In The World You Will Have Tribulation

(John 16:33)

Just before His trials and ultimately death, YAHSHUA spent time alone with His disciples preparing them to face the world without Him and at the same time warning them of things to come, including persecution. After His last supper with them, He washed their feet with the purpose to teach them humility. In chapter 14 He promises to return to earth to gather His own for Himself and blessed them with His peace; He presented Himself as the only Way to the Father, the Truth that will set man free; and Life. He is the only source of life physical and eternal. In chapter 15 He emphasizes sanctification. Here, He presented Himself as the Vine and the believers as the branches.  Apart from the Vine there is no life. He calls their attention to love one another, for it is a commandment that summarizes the entire law – love for God and for others. in chapter 16 He promises the Holy Spirit; He details the nature of His ministry; and gives details concerning future persecution coming against them and encourages them to endure, for He had overcome all for them. He concludes it by saying:  In the world you will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer! For I have overcome the world (vs. 33).

The tribulation YAHSHUA mentioned was not concerning the great tribulation, as many Christians think, but it referred to persecution from the world which embraces all those who are enemies of God. If you belonged to the world, YAHSHUA said, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember that I told you. A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you (John 15: 19-20a). Persecution is a sign that the believer is not of this world.

The Two Witnesses

At the beginning of Israel as a nation, God established the law of two or three witnesses against the accused person. He said, One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity of any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established (Deut. 19:15). The importance of more than one witness in any case is necessary, for it provides protection for the innocent accused of things he has not done, especially in a court room when the accused faces the judge with his sentence: condemned or acquitted. If every court in this world would practice this law, there would be fewer innocent people sent to jail. A false witness, the Bible tells us, is an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 6:16-19).

All Is Well, There is Peace and Safety

(I Thessalonians 5)

Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians is one of the earliest of his writings. In this letter, Paul offers comfort in the midst of their persecution, by teaching concerning the return of Christ. The subject of the second coming of Christ permeates the letter, which brought encouragement for them all. Verse ten, we read, And look forward to and await the coming of His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead- YAHSHUA, Who personally rescues and delivers us out of and from the wrath which is coming and draws us to Himself.  The coming wrath of God, long time been taught, is certain as is the deliverance of His people from it. The world today, has turned toward its destruction in an unprecedented way and so fast, everyone is in awe! Peace, is the cry. The more it cries for peace, the more chaos is created, as to shape the world into one order, under the power of a few, and ultimately, one leader. The world’s government’s sovereignty is now challenged, and pressured into doing what has been dictated. The news sounds the same everywhere.  The world, as it is today, dresses alike, eats the same foods, and now it is working on one religion system. Unity, as in one order of government, and one religion, applied to the entire world, is their way to bring about “peace” through one man, the antichrist. That’s what they think and are working hard toward that goal to make it happen on their watch. The Bible says, When people are saying, all is well and secure and, There is peace and safety, then in a moment unforeseen destruction will come upon them as suddenly as labor pains come upon a woman with child; and they shall by no means escape, for there will be no escape (vs.3). In the words of YAHSHUA, But take heed to yourselves and be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened  and depressed with the giddiness and headache and nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries and cares pertaining to this life and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose; for it will come upon all who live upon the face of the entire earth. Keep awake then and watch at all times, praying that you may have the full strength and ability and be accounted worthy to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man (Luke 21:34-36).

Delivered From the Wrath To Come (Part 2)

Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial, which is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell upon the earth (Rev. 3:10) YAHSHUA’S words to the church of Philadelphia.    

God’s promise of deliverance for His faithful church has been established from the beginning under the condition, “Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance.” Conditioned as in, “forgive and you shall be forgiven.” What does it mean? The phrase the word of my patience, “Refers not to individual commandments to patience, but to the entire gospel message. The general whole of the word of YAHSHUA the Messiah communicated to men. The whole gospel, then, is so named inasmuch as it all records the patience which Christ exercised; it means that nothing in sorrow, nothing in trial, nothing in temptation, no antagonism, has the smallest power to divert us from doing what’s right.” (Maclaren’s expositions) ‘The word of My patience’ means “the word of Christ which requires patience to keep it; the gospel which teaches the need of a patient waiting for Christ.” (Vincent’s word studies).

The conditions in which qualifies the believer to escape the wrath of God are summarized in these words: “guarded and kept My word of patient endurance.” The Word of God throughout teaches endurance and patience. Two difficult things to apply to our Christian living. Without patience there will be no endurance to keep going, as in waiting for the Lord. Many so- called Christians have lost the patient and endurance of faith, to follow their ways contrary to God’s word. They walk in darkness and embrace whatever they hear from TV. They lost the very essence of God’s promise and continue walking far from Him. They lost hope in the fact that the Lord is coming, because, like the unbelievers, they do not believe in the promise and have become scoffers of it. The Apostle Peter wrote, … You must know and understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, walk after their own fleshly desires and say, where is the promise of His coming? For since the forefathers fell asleep, all things have continued exactly as they did from the beginning of creation… nevertheless, do not let this one fact escape you, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day (II Peter 3:3-4,8). Men forget that God is eternal and there is no limit of space of time for Him. He exists outside of the measure and frame of time, in an everlasting, forever in an infinite and unmeasurable time: a thousand years as a day, a day as a thousand years.

Delivered From the Wrath To Come (Part 1)

(I Thessalonians 1:10)

The consistency of God in saving His people before judgment, is remarkable and reliable. We see it in Noah’s days, when God saw the condition of the inhabitants on the earth, how degenerate, debased and vicious it was, for all humanity had corrupted their way upon the earth and lost their true direction (Gen. 6:12). He was grieved of heart for having created men. But He saw that Noah was a just and righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God (Gen. 6:9). So, Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord (V. 8). God, in His mercy, always warns His servants before His judgment comes and, in those days, it was no different. He commanded Noah to build an ark for his salvation and that of his family, for God declared to him that He was going to bring judgment on the earth through a great flood, because of the wickedness of men. One hundred twenty years took for Noah to build the ark and warn the people.  Time sufficient enough for people to repent of their wicked ways. In the year 1656 God sent judgment on the earth, 726 years after Adam died. Noah was then 600 hundred years old. He was born 126 years after Adam died, which was in the year 1056.

The earth was relatively young when God’s judgment fell upon it, but it was absolutely ripe for judgment, due to wickedness abounding. We cannot fathom what was going on in those days; it is beyond our understanding, when we read the accounts of Genesis six. When Satan rebelled against God, one third of the angels rebelled with him. Satan’s purpose was and always is to steal, to kill and destroy men. He started in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve followed him, he brought down the entire human race under his control. Therefore, we live in a cursed world under condemnation of sin, with the exception of those who have accepted YAHSHUA’S gift of salvation. One thing nonetheless, we can be sure: God did not destroy the righteous Noah with the wicked people of those days, neither will He do in the future. He spared Noah and his family for his righteousness.  So, God was consistent and just in His act of judgment yesterday, and He is today and He will always be. David prayed, Gather me not with sinners and sweep me not away [with them], nor my life with bloodthirsty men, in whose hands is wickedness, and their right hands are full of bribes, but as for me, I will walk in my integrity; redeem me and be merciful and gracious to me (Psalm 26:9-11).

Purposes of the Tribulation

The purposes for the great tribulation are clearly stated in the book of Daniel chapter nine: to finish transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place (vv. 24). Summarizing all, it is to make an end of wickedness and wicked ones.  When YAHSHUA came in the period of the sixty-ninth weeks of the seventy weeks of years given to the Jewish nation, He took upon Himself the penalty of our sin and iniquity, He suffered the pain of the tribulation and of hell, so to deliver those who would accept Him. Those who believe in Him go through the process of regeneration, and sanctification and ultimately glorification through the new birth.  As He told Nicodemus, “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you that unless a person is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God; unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of flesh is flesh; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. God so greatly loved the world that He gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life; for God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; but he who does not believe in Him is judged already, because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God; The [basis of the] judgment lies in this: The Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works were evil” (John 3:16-19).

Chosen To Salvation

(I Thessalonians 5:1-11)

Children of light, children of the day, so are we who have been born again! Here, Paul opens our eyes to understand why we are not going to suffer Tribulation, the Great Tribulation, that is: We belong to the day…for God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord YAHSHUA the Messiah (vs. 8-9). Chosen to salvation, we are destined to share in God’s protection and deliverance from His wrath which is coming upon the wicked people. This is an uplifting hope we carry with us in the midst of a stormy world. God will regard those who love Him and reward them with deliverance from His wrath. In his Psalms David prayed asking God to make a distinction between the righteous and the wicked, at the time of His judgments: Gather me not with sinners, he prayed, and sweep me not away, nor my life with bloodthirsty men (Ps. 26:9); drag me not away with the wicked, with the workers of iniquity, who speak peace with their neighbors, but malice and mischief are in their hearts (28:3). God has a special place of refuge for His saints, for He is consistent in what He is and how he acts. Examples are seen in the lives of Noah and Lot in the times of God’s judgments that came to the earth.  For those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High, they shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty (Ps. 91:1). There is no other more secure place than that of “under the shadow of the Almighty.”  The Bible promises those who do so that no evil will befall them, nor any plague or calamity will come near their tent, for He will give His angels charge over them to accompany and defend and preserve them in all their ways; they shall bear them up on their hands, lest they dash their foot against a stone.. (Ps. 91:9-12). That’s a promise for God’s saints in His purpose and will for them.

The Matter of Taking Offenses

After John had been in prison a while, he sent a message in the form of a question: Are You the One Who is to come, or shall we [continue to] look for another (Luke 7: 20b) One to come-the Messiah. John seemed to have lost focus and seemed to have forgotten the experience he had at the time when he baptized YAHSHUA and God had revealed and confirmed to him by showing him the Spirit in the form of a dove out of heaven descending and resting on Him, as  he  had said, I did not know Him nor recognize Him, but He Who sent me to baptize in water said to me, Upon Him Whom you shall see the Spirit descend and remain, that One is He Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. I have seen and my testimony is that this is the Son of God! John looked at YAHSHUA and declared, Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1: 29-36) But while in prison, things became obscure to John without outside reports from his disciples of what was happening. YAHSHUA, meanwhile, was healing many of sicknesses and destressing bodily plagues and evil spirits, and to many who were blind He gave sight (Luke 7:21). Seemly, John became offended in YAHSHUA when doubt entered his mind concerning YAHSHUA’S role as the Messiah. As a precursor of Christ, He needed to have evidences that demanded his beliefs that YAHSHUA was the One Who was to come.  That was important to him as a prophet, who had introduced YAHSHUA as the One. YAHSHUA promptly sent John an answer that confirmed once again, Whom He was –the Son of God! He sent the message to John saying, Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the dead hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the good news; blessed is he who takes no offense in Me and who is not hurt or resentful or annoyed or repelled or made to stumble (Luke 7: 21-23).

Rahab, a Woman of Importance in History- Past and Future

The Bible gives us a short synopsis of Rahab’s life just enough for us to know whom that woman was. In the book of Joshua we find the accounts about her as a prostitute and one who saved the Israelite spies. In doing so, she exercised faith and belief in the God of Israel. Rahab acknowledged to the spies what they all had heard concerning God’s supernatural deliverance of Israel from Egypt. Although, she lived among pagans, she confessed her faith in the true God- the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,  by saying, “ The Lord your God is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (Jos.2: 9-11). Her faith expanded to action to protect the spies, as a gesture of fear and respect for Israel’s God. She was chosen for that time with God’s purpose not only to save Israel, but to display His plan far off into the future. Sometimes, in our feeble mind, we get lost in our understanding of how God fulfills His plans. In the case of Rahab we wonder why a prostitute. Remember YAHSHUA’S reaction toward the Pharisees when they brought a sinful woman to Him, condemning her?  He bent down and went on writing on the ground with His finger; when YAHSHUA raised Himself up, He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you? She answered, No one, Lord! And YAHSHUA said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more (John 8: 8,10-11). No one is without sin, no matter the size of it. Rahab’s heart was right with God and when the opportunity presented itself, she chose to obey the Lord.

Joseph and the Seven Years

(Genesis 41)

Pharaoh had two dreams two of the same. It is a dream of prophetic extension to the end times. God revealed to a Gentile “what He is about to do” and is going to do in the far future. Seven fat cows and seven undernourished ones; seven ears [of grain] plump and good; seven ears withered and thin were Pharaoh dreams, which caused him unsettledness of spirit. He was eager to understand the dreams, but not one of the magicians or wise men of Egypt could interpret them.

Two full years had passed since Joseph had interpreted the butler’s dream while both were in jail. The butler promised to mention him to Pharaoh when released from jail. But as it was, he forgot Joseph’s request and went on with his life. However, God hadn’t forgotten him. His purpose for Joseph’s life was going to be fulfilled in His time. Pharaoh’s dreams were the link to get Joseph out of jail. Not one day late, not one day early. He was only seventeen when sold to the Egyptians; thirteen years of struggles and unfairness toward him had passed. God in His sovereignty saw fit to exalt Joseph when he was ready. At the age of thirty, he was presented to King Pharaoh, who exalted him to greatness.