is the failure of Israel to recognize her Messiah when so many Signs or marks of identification have been given unto her by the Lord. I want in this article to present five of those signs whereby Israel was to recognize her Messiah. Note the rebuke of our Lord in Matthew 16:1-3: "The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. 0 ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" The leaders of Israel could recognize and read the signs in the sky and other natural phenomena, but they could not read the signs of the times and know that the Messiah had come.

1. The first sign to which I call your attention is stated in Genesis 49:10: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." In this portion of the prophecy pronounced by Jacob upon his son Judah, the sign revealing the presence of the Messiah, who here is called Shiloh - Prince of Peace - is that when the sceptre had departed from Judah they would know that Shiloh, the Messiah, had come. The sceptre is emblematic of rulership, authority, governmental control, execution of justice. But even more than that, the most significant aspect of the sceptre is to be found in Genesis 9:6: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." This verse of Scripture gives us the very foundation and basis of all civil government. Capital punishment is here placed in the hands of man, that is, society. Instructions relative to the execution of capital punishment are given in detail in Numbers 35:30-34.

When Jacob said that the sceptre would not depart from Judah until Shiloh had come, the meaning was that the power to execute the murderer would not be taken from Judah until Shiloh had come. When the Lord Jesus Christ appeared on the earth at His first advent, the sceptre had departed from Judah. In John 18:31 we read: "Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death." Here is knowledge of the fact that the Sanhedrin, composed of the leaders of the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, the leaders of the children of Israel, knew, realized and appreciated the fact that they no longer could execute the sentence of death upon one on whom they had passed sentence. For that reason they took Jesus to Pilate that he might execute the death sentence. Every single one of that group of Jews familiar with their writings should have believed the Word of God spoken through Jacob to Judah and known that since the sceptre had departed from Judah, Shiloh the Messiah had come. Yet they recognized Him not.

2. Second, we have what we might call the Celestial Sign. Numbers 24:17: "I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth." In this prophecy of Balaam concerning the coming Messiah, he calls Him a Star out of Jacob. In the New Testament Scripture the Lord Jesus Christ is called the Bright and Morning Star; and that is one of His many Names. But there appears to be a veiled prophecy of another star that was to appear - a real star in the heavens, an unusual star, a supernatural star that would announce the birth of the Star of Jacob, the Bright and Morning Star. It is a matter of historical record that at about the time of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ there appeared in the heavens such a star. The star has been described variously, and sundry accounts of its appearance have been given by the astronomers. But we learn from the second chapter of Matthew that this star first made its appearance in the East (east of Jerusalem) at the time of the birth of the Lord Jesus. The appearance of this star in the East was an announcement manifestly prearranged by the Lord God whereby the wise men would know that the King of the Jews had been born. Knowing of His birth and desirous of worshiping Him, they soon made their journey to Jerusalem, the logical place for the birth of the King of the Jews.
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« Reply #194 on: April 10, 2008, 10:42:07 PM »

Prophecy - Signs
The Word Became Flesh
by A. Edwin Wilson

This star did not lead them to Jerusalem. It seems to have appeared as an announcement and then disappeared. They saw the star no more until they had arrived at Jerusalem and were preparing to leave for Bethlehem. When they arrived in Jerusalem they inquired concerning the whereabouts of the King of the Jews, with the simple announcement that they had seen His star in the East and had come to worship Him. When Herod had heard from the chief priests and scribes that He was to be born in Bethlehem, he informed the wise men. "When they had heard the king, they departed; and, 10, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was" (Matthew 2:9). As they were leaving the palace, the star which they had seen in the East appeared again, giving them great joy by its appearance for they knew that their journey was being prospered by the Lord.

That this star was unique and exceptional, not belonging to the galaxy of stars, was manifested by the fact that it led the wise men from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and came to rest over the house in which the child Jesus was. All of Jewry knew of this star and should have considered it in the light of Balaam's prophecy and known that the Star of Jacob had appeared.

3. Third, we have the Chronological Sign in Daniel 9:25a: "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven sevens, and threescore and two sevens. . ." This prophecy is a positive statement that from the time the decree to rebuild Jerusalem is issued until the Messiah appears will be sixty-nine sevens. The context requires that these sevens be years - making the sixty-nine sevens to be four hundred eighty-three years. Theologians have argued much as to which of three decrees which were issued was here mentioned. In one sense of the word, that is immaterial since the three decrees were close enough together that any would have approximated the date specified.

Here's what we have specifically. From the issuing of the decree by Cyrus unto the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah, was exactly four hundred eighty-three years. (See Martin Anstey's "Chronological Studies "; if not available, then David L. Cooper's.) Any of the leaders of Israel could have known of a certainty that the four hundred eighty-three years had passed and that the time of the Messiah's appearance was at hand.

4. In the fourth place, in Micah 5:2 we read: "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Here we learn that the Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem. When the wise men from the East came unto Jerusalem seeking to locate the King of the Jews, Herod, calling the chief priests and scribes together, asked of them where Christ should be born. What a revelation! Even Herod, the unbelieving pagan king, knew that the King of the Jews was to be the Christ. The wise men did not ask for the Christ, the wise men did not identify Him; they simply asked, "Where is He that is born King of the Jews?" And Herod then asked where the Christ would be born. Herod, the unbelieving pagan, puts to shame innumerable Christians who do not know that the Christ is to be King of the Jews. Herod, the unbelieving pagan, puts to shame innumerable Jews who know not that their King is to be the Christ. All of these experiences, centering around the birth of this unusual child in Bethlehem, should have been enough for Israel to know her Messiah had been born.

5. In the fifth place, we learn from the prophet Isaiah: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). This prophecy is in keeping with that of Genesis 3:15 which tells us that the ultimate victor over Satan is to be "the seed of the woman." This is a peculiar expression describing the virgin birth of that individual. The Messiah is to be the Son of God, born of a virgin. Matthew 1:20-23: ". . . behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary they wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Jesus the Christ was born of a virgin.

To summarize - the sceptre had departed from Judah, the unique star had appeared, the four hundred eighty-three years had expired, an exceptional birth had taken place at Bethlehem and a virgin had given birth to a son. Despite these five phenomenal identifying marks, Israel did not recognize her Messiah. However, all of these things will be pre-eminently true of her Messiah; and when she sees Him upon His return to the earth the blindness will be lifted from her eyes and she will behold and accept Him.
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