SAINTS: I WANT TO ASK YOU ONE QUESTION BEFORE I EVEN START TO DEAL WITH OUR ANNOUNCED SUBJECT. IN WHAT WAY ARE YOU, AS AN INDIVIDUAL BELIEVER, WATCHING FOR THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH? THIS SUBJECT IS VERY MUCH TALKED ABOUT IN OUR DAY, BUT SOME OF THE IDEAS THAT PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO BE BORN AGAIN COME UP WITH, CAUSES ME TO WONDER IF THEY KNOW ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT IT. EVEN SOME WHO YOU KNOW SHOULD KNOW BETTER, STILL SPEAK OF IT AS SOMETHING THAT COULD TAKE PLACE JUST ANY MOMENT. IT IS MAINLY FOR THIS REASON THAT I FEEL LED TO DEAL WITH IT AT THIS TIME.
I BELIEVE WE HAVE SUFFICIENT SCRIPTURES TO PROVE TO ANY REASONABLE THINKING PERSON, THAT THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD CANNOT TAKE PLACE JUST ANY MOMENT NOW. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE MESSAGE IS NOT MEANT TO GIVE ANYONE ANY REASON TO BE CARELESS, OR SLOTHFUL IN THEIR CHRISTIAN LIVING, FOR THE LORD JESUS CHRIST MAY COME FOR YOU BEFORE THIS MESSAGE IS FINISHED. IF HE DOES, YOU WILL STAND IN THE RESURRECTION INSTEAD OF THE RAPTURE OF THE LIVING BRIDE. THEREFORE I HOPE YOU WILL ALL BEAR WITH ME AS WE LOOK AT THE MANY SCRIPTURES THAT SHED LIGHT UPON THIS SUBJECT.
TEXT 1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-18
In an age when so many people are talking about the rapture of the bride of Christ, the translation of the saints, the catching away of the church, and so forth, let us endeavor to make sure we understand the terminology, and also, exactly who it applies to. Many people in our day who claim to be waiting for the rapture to take them out of this world and into the presence of Jesus, could not possibly partake of that blessed event as long as they hold to their present theology and traditional beliefs. Jesus is truly going to to call some saints to meet Him in the air one day, and it probably will not be much longer, but not everyone that speaks of such an event will be a part of it, for the scriptures tell us that He will present to Himself a perfect church without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. That, of course, will rule out all those who are trying to make it in on grandma’s religion, or some Trinitarian concept of what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about. Our title for this message, “WATCHING FOR THE RAPTURE,” speaks of something every true child of God ought to be doing. Not with a telescope, but with eyes of faith, and a steadfast confidence in our hearts. To watch for that which the word of God tells us is coming, is not just a privilege we have; it is also our responsibility. But our watching must be based upon something more than just the doctrine of the translation; it must be because our lives are being lived according to the revelation of the hour, and we are ready to meet the Lord just any moment. Now please do not take this to mean that I am expecting the rapture just any moment, for as we have said before, there are still a few prophecies of the scriptures that must be fulfilled before that blessed event occurs, but those who are ordained to be in the rapture will not wait until all prophecies are fulfilled before they begin to make themselves ready to meet the Bridegroom. Yes, that’s right; if you are among that number it will be because you have made yourself ready; the preacher cannot do it for you. Revelation 19:7 says, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife HATH MADE HERSELF READY.”
TRIBULATION SAINTS NOT RAPTURED
The rapture will be the glorious climax of a certain people’s journey through life and time. It will translate those who are ready into the very presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and they shall be with Him for ever and ever. But we are told to watch, and the Bible tells us how to watch, so that is what we are going to look at in the various scriptures we will read. Naturally we will be reading after the apostle Paul; for he was the scripture writer that had the revelation of how this journey will end for the bride of Christ. He did not have a revelation, or we will say His recorded revelation did not cover the foolish virgins that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25:1-13, therefore what he wrote, was written to what he saw as the church of the living God, overcoming believers. He did not speak in a haphazard way. His objective was always consistent; and what he wrote to the various assemblies showed that he viewed all of them in the same light. It was he, who saw that there would actually be a translation of the saints. Jesus spoke of a resurrection for those who believed in Him, but He never gave any kind of order in which it would take place. Nor did He give any clues that would give anyone anything to go on; He only established the fact that there would be a resurrection. Therefore what Paul spoke concerning these things had to be spoken from a personal revelation given to him by the Lord Himself. There was no scriptures in the Old Testament that he could draw from as to the order of the resurrection, or the rapture of the saints, even though it did speak of a resurrection. Job, and David, and various others looked for a resurrection, but nowhere do we find any order given to it, or even who the beneficiaries will be, except in Paul’s writings, John, many years later as that first age was closing out, began to see things that would set in motion conditions which would enter in and run right on through to the end, making room for the fulfillment of what Jesus said about foolish virgins at the end time. In the book of Revelation, John tells of seeing a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, kindreds, people, and tongues standing before the throne worshiping God, and he is told that this great multitude are those which have come up out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Of course that scripture alone does not speak of foolish virgins, but when you read it with Matthew 25:1-13, and Revelation 20:4, you will see that this great multitude not only consisted of martyred Jews from the great tribulation, but it also included those foolish virgins, people that believed in God, looked for the rapture according to man’s traditions, and failed to make themselves ready to partake of that blessed event. We will see more of the conditions that actually set the stage for foolish virgins as we go into the message, but now, let us go to 1Thessalonians where we will actually begin our study for this message, “Watching for the Rapture.”
STRAIGHTENING UP A REVELATION
Here we have an assembly of saints that have been taught by the apostle Paul, but like everyone else, their revelation had to be tested. Conditions will always arise that will test our attitude towards the scriptures, and how they are to be applied to our life. Our faith must run in true continuity with the scriptures that are revealed in our age, and many times we have to be reminded to check up on ourselves, and see if we are truly following a genuine revelation. From what we read here in 1 Thessalonians, I would say that a lot of them had begun to question the loss of loved ones in death, for they believed that Jesus would return in their lifetime, and no doubt expected all the saints to live to see Him. They were looking for the rapture, but somehow they just had not been able to see where saints would die before it took place. Therefore I can hear them, Bro. Paul: What is the meaning of all this? What has gone wrong? Paul had laid a good foundation for their faith to rest upon, but time itself takes it’s toll, so Paul writes them this letter dealing with various phases of the Christian life, and finally comes to the part about the resurrection, and the catching away of the saints in chapter 4, verses 13-18, so let us read some of what he had to say there. After exhorting them on how to walk and grow in the stature of Jesus Christ, dealing with proper attitude and conduct, he approaches the thing that seems to be bothering them the most. Verse 13,”But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, ( What a statement. Yet this is common terminology applied to those who do not have a revelation of the Word of God. We are to be enlightened scripturally.) concerning them which are asleep, (dead) that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” Brothers and sisters, God intends for His true children to understand that which they have faith in. Of course there may be things written in the book ( Bible) in a mysterious way, but in every age God has always revealed to His true people what they needed to know to enable them to walk in the light of their age. Furthermore let me say this, God has never intended for anything to be written in a mysterious way, to confuse the saints. It is to hide truth from the world in general, so He can reveal it to those who love truth, and have purposed to walk accordingly. You can rest assured if you are walking in all the truth that God has revealed to you, that whatever else is destined to affect your life will be revealed to you also. Naturally we are speaking from the standpoint of a dedicated life of holiness before God and man, and not just that we may know something for the sake of telling it to show how much we know. I believe you understand. What we are dealing with here, is just some of the basic things that Christians are expected to grow in, as they take on the mind of Christ in their daily Christian walk.
THE FIRST RESURRECTION
Notice verse 14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus (saints that have died) will God bring with him.” Let us understand now, that when Jesus comes fulfilling this scripture, He will not be bringing any literal bodies with Him. When Christians die, their bodies are entombed, but their spirit returns to the great eternal God, who is Spirit, and therefore will be present with God in spirit form only, when Jesus comes for the resurrection of the dead, and the translation of the living saints. Alright now, verse 15, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.” You will notice that Paul is not giving reference to anything that he has read out of a book. He says this is by the word of the Lord, which means, by the word of revelation. What is revelation? It simply means that we now understand something that was previously unknown and mysterious to us. Paul had a revelation and could state positively that the living saints would not prevent, or hinder those who had not died in the faith from being resurrected when that time arrives, and to be in Jesus, is to be in Him by the baptism of the Holy Ghost, according to 1 Cor. 12:13. “For by One Spirit are we all baptized into one body, ( the body of Christ) whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free: and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” People in former ages did not have end time scriptures revealed to them in fullness; they were only allowed to see a little profile. Full understanding is only imparted to the generation of believers that will be affected by the fulfillment of these various scriptures. In other words, They will be the ones that will see the real beauty of them. God has this thing so precisely worked out, that once a scripture is revealed to you, everything else that you may have believed about it suddenly becomes history. God’s objective is materialization, in the end, of all that the church has only been able to see through eyes of faith while on her journey through time. Let me say also, Here in verse 15, Paul is not talking about when Jesus comes to earth for the Millennium; this is when He comes to ressurect the righteous dead, and translate the living element of His bride into His very presence. This will be the 2nd phase of the 1st resurrection, leaving the 3rd phase to take place immediately following the great tribulation; for that is when those martyred saints that will be killed because of their faith during that dark hour of time, will be raised to reign with Christ and His bride for one thousand years. Going into the Millennium, only the wicked dead will be left in the ground, and they will remain there until the last resurrection of Revelation 20:11-15, the great white throne judgment, where all the wicked dead are resurrected, judged, and cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. You will find verse 6, of that chapter saying, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the 1st resurrection: (Those that were raised when Jesus arose from the dead, those that will be raised when the bride is translated, and those tribulation saints that will be raised going into the Millennium.) on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him (Who? Christ) a thousand years. So you can see that there will be saints from every age taking part in the 1st resurrection, and most of them have understood very little about this event during their lifetime, but that will not prevent them from being raised to reign with Christ in the Millennium. ( A lot of people feel that we should not teach anything about the Millennium, but what we teach comes from the Bible.)
CAN JESUS COME ANY MOMENT?
I have heard evangelists down through the years of my life, say, How many of you believe in the second coming of Christ? Well naturally that is the Christian’s hope, so then they would say, How many of you believe He could come just any moment? It was all designed to work on the emotions of the people and get them down to the altar boo-hooing. (crying) but in reality they had not been enlightened to one single truth from the Bible. People have been moved psychologically, to believe, or accept certain statements that had no scriptural authority whatsoever. Right here, I must say again as I have many times before. Jesus Christ CANNOT come just any moment to rapture the church. He can come for any individual at any moment, and that is why we need to be ready and watching, but that route will take you through the grave, and you will stand in the 2nd phase of the first resurrection when the time does arrive for the rapture of the church. This statement does not take from, nor add to that which the word of God proclaims; it just simply destroys a lot of evangelistic nonsense. Even Jesus Himself did not know the exact day and hour that the rapture would take place, but I assure you, He knew what would have to proceed the rapture in order for all of the prophecies of the scriptures to be fulfilled. Now some will say, But Bro. Jackson, if Jesus Christ was God, why would He not know everything? You must first understand that Jesus Christ was God in the sense that the great eternal Spirit, the Father of all creation incarnated Him, there at the Jordan River when John baptized Him. Therefore we could say that the Father in Him absolutely did know everything, and everyone that would ever breathe the breath of life, but from the standpoint of the Son, which was the flesh man Jesus, we would have to understand that there were some things that had not been committed to Him when He walked upon earth in His prophetic role. Truly He did say,”All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” but that does not change, nor alter anything that we have said, and here is why. He was exercising Himself in His prophetic role then, He has been in heaven interceding for us in His role as high priest for almost two thousand years, and one day in the very near future He will don His kingly robe and fulfill those scriptures that proclaim Him to be King of kings and Lord of lords literally, instead of just spiritually, as He is to believers right now. So in each phase of His three fold office work He is invested with all power and authority in heaven and in earth in order to fulfill His redemptive work in the plan of the Father.
In the years prior to His first advent, some of those Jews might have thought that their Messiah could come just any moment, but you know, and I know that He could not come even one day before His appointed time, and that time was determined in the mind of the great eternal Spirit, His Father, the one who counseled with Himself before the world was ever created. On the other hand the very moment He arrived on the scene the Spirit of God announced it. Brothers and Sisters, these are some of the basic things that believers should be getting settled in their minds by now. Yes, He can come for me at any moment, but if He does, I will take my place among those that sleep in Jesus, and we will still have to wait until time itself has materialized to coincide with the mind of the great eternal Spirit. Therefore with this in mind, let us read verse 16, of our text, and please notice the three fold identify that Paul the great apostle to that first age, gives to His coming for the church. I believe Paul was actually seeing this in a visionary way. First he says, ” For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, ( and secondly) with the voice of the archangel, ( and thirdly) and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” This lets me know that when time has expired to the point for this event to take place, there is not one single thing that any man could do to hurry it up, nor to delay it, not even for one hour, for it is all activated from the heavenly realm. Now I realize that there is still a lot of confusion among the followers of Bro. Branham’s message about what the shout consists of, or what it is, but I will say this in defense of the scriptures, Whatever you term the shout to be, it is for one specific purpose, to get your attention. When you yell or shout at someone, it is to get their attention. That is why I am convinced that the shout has got to have a profound meaning, and that it is not to the dead, as many believe. If Paul here, was saying that the shout is what will get the dead out of their graves, then how could he justify what he said in Romans 8:11:? “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, (there is your key; you must have that same Spirit dwelling in you before you die, that Jesus had dwelling in Him.) He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (make alive) your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Do you see what I mean? It is that Spirit in you, that is going to give life back to your dead bodies, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you, so just be sure you know that you have been awakened to the reality of what is about to come. Furthermore, be sure you do not wake up and head in the wrong direction.
THE VOICE AND THE TRUMPET
Saints, I want to use a certain term right here, but first I want to be sure you understand that I am not speaking of three persons of the Godhead as a trinity minded person might be prone to do, for we know that God is one. Now here is my point. It is the three personages involved in verse 16. First I want you to notice that it is the Lord Himself, the God-man, our Lord and Savior that gives the shout. That is to wake us up to scriptural reality. But the voice of the archangel speaks of another being. God has followed a pattern of having certain great events announced by the voice of an archangel. Gabriel announced the birth of John to Zecharias, and how he would fulfill his part of Malachi 4:5-6. He also announced to Joseph how the birth of Jesus would fulfill Isaiah 7:14, and announced to Mary concerning the birth of Jesus and of John, and so forth, but my point is, there is a phase two of the total event commonly referred to as the rapture, and that pertains to something that is to be announced during an interval of time between the shout and the last trump. In the first advent setting, neither John, nor Jesus came on the scene without it first being announced by the angel of the Lord. But who was the announcement to? Not to the world; but only to those that would be directly involved in the event. I hope you are getting this, for this lets me know that there is to be something announced pertaining to this event prior to its occurrence, and it will only be heard by those who are to particpate. The drunks in the local tavern will not hear it, and neither will the tares that my be sitting among the saints, but if that same Spirit dwell in you that dwelleth in Jesus Christ, you, if you are still alive at that time, will hear it, for it will be something pertaining to the total event that you will need to know. But now we come to the third phase, if it may be properly referred to like that. This is a little hard to express in a way that will give a clear picture, because this trump of God is not referring to the God-man Jesus. It is referring to the great eternal Spirit. For He is the one that has the last word in every event. Throughout the Old Testament you will find the trumpet associated with the voice of Jehovah. Maybe I can use a little illustration that will help. In the old U.S. Cavalry, then the commander had the trumpeter blow the charge, every last one of those cavalrymen knew exactly what to do, and that was their signal to commence. Likewise, this verse 16, will have its fulfillment in the same manner. How did those cavalrymen know what to do when they heard that trumpet blow? You say, Why, they had been taught what it meant. Al right we have the same situation here. The shout awakens an element of people spiritually, the voice gets them ready, and the trumpet turns it all loose. It is by the authority of the great eternal Spirit that the trumpeter is being held from blowing the charge, and He is the only one that can give the signal, or word of authority to blow the trumpet. Therefore Brothers & Sisters, it is not the shout that the dead in Christ will hear, and it is not the voice of the archangel that they will hear; all of this is for those who are still alive when time for this event corresponds with God’s perfect time table. But Praise God! When that trumpet sounds it’s blast, it will be heard around this world, and saints from all ages will come forth out of the ground. Hallelujah!! There is not one thing that any preacher can do to change the present physical state of the dead man. Furthermore, the dead do not have to worry or even think about when the rapture is going to take place. He does not have to lay there wondering, How am i going to have faith enough to get up out of this grave? No, He has been laid to rest, having the seal, the security, and the promise, that the same Spirit which raised up Jesus Christ will also raise him up when the time comes. That is why the Bible tells us that the Holy Ghost is our rest. He is the promise that fulfills all promises. Therefore those who hear the shout and the voice of instructions pertaining to that cherished event will be those who are still living, having the Spirit dwelling in them.
WE SHALL ALL BE CHANGED
Let us go to 1 Corinthians 15:51 now, where we find Paul dealing, not with the rapture, but with the resurrection of the dead. He says nothing whatsoever about a shout, nor does he mention anything about the voice of the archangel, for he is dealing strictly with the part that brings the dead back to life, the resurrection. Notice, “Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” Right here is where some people stop, for they go back and get the scripture where Paul, this same apostle, said to the Hebrews, in dealing with another subject, “And as it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment,” and they will say, The Bible says we are all to die. They never bother to get the setting; they only take the words that were spoken. But when you stop to realize that Paul was dealing with the penalty for man’s sin in the garden of Eden, then you realize that after the death sentence was imputed to mankind, that has been the lot of every generation since then. But when you go into 1 Cor. 15:51-58, Paul is dealing with a time when God is again going to change the trend of things, a time when death will cease to rule over mankind. He is talking about a day when ( Picture: The Modern Councils of Churches That Claim to speak for millions of Protestants) death is going to be swallowed up in victory. He says, I am going to show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. He just puts the living saints, and the dead saints all together and says, We shall all be changed, and Praise God! We surely will. Now notice this next verse. He skips the shout, and the voice of the archangel, and goes directly to the sounding of the trumpet. ” In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” He doesn’t bother to mention the shout, nor the voice of the archangel here, because he is dealing strictly with the resurrection of the dead, but you rest assured, that when that trump sounds for the change it will be both for the living and the dead saints. Revelation of the word of God comes when the Holy Spirit helps us put one scripture with another scripture until a complete picture is formed of the thing we are looking at. That is why we have no right to expect every little detail of any event to be covered in any one place in the scriptures. But Paul is the one that had the revelation of the resurrection, and of the rapture, and therefore we can put complete confidence in what he had to say about it. Please remember though, that the last trump he mentions here has nothing whatsoever to do with the seven judgment trumpets sounded to the nation of Israel, beginning in Revelation 8:7, to vindicate the ministeries of God’s two witnesses to them.
INCORRUPTIBLE AND IMMORTAL
Let us yet look at the remaining verses of 1 Cor. chapter 15, and notice what Paul says in connection with the trump he is dealing with. Verse 53, he is explaining the change, so notice. “For this corruptible ( the dead) must put on in corruption and this mortal (That is those who are still living but have a death sentence hanging over them.) must put on immortality.” Immortality means that the death sentence has been removed and those that are left alive shall never die. 54 “So when this corruptible shall have put on encryption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall it be brought to pass this saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” Praise God! Death is swallowed up in victory. For these, death will have no more hold, but death is not completely out of the picture, for there are yet many tribulation saints to be martyred in that dark hour of Antichrist rule upon earth. Nevertheless, for those that are changed according to the scriptures we have just read, death definitely is out of the picture. Therefore Paul went on to say, “O death, where is thy sting: O grave, where is thy victory? The stings of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Saints: There is total victory up ahead, so press on. Keep a strong faith in Him who is able to perform all that He has promised to them that love Him and follow His word. When the change is completed there yet remains the catching up, to meet the Lord Jesus in the air, to ever be with Him, and Paul says, that we should comfort one another with these words. That simply means that we should remind and exhort one another with the words of the believers hope that lies just ahead of where we are today.
DO NOT BE IGNORANT
Let us go back to 1 Thess. chapter 5, where Paul goes ahead saying, “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. (Naturally he is speaking of years and months and anything that would give anyone any reason to set a date for this blessed event to take place.) For yourselves know perfectly that they day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night,” To some this might sound like a contradiction to our remarks about the previous verses, but to whom will He come as a thief in the night? Certainly not to those who are scripturally watching for His return. It is the world in general that He will come like that. As for those who are awaiting His return, certainly some of them shall be asleep, taking their night of rest, for when it is daytime on this side of the globe, it is night time on the other side. That is the reason He said there would be two in the field, one would be taken and the other left. It would be daytime in their part of the world. But then, He went on to say that there would be two in the bed, one would be taken, and the other left. They would be on the night side of the globe. But that is not what Paul is referring to here. He is speaking of a time when the people of the world are so taken up with worldly concern, that they will not even know what is happening until the wrath of God is upon them. Let’s let Paul speak to us now. Notice verse 3. “For when they ( Who? People of the world system.) shall say, Peace and safety; then cometh sudden destruction upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” The world has never yet come to the place where they could say, Now we will have peace and safety. They have tried, and they are still trying to get a world peace agreement signed, so they can sit back and say, Well now, for the first time in the history of mankind we do not have to be worried about war. We finally have peace and safety throughout the whole world. They will have such a peace agreement signed, but do you know what scripture that will fulfill? Daniel 9:26, when the peace agreement is signed, with the Antichrist overseeing it, and controlling it. How long will it last? Three and one half years, and then cometh the great tribulation upon those that are left here after the rapture takes place. We will say more about that when we get into 2 Thess., where Paul actually speaks of this man of sin, the Antichrist, that shall be revealed. We have had our U.N. Charter, and ever since the miserable thing was signed, we have had more bloodshed and turmoil then whole world over, so it did not produce a condition of peace and safety. Neither did the European Peace Pact, the League of Nations, nor any other effort, but they were all forerunners of the one that will seem to secure a peace and safety condition for the world, but Paul says, When this condition finally does exist; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child. What woman is there among you that can predict the exact time that your travail pains will start, when your time for delivery is drawing nigh? In this case you would be looking for them, but usually when the first one hits, it startles you, so that is what Paul used to exemplify the suddenness, or sureness of the (the Contender, Bro Turners picture and comments)worlds pain of travail. Having to depend upon the translators choice of words, at times, is a little unhandy, but we are sure that Paul’s revelation was consistent, and in line with all other scriptures, so we must make the application according to the total picture instead of just one verse that might sound like sudden destruction would be immediately following such a peace pact. That is why Paul started out by saying, Brethren, I would not have you to be ignorant. He made sure that they had every opportunity to understand what the Spirit of God had revealed unto him. Therefore in verse 4, of chapter 5, he could say, “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. No, it will not slip up on a rev elated child of God, for they will be watching the signs that forerun what the Lord will do, and when the rapture takes place, they will have made themselves ready to meet their Lord; therefore they will not even be here on the earth just prior to that destruction. They will be with their Lord in glory. Therefore I say to you here in Faith Assembly, Let your mind rest at ease in the scriptures, and avoid this condition of spiritual darkness that is upon so many church going people of the world. They take what Paul said about the rapture, and lay it alongside what John said about a great multitude that overcame the beast, and so forth, and they become completely confused. You can hear them talk, and pray, and they do not know if the bride will have to go through the tribulation or not. They do not know if the rapture could take place tonight or not and they do not know if the battle of Armegeddon is the same as the battle of Ezekiel 38 or 39, or not. That is why I have been preaching on this Ezekiel conflict, and that is why I have said, You, as church, are not going to leave here in the rapture until you have seen Ezekiel 38 or 39 fulfilled first. It is a Middle East setting, but there will be far reaching effects that may very well drastically change our lifestyle. Nevertheless when it is over, Bride, you can know that the coming of Jesus the bridegroom, is close at hand. But not before then. Hallelujah! Brother, that war will let us know that the word of God is being fulfilled according to prophecies that have laid right there in the scripture through the ages. But only right here in this last age, has the true people of God been allowed to understand the significance in God’s total plan of redemption and restoration. Why are we privileged to know these things? Because we will be affected by them, and because we are children of the light. Why are we children of the light? Because we have been born again. Saints of other ages had no need to know exactly what would precede the rapture of the church, but we do, because we are living in the age when not to know would leave us in darkness. 5 “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
WATCH AND BE SOBER. That word sober, is usually associated with, and is the complete opposite of being intoxicated with liquor. To be sober is to have your right mind, and able to think properly. Therefore when you give verse 6, it’s spiritual application, “Let us not sleep,” it simply means, Be spiritually awake to all that pertains to your hour of time. He says, ” Let us watch and be sober.” Well, you have to be awake in order to watch, and you have to be sober, (serious minded, level headed, spiritually alert) in order to know what to do about what you see.
Do not ever think Paul might not have known what he was talking about. He was so sure of what he taught, he could preach it, and then just sit down, cross his arms, and defy any man to preach anything different. In the Galatian letter, he wrote. If we, or even an angel from heaven, preach anything different (any other gospel) let him be accursed. 7 “For they that sleep sleep in the night; (spiritual sleep in spiritual darkness) and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.” In Revelation 17:1-2, we find John speaking of a great whore with whom the Kings of the earth have committed fornication, (spiritually speaking) and the inhabitants of the earth have been drunk with the wine of her fornication. (Her doctrines) This is a prevailing condition in the world today; but the true children of God are not a part of that spiritual darkness. 8 “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, (Not partaking of any of those doctrines of spiritual darkness; putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake (remain alive until the end) or sleep, (die, and must be resurrected)we should live together with Him.” The world is appointed to wrath and destruction, because their hope is wrapped up in man’s wisdom, and his great worldly achievements, but we that are of the day, (walking in spiritual light) have our hope in the integrity of the word of God that promises salvation to all who believe and obey God in this present life upon earth. Out lot is to be with Him while He is pouring out His wrath upon those who have ignored Him, or blasphemed Him. In the world of religion, there are those who are so uninterested they are not even drunk on the false doctrines of religion; they just want to be left alone, to sleep on in their spiritual darkness. But there are others that completely intoxicated with their doctrines and church programs in their state of spiritual darkness, and neither group has any idea at all as to whether the coming of Jesus is close at hand or not, from the standpoint of the scriptures. They have no spiritual armor whatsoever, but we are exhorted to put on the whole armor of God, keep awake, be sober, love one another, and comfort one another with the words of our hope of salvation, knowing that He who has called us into this glorious light, will perform all of His good pleasure on our behalf. We will not worry about our dead brothers and sisters who have died in the faith, for God will bring them with Him, and rejoin them to their resurrected bodies before anyone is caught up to be with the Lord. What a blessed hope.
WHY THE VOICE?
After Paul had no doubt received a reply to his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, it seems that he felt compelled to write them another letter in which he would go into more details, clarifying this subject of the resurrection and translation of the saints, and he refers to that event as, our gathering together unto Him. We are in 2 Thess, and we will begin with verse 1. “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” Before commenting on these two verses, let me review a little of what we have already read from 1 Thess. 4:16, especially about the voice of the archangel. I consider it very important to our understanding these scriptures, to realize that there will be some saints alive at the end of this age, that will have something communicated to them by the voice of an angel of the Lord. I do not want to say very much about the shout, for we already have too many ideas floating around as to what the shouts consist of. But this voice of the archangel is something that carnal man cannot tamper with, nor duplicate. This voice is going to declare something to those living saints that will be partakers of the rapture. I mentioned this earlier, but now I want to explain exactly what I meant. The scriptures themselves declare that certain events will take place, even to the point of telling why, and in some instances even setting an order for them to occur, as in our text. But now, listen to me for a few minutes, and I will believe you will see something here. Just suppose that Elizabeth, after being barren for so many years, had suddenly began to feel a change in her body, without having first been told what to expect. She was an old woman, well past the age of childbearing; so what do you suppose she would have thought was wrong with her, when she began to feel that strangeness in her body, after conceiving seed that would actually fulfill scripture? I can just hear her crying to Zecharias, Honey, there is something wrong with me. Furthermore Zecharias never would have been struck dumb. He would have kept his voice, and just wondered what was wrong with his wife, but no. An angel had appeared to him sometime before that, saying, “Fear not, Zecharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink, and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before Him, in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Brothers and sisters: I want you to know, that Malachi 4:5-6, had been laying right there in their scriptures for four hundred years, and the people of Israel looked for this Elijah that was to come, just like grace age Christians have looked for the rapture, but if that angel had not appeared to Zecharias and informed him of what was taking place, would he have known: Would he have known what to name his son? Would they have known what purpose of God was to be fulfilled through their son’s life, if the angel had not communicated that information to Zecharias: Of course not. It was necessary for God to inform those who would be directly involved in the fulfillment of those scriptures, of the part that was not recorded in the written word. It was the same with Joseph and Mary, when time came for the Messiah to be born. The event was prophesied in the scriptures. Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bare a son, and shall call his name Immanuel, or Emmanuel.” In Isaiah 9:6, For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” it goes on to speak of Him sitting upon the throne of His father, David, and so forth, and all Israel was aware of these scriptures, and they looked for their Messiah, but do you think that young virgin girl would have known what was happening to her when she began to feel the change in her body, knowing that she had never been informed ahead of time? You know very well, that she would not have known what was wrong with her. The scriptures that give the setting for such an event had been right there for over seven hundred years, but no one knew what generation that virgin would live in. Only God Himself knew what young virgin of the nation of Israel would bare a son that would one day be their Messiah. God had the young lady picked out, and no one need know anything in order for the Holy Ghost to overshadow her and cause a supernatural conception. But just suppose it had been done without first informing her: She was already engaged to a man named Joseph, she knew she was a virgin, and Joseph believed she was, so just imagine what great conflict of emotions the young lady would have experienced, if one day she began to feel the life of a little baby within her. Surely you do not think that she would have suddenly figured out that she must be the virgin Isaiah spoke of. I believe you can see why it was necessary for God to send His angel to communicate with her in this matter. It enabled her to look upon everything that would happen, knowing that God was fulfilling His word spoken by His prophets of old.
MARY HEARS FROM GOD
Notice, in Luke 2:26-35, what Gabriel actually said to Mary. “And in the sixth month (that was the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy) the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin;s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this would be. (He still had not given her the main message, therefore she wondered why anyone would be speaking to her in this manner) and the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. (Picture: stand ye still and see the salvation of the Lord, man facing cross) And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” The angel went ahead and told Mary about her cousin Elizabeth, being with child also, and then said, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Then Mary answered him, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy word.” That angel of the Lord not only told Mary that she was going to conceive; he told her how she would conceive, and also that she would bare forth a man child, and even told her what to name him, and capped it off by telling her that He would be king, and that His kingdom would be forever. Mary’s only question was a natural one that anyone would have asked, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” But when she received an answer to that question, she immediately submitted to everything that had been presented to her.
THE ANGEL APPEARS TO JOSEPH
What the angel told Mary did not help Joseph any though, for when he discovered that she was with child, he determined that he should just quietly break their marriage agreement, and fade out of the picture, and do it in such a way as not to publicly embarrass her; therefore it was necessary for God to send His angel messenger to him also; in order for him to be a willing participant in this plan, for in the natural genealogy he would be looked upon as the father of this child Mary was carrying. We will not read that scripture, but you may want to read it later, how the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, “Fear not t take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” (Matt. 1:18-25) Alight, the instruments through which this great event would unfold have been informed, therefore they will not have to guess about anything that they should do. After the angel appeared to Joseph, he immediately did according to the word of the Lord, taking Mary to be his wife, but withholding himself from her until after the birth of this child. Then when the child was born, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and placed in a manger, what did God do to make his birth known? Out there on the countryside were shepherds keeping watch over their flock at night, when suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to them, with the glory of the Lord all around them, and they were afraid. But the angel said to them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host Praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” When the angels were gone, those shepherds went immediately to verify what they had heard, and when they found that it was all true they broadcast the news abroad, and caused many people to ponder in their hearts, just exactly what all that meant. Nevertheless the announcement was made that the Savior was born, so all that heard of it had their opportunity to know what was transpiring, and therefore did not need to be unaware of what was happening 30 years later, when Jesus came to John to be baptized of him.
OUR GATHERING TOGETHER
Brothers and sisters: I hope this helps you to understand why I say that they shout, and the voice of the archangel, as pertaining to the time of the rapture, is for the living saints at that time. The shout and the voice will get all the living saints ready for what will take place when the trump of God sounds to set the resurrection and the translation in motion. Paul had taught this to the Thessalonian church, and admonished them to comfort one another with those words, but something had been misunderstood somewhere along the line, and there was a feeling of unrest among those saints because of it, therefore in his second letter to them, Paul attempts to put their mind at ease. So now, we will get back to 2 Thess. 2:1, where we will begin reading, to see how Paul ties the resurrection, and the rapture to world condition. This lets us see that you cannot take this event called the rapture of the church, and apply it just anywhere, and at any time you please, no more than they could with the first advent of Christ, for the great eternal spirit hold those things sovereignly in His own power. Now notice verse 1,” Now we beseech you brethren, (He is not talking to the world, he is talking to believers and the word beseech did not convey the thought, listen if you want to. it strictly meant, you pay attention to what I am going to say.) by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, ( the rapture) That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” To be shaken in mind is to be disoriented, confused, full of doubts and fears, and unable to let your mind rest upon the truth of God’s word. Throughout the various realms of denominational religion one can find hundreds of opinions both in books and verbal statements, concerning the resurrection of the dead, and the rapture of the church. Some have the church raptured before the great tribulation, and others have her going through the tribulation. Therefore a hungry soul, without a genuine revelation on this event, could not find much rest in their mind. God wants our mind to be at ease, but most of us have been brought up through these various systems, and until we receive a genuine revelation about something, our mind is still subject to many of our traditional thoughts, and many times they bring on a state of confusion, and cause us to be unnecessarily troubled. That caused Paul to say, Do not allow this condition, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us. What exactly was he referring to? Simply this, no matter what you see or hear that supposedly comes from the realm of the Holy Spirit, if it does not line up with a true revelation from the word of God, do not allow that spirit to trouble you. No matter what word someone may have for you, if it does not follow continuity with the scriptures, do not allow yourself to become anxious nor troubled, not even by a letter from us. In other words, just because I wrote you that first letter, giving you the order in which the resurrection and rapture would take place, don’t you get all shook up, and sell your property, and go off someplace waiting for it to happen. (Various groups have been doing that, you know). That is not Paul’s words, but that is what he was getting at, for these forewarning spirits will always run ahead of the Spirit of God, and they can only succeed among people that do believe in the working of the Holy Spirit, but are without true revelation of God’s word. many people are claiming to have the Holy Ghost in this Laodicean age, but the very fact that so few of them are ever led into a revelation of the word of God proves in itself that their claim is not vindicated by the very spirit they claim to have. For as we have pointed out, over and over again and again, Jesus said, When He comes, He will guide you into ALL TRUTH. But Paul is writing to true saints that truly do have the Holy Ghost; therefore he knew that all they needed, was to have the truth presented to them, and that would settle it, so he went on, saying, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day ( the day of our gathering together unto Jesus Christ, the rapture) shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”
THE FALLING AWAY
Evangelists for the last fifty or sixty years have used the falling away part of verse 3, trying to scare people into joining their churches, and some of them could literally make the hair stand up on your arms, as they would paint their picture of a great falling away from Bible precepts, and in many ways, you would have to agree that in the overall scope of world religion, convictions have been slipping away from people for most of those years. But what Paul was talking about goes much deeper than that. He was referring to the kind of falling away that has been taking place among the people who were supposedly restored to the word of God by the message of the prophet to this age. Falling away from revealed truth presents a much more serious situation than just falling away from traditional religion, even if it is the same spirit behind both. We will see in verses 10 & 11, of this chapter, how God deals with people who have no love for the truth, But right now we want to lay our emphasis upon the fact that the rapture of the church is definitely tied to a world condition that must materialize first. There must be first a great falling away from Godly principles and convictions that have been founded upon the truth, and we are seeing that as never before. But then, there must be revealed the man of sin, the son of perdition. ( The Antichrist) Of course we already know what office he will come from, but we do not yet know if the present pope of the Roman Catholic church is the individual man that will fulfill that Antichrist role, or whether he is the one or not, we do know assuredly that he has been busy laying the groundwork for what is soon to materialize. The whole world is seeking peace, and we know there is not going to be any true world peace before Jesus Christ sits upon His throne in the Millennium, but this Antichrist person whoever he turns out to be, will help negotiate something that will pass off as a great world peace agreement, and by then the true bride of Christ will know who he is; he will be revealed to her. Therefore as this apostate condition prevails more and more in the overall scope of religion, the little bride of Christ will have her spiritual eyes and ears open, and she will know that the time of her departure is getting closer and closer. The world will not see it, because they are children of the night, but those who are children of the day will know what is about to take place. Does that mean that Ezekiel 38 and 39 might not hit until after the rapture? No, of course not. Do not allow these great peace overtures to lull you into a false sense of security; for that war of Ezekiel 38 and 39, must still be fought before this week of Daniel starts, in order for the time tables allotted to both to work out properly, God will not have Israelis burning weapons from that Ezekiel conflict, over in the Millennium, and Ezekiel 39:9, lets us know that they will be years baring up all those weapons that are left behind. We also know that the week of Daniel starts when the Antichrist peace agreement is signed, and seven years later, Jesus and His saints will be back on earth setting everything in order for the Millennium. Knowing the order of all these things that are yet to come is what keeps the born again children of God on a true course while the world is going berserk.
THE GREAT FALLING AWAY
I cannot help but think back, how 20 or 30 years ago the church world in general still had some genuine Bible convictions and kept their moral standards up, and how they have let every kind of compromising, devil designed social program move in and replace them. The most effective tool the devil has used to accomplish this, has been the gospel singing groups of the past two decades. Most of them are no more living for God than a jack rabbit, but this generation loves entertainment, and they will sit there and listen to whatever comes along. They do not want to be classified with the hippy rock bunch out there, but they will accept that same beat, just as long as it has a few words to it that can be identified with the Bible. Those singers will get up there and swing and sway to that Satanic beat, and sing and talk about how they love Jesus. If they really loved Jesus, they would leave that junk alone. I certainly do not want to hear it: it does not entertain me one bit whatsoever. Saints: Just stop for a moment and realize where that beat came from. It certainly did not originate in the church, but the so called churches have accepted it, and thrown their doors wide open to whatever follows it in. You could take that same rhythm down here to these disco dance halls, and they would twist, jump around, and do what they do just as well to these so called gospel songs as they do to the others. The only difference is the words. You consider that along with everything else that is being done in the ranks of religion, and you will have to agree that the falling away is almost accomplished. These deteriorating spirits among church people are just like a bunch of maggots in an old dead carcass; they just keep eating away. Social programs, politics, and entertainment take up their time, and the word of God has no real place. Perverts have moved in and forced themselves into leadership positions, and a general trend of immortality and spiritual decay is dominating churches that formerly stood for Bible principles; therefore we would have to say that the falling away is upon us. Every area of life is affected by it, spiritually, morality, politics, social structures, economy and everything is affected by this falling away that precedes the Antichrist and the rapture. Women are demanding equal rights, not only in business and labor circles, but also in the ministry of the gospel of Christ, or maybe we should just say, in the churches, for they know nothing of the true gospel, or they would not be demanding equality in the ministry. But nevertheless, in spite of all that is going on in the world, we are admonished to comfort one another with these words that Paul has spoken. Our comfort and assurance comes from knowing that God is still in control, and that He provides for His own, no matter what the world may do. We are not appointed to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, and we are not to be deceived, because we know the truth. We will not expect the rapture to take place before its time, for we know what must precede it. That is how we properly watch for it; not expecting it to take place at any moment, but watching those things that lead right up to it. On the heels of this great falling away, Paul said, that man of sin would be revealed, this son of perdition who is also know as the false prophet.
FROM PEACE TO TERROR
Let us go on now into verse 4, and listen to Paul tell what he will do (this man of sin). “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” How he is not going to act like that at first, This is what he will be like once Satan has anointed him to fulfill his 3 1/2 year reign of bloodshed and terror. Before that hour arrives though, he will be a peace loving, hand shaking, baby kissing pope, seemingly doing everything possible to further the cause of world peace. That is how he gains the confidence of world leadership, and stands in a place to be chosen by them to oversee their great peace plan. Then after 3 1/2 years of overseeing this peace covenant, Satan anoints him to fulfill what Paul was describing here. That is when he will break the peace covenant, move into the temple of God in Jerusalem, kick the Jews our, and in every way possible project himself to be God. He will blaspheme and oppose everything, and everyone that in any way seems to be Godlike. That is when Jewish believers in God, and foolish virgins from the grace age will begin to be slaughtered because of their faith. The time of the great tribulation will be in effect, and all that Daniel and John wrote about, concerning that hour of time, will follow. It was not necessary for Paul to see everything that would transpire in connection with the falling away he mentioned, and the Antichrist that would follow. What he wrote to those Thessalonian believers was all they needed to know, for they would not be involved in any of the actual events that they were being told about, except the resurrection itself, and being caught up to be with the Lord forever. On the other hand, those of t his age who will be alive to witness the various events of the end time, needed to have more information than what Paul wrote. That is where Daniel and Revelation, comes into the picture. Neither one of them take anything from what Paul wrote; they just fill in the details. Now some will say, But, what about the temple? There is no temple in Jerusalem. Brother: Listen to me. Something is going to take place over there, that will give those Jews their temple spot, and I assure you this, When they get it, it will not be long before that temple is built and completed. It will not upset the scriptures if they are building that temple during the first half of the week of Daniel, but you can believe this, they will be offering sacrifice upon that altar long before the temple itself is built. You can confirm that, by reading the 3rd chapter of Ezra, and see what they did back then, before they even laid the foundation for the temple. They first established their form of ancient worship of Jehovah, and then they went to work building the temple. But let us get back to Paul’s letter. He says in verse 5, “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? ( This proves that he had taught them concerning these things, but somehow it had just not broke through to them.) And now ye know what withholdeth that he ( the Antichrist) might be revealed in his time.” In our language of today one would just say, And you know that it is the Holy Spirit that is holding him back until his appointed time. “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” This mystery of iniquity, refers to the spirit of Antichrist, and not to the literal man himself. Even in 54 A.D. Paul could see that the spirit of Antichrist was already at work. Then by 96 A.D. when John wrote the book of Revelation, Satan had already sent out minor agents, minor Antichrists to harass the church, but none of that pertains to this MAN of sin that Paul is writing about here. Of course the last part of that verse refers to the Holy Ghost,, for He is the one that will hinder, or prevent this man of sin from coming on the scene ahead of his appointed time, and when his hour does arrive, it will be the Holy Ghost that withdraws His holding power and lets him make his move. The Holy Ghost have been among the Gentiles for over 1900 years now, convicting and wooing them to salvation, through our Lord Jesus Christ, but there will come an hour when God has determined that His Spirit should no longer deal with Gentiles in this way. That is when the Holy Ghost will cease to hold back the spirit of Antichrist; therefore the man of sin will then be free to move upon the scene, and when he does, the true church will know him, he will be revealed. Time and conditions has produced his office; we know where he will come from, but as I ALREADY SAID, We do not know for sure if the man who presently hold that office is the man that will fulfill the role of this man of sin. Daniel 7 and 8 lets us know beyond any shadow of doubt that his office is established in and through the Roman Catholic church; the fourth beast system upon earth has produced that. We can say also, His office has been established gradually over a period of many years of time, but when the man himself is revealed, that will not be a slow gradual process. World conditions, and the demand upon him will allow him to step right into his end time role as the man of sin, this son of perdition, the Antichrist that is to come. This world is right on the brink of another terrible conflict, one that will have universal repercussions, and this time it will not be the United Nations that establishes a peace plan; it will be the pope of the Roman Catholic church, and if this present pope is still in office at that time, then it is he, that will fulfill this diabolical plan of Satan.
COULD POPE PAUL II BE THE MAN?
Let me just say a few words about this present pope. in the short time he has been in office, he (picture of man with black hat and the choice between Life and Death) has traveled more miles that any of his predecessors, making speeches to great multitudes of people. He has a profound way of speech. It seems that he is just able to melt the hearts of those who hear him. Furthermore, coming from Poland, he knows how to deal with, and co-exit with communism, and that is a necessary characteristic, in this age when the spirit of communism is so widespread. He makes speeches that just leave politicians and communist leaders standing in awe. Therefore all we need right now is another world conflict, and I can guarantee you, that if this present pope is still alive, and in good health, (able to travel about) his unusual personality, and his ability to get things done will project him right into the role as a world peacemaker, to fulfill the scriptures. World leaders will not be looking for a man who will point them to the Bible. Oh, no. They will be looking for one that will promise them more dollars, no more war, better security worldwide, and a brighter future for their families. It will all have a religious front, but there will be nothing spiritual about it. Now I realize some will say, Now Bro. Jackson: That all seems a little far-fetched, and to some, I am sure it will, but to those who are alert to the reality of what mass destruction could be wrought upon the old world, if nuclear weapons should begin to be turned loose, I am sure they realize the seriousness of what I am saying. I say, On such a brink of disaster, world leaders will rush to the negotiating table, and be more than ready to sign a peace covenant that will fulfill Daniel 9:27. Therefore the world is going to need a peacemaker, a negotiator, a mediator, and Satan will have certain man waiting and ready to step into his role, so that brings us back to verse 8, in the 2nd chapter of 2 Thess. “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, (this Man of sin) whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” This of course, speaks of how the Lord will deal with this wicked one when He returns to earth with His saints to set up the Millennial reign, but that will not take place until the end of seven years that have been allotted to the Antichrist. In other words, this is when Christ comes back to earth to rule and reign, and not when He comes to rapture His saints in the beginning of this seven year period of time.
SELF STYLED HOLY PEOPLE
According to Revelation, chapter 19, all the armies of heaven will be with Jesus, when He comes back to earth to fight against this man of sin and all of earth’s corruption, and this time He will not come as a thief in the night to them. He will come in power and glory, taking vengeance upon all that is ungodly. When he comes to rapture His church, He will come as a thief in the night as far as the world is concerned, for they will not know what is happening, but when He comes back, seven years later, every eye will behold Him for He will be coming back in wrath. Brother I want you to know though, the last 3 1/2 years of that 7 years is going to be hell on earth, for that old Antichrist with all his evil forces will be stalking the earth with a death decree against all Gentile virgins, and all Jewish saints, and they will butcher them like hogs at the slaughterhouse. During that time evil and ungodly men will desire to die, and death will will flee from them. According to the 9th chapter of Revelation, the bottomless pit is opened up, and every tormenting spirit held therein is loosed upon earth to torment ungodly mankind. They wanted their great hour of manmade peace, and God will let them have it, but this is what it will turn into, hell upon earth. They will desire to die, but God will not let them die until their cup of wrath is full, and then Jesus and His armies will descend from heaven and destroy them. Verse 9 tells how this man of sin makes his appearance, and lets us know why the world at large will receive him so graciously. Notice, “Even him whose coming is after the workings of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.” Naturally this is speaking of political power, and not of supernatural power, and it is a known fact, that by political maneuverings, the Catholic Church is always able to stay on top of every situation. If you do not think I am speaking the truth, just go back and read your history books, and you will find that through the ages of time, in every conflict, the Catholic church always manages to end up on the winning side, even if she has to change sides. That is how she has maintained control over so many people through the centuries of time since she came into prominence. Verse 10, goes ahead describing the tactics of the man of sin who gains his power through political wonders that are brought about by lying and deceiving, and so forth. And with all deceive ableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; ( He will not deceive the true body of Christ, but he will deceive all the rest.) because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: (or the lie) That they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” It was necessary for God to send a prophet messenger to this age, to cry out against Antichrist systems, and point God’s true people back to His word. Otherwise we would still be sitting in our Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Pentecostal and whatever other denominational systems we were in. Furthermore we would be all wrapped up in this spirit of deceive ableness that has captured the multitudes. Where did it all start? It started when Rome put out her great plea for a united brotherhood. This ecumenical spirit was loosed upon mankind, and it is leading denominational religion right into the arms of old mother Rome. This Glossolalia, and Charismatic movement is leading it all right back to Rome, but it could not happen until after the had their opportunity to receive the love of the truth, and they rejected it. Therefore God Himself sends them strong delusion by certain manifestations which causes them to follow signs and wonders. He does it to bind them to that old religious system that the world looks upon as the church, so He can judge it all together when the times comes. All will be damned who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness. Now please do not allow yourself to think that it is only those who love to go to the beer joints that are unrighteous. God will have mercy on that person a lot sooner than He will a self righteous, self willed, self styled holy creature. This is the kind of holy people that condemned Jesus and sent Him to the cross. This is the kind of people that actually made up false charges against Him, and cried Crucify him! Crucify him! Then when Pilate would have released Him, they cried, Give us Barrabbas. Therefore they are already condemned in the eyes of God, and their judgment lies before them. As children of the day, we can see these things that are taking place throughout the world today, and we know they point to the soon coming of Jesus Christ. But we also know that His coming has to be in accordance with the word of God, therefore we are watching those world conditions that will lead right into it. Jesus said, When you see these things, then lookup, for your redemption draweth nigh. Brothers and sisters: I hope none of you think we say these things trying to get glory to ourselves, for all glory, honor and majesty belongs to Him who died for us and rose again, that we also might have hope of redemption. Praise His wonderful name! Hallelujah! Yes we can, and should watch for the rapture, but we should and must watch scripturally, knowing in our hearts that God will not bypass one single prophecy of the scriptures in order to hurry it up for us.
GREAT TRIBULATION FOR WHO?
What we are going to look at now will not affect those who truly do go in the rapture, but since there is still so much speculation about the great tribulation, what it is, when will it be, who will go through it, and what is the purpose for it, along with two or three dozen other questions, I think it would be good just to take a little time right here, and deal with it. I heard a radio preacher trying to teach on it the other day, and he was having the whole week of Daniel as the great tribulation, and saying, But don’t worry, the saints will be raptured before that starts. Well, in reality he had one point correct; the saints will be raptured before the great tribulation starts, but not necessarily before the week of Daniel starts, for the signing of the peace covenant that also includes the nation of Israel is what will mark the beginning of the 7 year period of time known as the 70th week of Daniel. Therefore to give that whole week of time to the great tribulation, throws everything else out of its scriptural setting, so let us take a little time to examine this subject.
THAT CERTAIN PEACE COVENANT
This is definitely a teaching subject, so I am trusting the Lord to help me make everything clear and easy to understand, and above all else, scripturally established. First of all let me ask you this, Do you know where this great tribulation terminology originated? You do not find it in Daniel, where the events of it are first mentioned. Actually Jesus Himself was the first to make mention of it, in Matthew 24:21. It is a period of time associated only with the last half of the week of Daniel, when the Antichrist breaks the peace covenant with the nation of Israel. But first, there has to be such a covenant signed. The Roman pope may sign treaties with ever so many nations in the months and years ahead of us, but until the nation of Israel is included in one of them, please do not jump the gun, to start the week of Daniel. God Himself will start that week, for He is the one that keeps all prophetic time, and He knows exactly when to move men to fulfill His will, and when He moves upon the nations to sign that particular peace treaty, then we will have something precise to calculate remaining time by, for however long we are still here. In the meanwhile, we must calculate seasons by world events, especially in the Middle East. It is really a time for Christians to begin to be very wise. I just happened to catch a few minutes of the P.T.L.Club on TV the other day when Mr. Baker was interviewing people to build upon the rock kingdom, and I just thought to myself, yes, what you are saying is true, but you are looking at the whole thing through dollar signs; you are not taking heed to the words of Jesus. Do not ever forget that Jesus said, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine and Doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock.” Was Jesus having any reference to money when He said that? You know perfectly well that He was not; He was talking about Godly character and a pure revelation. But He also said, “And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand.” That would be those who try to live a Christian life, but avoid the true teaching of the overall word of God. We are living in a day when people by the thousands, just follow anything that looks or sounds good to them, without even giving any thought as to whether it follows a pattern laid down by the Bible. The truth is, Most of them do not even know their way through the Bible, therefore they would not know how to test it by God’s word, yet they profess to be born again. That is a very commonly used terminology in our day, you know. Dear Brothers and Sisters: I hope you every one realize that none of us have anything to be proud about, for if the grace of God had not reached down and lifted us up, where do you suppose we would be today? I am thankful to the depths of my heart, for the grace that God has bestowed upon me.
DANIEL’S FOURTH BEAST
Let me get back to Matthew 24:21. “For then shall be GREAT TRIBULATION, (In every age, trials and tests have always been common, but none of them could ever be considered great tribulation in the sense that Jesus was speaking of here, for this is a certain specific period of time.) such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Notice this next verse.) And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Now saints, we need to realize that even though these two verses did truly have a type setting fulfillment in 69-70 A.D., to the Jewish people, that still was not THE GREAT TRIBULATION: that was just a projection of the spirit of this one that is just up ahead. You that have not read our article titled,”THE ABOMINATION THAT MAKETH DESOLATE, might want to get that article and read what took place in Jerusalem, in 69 and 70 A.D. But when you do, just remember this, the great tribulation that is yet to come will be much, much worse than anything that happened back then. That is what Jesus said, It will be a time like there has never been before, and there shall never be another time like it, and verse 29, lets us know that what took place in 69 and 70 A.D. in Jerusalem, was not it. Notice, “Immediately (not 6 months, nor 2 years later, but immediately.)after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken? ( This did not take place in 70 A.D.) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” This definitely is not referring to Jesus coming to rapture the saints, for that has already taken place. This speaks of when He comes back to earth, with His church, and all the armies of heaven, in power and great glory, to rule and reign for one thousand years, right about the end of the great tribulation period of time. Nevertheless the last half of that week of Daniel will be the worst time this old world has ever known. We have to go back to the 7th chapter of Daniel to pick up the symbolic language where this period of time is first spoken of. Let me say this also, Every scripture in the Bible, that speaks of this period of time is in perfect harmony one with the other; there is no confusion. Here, in this chapter, Daniel describes a dream he had, in which he saw 4 great beasts come up from the sea and go through their cycle, and the fourth was the most terrible and dreadful of all. He even saw that fourth beast go through judgment and his body destroyed. He sees himself inquiring of an angel as to what all this pertained to, and he wants to know especially about this fourth beast, so let us pick up in verse 19, and be aware of the fact that this fourth beast was the old Roman Empire. He says, “Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse (different) from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with is feet; (see verse 7 and 8) even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.” He watched that fourth world kingdom go through its cycle of changes; then after it had devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet, it was finally brought to judgment and destroyed. Brothers and sisters, that covers a great span of time, but it is a picture of what the old Roman empire did in the Middle East and Western Europe. When it says in verse 23, that it shall devour the whole earth, you have to realize that it is referring to the old world, where these great empire stamped their influence, and ruled and reigned with such authority. The Roman empire never did rule, nor devour the Orients. It never did penetrate beyond the borders of India; therefore it is strictly a Middle East and Western Europe setting. The only reference to the eastern nations is in the 16th chapter of Revelation, in connection with the kings of the east being brought to the battle of Armageddon, which is definitely the last war that will ever be fought on this planet.
THE LITTLE HORN
Saints, we just have to assume that most of you already know a lot of those things from history and from other articles we have printed, for we could never justify the time, nor the space that it would take to fill in all the details leading up to where we are reading, here in Daniel 7. The beast had ten horns that were in his head, and there came up from among them a little horn, before whom three of the other horns fell. This little horn had eyes like a man, and a mouth that spake great things, and his look was more stout than his fellows. We know from church history, as well as from secular history, that this is speaking of the rise of the papal power as it came up through, or from the midst of those ten horns of Western Europe during (picture of the beast with the littlest horn looking like a man with a crown on his head)the Dark Ages, until it finally reached such a place of power in Europe, just before the breaking of the Reformation period, that it literally took control of heads of state, and stamped down their authority, and he proceeded to change times, and laws, and such like. Do you know that the whole western world today, observes solar time by a calendar that was designed by the Vatican? We call it Roman time, but actually, it is Roman time that has been revised by the Vatican, instead of the old Roman ceasers. This little horn works out to be the pope of the Roman Catholic Church, and that brings us to verse 21, which actually deals with the great tribulation. This verse could very well have a compound meaning, covering other periods of time, but its climax is in the last half of the 70th week of Daniel, for verse 22, shows that it continues until Jesus comes back to judgment. Notice now, “I beheld, and the same horn (that little horn) made war with the saints, and prevailed against them: (That is your Gentile foolish virgins and Jewish saints, that will be martyred during the great tribulation.) Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High: and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom,” Judgment is given to the bride of Christ, and she rules and reigns with Christ throughout the Millennium. As we continue reading, you will hear the angel explaining the 4th beast that was so terrible in Daniel’s vision. Verse 23, “Thus he said, The fourth beast SHALL BE the fourth kingdom upon the earth, (BABYLON, MEDIA, PERSIA, GREECE and then ROMAN; these are the 4 great world kingdoms that appeared as beasts in(picture of symbols of beast, ecclesiastical Babylon mystery) Daniel’s vision, and the Roman empire was the fourth.) which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.” The Roman empire went through many stages that made it different from the others, and finally, papal power gained the supremacy over the emperors, and that allowed that fourth kingdom to be ruled by what we now know as the Catholic church. But let us read some more scripture. Verse 24, And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: ( That is your ten kingdoms of Europe that made up the territory over which this Roman beast ruled.) and another shall rise after them; (the pope gains authority over political rulers.) and he shall subdue three kings.” The first ten horns on that fourth beast were political horns, ( horn speaks of power) and that is why that, even though it seems that this little horn that arises from their midst should make eleven horns on it, it really does not, for this little horn is ecclesiastical power, church rule. The Catholic Church took dominion over those kings of the old Roman empire. That is why this last horn that raised up from the midst of the others was so different from them; he was a religious power, ursuping religious authority. The apostle John in his vision, saw seven heads upon his fourth beast, and this papal head was what made up the seventh, for the seven heads were 7 forms of rulership over the Roman empire which was the fourth beast, that had ten horns. We will see how that 7th had was wounded, and how it was healed, a little later, but first we want to finish this scripture. Verse 25, “And he shall speak great words against the most High; and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given unto his hand until a TIME ( one year) and TIMES (two more years) and the dividing of time.” (another 1/2 year) This is a great tribulation setting, and it is those tribulation saints that shall be given unto his hand for 3 1/2 years to be martyred because of their faith in God. The length of time in which this shall take place is spoken of in symbolic language, but the time itself is not symbolic; it is literally 3 1/2 years of time, in which this devil incarnated pope of Rome will rule, and actually sit in the Jewish temple showing himself as God. Naturally this 3 1/2 year period of time is not called great tribulation here, for Jesus is the first to refer to it as that, but from these scriptures, we get our first glimpse of the whole picture that is revealed through other scriptures. Just reading here we do not know whether these saints of the most High are Jewish or Gentile saints, but as we go into the book of Revelation, we see that it is both. Also, it is from other scriptures that we learn what this symbolic mention of times breaks down to be, for as we get over in Revelation, we find it mentioned as 42 months instead of in this way.
WHAT SHALL THE END BE?
Right now, let us go to Daniel 12:7 for another mention of this time element involved. This is dealing with another experience Daniel had, and the answer that was given him when he wanted to know the truth of it. “And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand unto heaven, and swear by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half time; and when he (This he, is that little horn that arose from the midst of the ten,) shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” What things? You may wonder. Verse 1-6, speak of a time of great trouble such as never was before; it speaks of a resurrection, and of deliverance of all that have their names written in the book of life. So verse 7 answered the question of verse 6, How long shall it be to the end of these things? Daniel heard all of this, but that did not clear it up for him, so in verse 8, we hear him saying, “And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, What shall be the end of these things: And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” These things were written in a symbolic language enough to keep the wicked from being able to pick up the book and read exactly what was going to take place, yet the children of God, living in the generation that would see these things take place, have been led by the Spirit of God, to understand what they mean. Yes, the wise will understand, but this wicked and ungodly generation of perverts and murderers, will not understand. They will go right on in their self willed way until the end, and get worse and worse every day they live. Any time you have a society of people that demand to do exactly what they want to do, you have nothing but hell on earth, and that is exactly what we have today. Any man or woman in their right mind, would not want to do any more than what they felt would be right, and proper in the sight of God. It is the same with God’s angels; they are so thankful, and they love God so much, they only want to do what pleases Him. That, my Friend, is true freedom. None of those people that are always demanding their freedom, will ever know what true freedom is, for they are slaves to demon spirits, and what they want to do, and all the time, they think they are gaining freedom to do exactly as they choose to do. Well, God is going to let mankind have the kind of leader that will turn all these spirits loose, and that is when men will seek to die, and death will flee from them. God will keep them alive to partake of the kind of life they have been fighting to achieve, one that will allow anyone to do anything they choose to do, any time, and any place.
1260 DAYS PLUS 75 DAYS EQUALS?
Brothers and sisters: We are living in an hour when professing Christians can find a form of religion somewhere that will suit their desired way of life, pacify their religious feelings, and give them their social standing in society, but there is not much wisdom in that kind of a life,and certainly no salvation. That is a life of deception, one that just lulls you to sleep, and God moves on off, and leaves you. True, wisdom is knowing how to look at the word of God through the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Ghost, and knowing what hour we are living in, just before the return of Jesus Christ. We do believe the word of God, and we are persuaded that when He comes, He will find some true saints that have made themselves ready to be ushered into the wedding. These are the wise ones that will understand the scriptures we are looking at in this message. So now, let us look at verse 11, which is a confirmation of 9:27, that speaks of the Antichrist breaking the peace covenant and this is when the great persecution of the Jews begins again. 11 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, ( the Jews will be driven out of their temple, and the old Antichrist will take control of it, and that will initiate the great tribulation period.) there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. “You will notice that there is an extra 30 days included there, beyond the 1260 days allotted to the great tribulation. That is not a mistake, and neither does it cause confusion. I am persuaded that at the end of 1260 days of the rule of the Antichrist, Jesus will come with His saints from heaven, and begin to pour out His wrath upon this earth, but that will not be finished in a few minutes of time, it will run into days, and that will account for extra days in verses 11 and 12. Notice verse 12, “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” That gives you another 45 days on top of the 30, which adds up to a total of 75 extra days between the end of the Antichrist’s allotted time, and the actual starting of the one thousand year reign of Christ upon earth. That 75 days will be the time elapsed during the wrath of God poured out upon ungodly mankind, then getting the planet back in order for the Millennial reign, and actually setting the Millennium in starting order. Jesus said, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken,” so we can see that everything is going to be terribly disrupted during that time, but when His wrath has accomplished it’s purpose, He will pull everything back into it’s intended order, and set about cleansing and sanctifying the defiled temple, getting it ready for the Millennium, for Christ Himself will rule from the temple in Jerusalem throughout the next one thousand years. We have already mentioned it, but if you will turn back to Daniel 9:27, with me, we will read that verse and see where he (the Antichrist) will confirm a covenant with many for 1 week, and in the midst of the week he will cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease, meaning, to break the covenant agreement, and start persecuting the Jews that have enraged him during the first 3 1/2 years of that week. 9:27 “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for 1 week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Jesus Christ is the true Prince of Peace, and when He comes to earth to rule for one thousand years, it will be a rule of peace, and He will not have to get the nations to sign a peace agreement. He will establish peace by chaining up the old trouble maker. Satan. But this false peace maker will have to do it man’s way, but before he does, the scriptures will be fulfilled, 1 Thess.5:3, ” For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape. There has to first come a time when the world will feel at ease, and begin to say, Well, we finally have peace an safety. God will let them live under that false peace for 3 1/2 years, and then it will suddenly become hell upon the earth, as the bottomless pit is opened, and all those tormenting demons turned loose upon wicked mankind.
WOUNDED HEAD HEALED
I have said it many times before, and I do not mind saying it again, I believe the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 and 39 is what will so shake the world that their leaders will rush to the peace negotiating table, sign a peace pact, and appoint the pope of the Roman Catholic church as the overseer of it. Since the signing of such an agreement is what actually starts that last week of Daniel, I look for this old world to get a terrible shaking. The scope of Ezekiel 38 and 39 will be a lot greater than a lot of people expect. People of the world are going to feel that we are on the brink of total annihilation. You talk about shuttle diplomacy, that old pope is really going to be busy.Then when the agreement is signed, the man of the world is going to lean back and say, This is wonderful. This is what we have needed for so long. We can build houses now, and not have to worry about them being blown all to pieces. We can send our children to college and not have to worry about them being called to the battlefield as soon as they are finished. No wonder Revelation 13:8 says, “They worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast.” Now we know that no same person would be likely to bow down and worship him through their systems of religion, not recognizing the spirit of the man. Now while we are here in chapter 13, let us read verse 3, which speaks of the wounding of one of the 7 heads of that old Roman beast, and of it’s healing, and how the world responded. “And I saw one of the heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” When Daniel first saw that fourth beast it only had one head, but John later saw it with seven heads, and one of those heads was wounded unto death, but later healed. I will be brief, but maybe a few words of explanation will clear up any question you may have about these heads. As long as Rome was ruled by the ancient Ceasars (those of that royal family that passed the throne from one to the next in line) the fourth beast (Rome) had only ONE head. But NERO was the last one of that royal line of ceasars, and when he died there was no one to inherit the throne. From that point seven heads begin to develop on that old beast, and when the angel spoke to John, in Revelation 17, he told him that five were fallen. The seven heads were seven kings, and rulers of the Roman empire, after the death of Nero, and the five that were fallen, were the five good emperors that tried to re-establish another line of Caesars, another royal family) but never succeeded in doing so. Nevertheless each of them did succeed in establishing a form of political government that caused them to be looked upon as a political head upon the beast. They left the scene, and time passed, and Constantine was the next outstanding emperor that ever established any form of imperial rule that could be considered a head on that Roman beast. Other men sat upon that throne before Constantine, but he was the only one that could be considered head number 6, and when he passed off the scene, over 400 years rolled by before head number 7 appeared. His name was Charlemagne, and it was his form of imperial ruler ship that the popes began to exercise the authority of the papacy above. Charlemagne was the seventh head on that old beast, and the 8th head was an ecclesiastical head, and therefore did not put eight heads upon the beast, for only political heads were recognized as such. Therefore the beast continued to have only seven heads, but it was obvious that the eighth was in control. It was just a case of blending the seventh form of imperial rulership and ecclesiastical rulership together. Little by little the papacy took control of that seventh form of imperial government, and that is why the Bible says that the eighth is of the seventh. it was the wounding of that ecclesiastical head by the Reformation, that John saw, and he thought it should have been wounded to death, but along come eccumenicalism, and through the world council of churches, all the Protestant daughters have been led back to mama, ( Roman Catholicism) and in so doing, that deadly wound has been healed. The old pope is just about ready to resume his beastly rule. All he needs is that spirit of Satan that is to come up out of the bottomless pit, (Hell) enter into the man for the duration of his allotted time, (three and one half years of beastly rule in the last half of that week of Daniel) and then go into perdition. (Destruction)
CONDITIONS FULFILL BIBLE PROPHECY
Now some may ask, Why should such a peace loving man as the Roman Catholic pope in that hour, suddenly take on a beastly attitude, and conduct himself like a demon? I am convinced that during the first 3 1/2 years of that week of time, something will agitate him to the point where he can no longer contain his feelings, and I believe it will probably be the ministry of those two Jewish prophets that prophecy to the Jews for 3 1/2 years, and constantly warn them of what the pope is destined to do. In the eyes of the world, those two prophets will be nothing but troublemakers, stirring up trouble in a time of great peace, and do not forget who is overseeing the peace agreement. Why would he not be provoked to wrath by what they will be doing and saying there in Israel? They will be exposing everything, and everyone that had anything to do with that peace agreement, and the news media will be broadcasting it to the world. That is how the people of the nations will be able to to see their dead bodies lay in the street for 3 1/2 days without being burred. Television will broadcast it to the whole world, just like they have the incident in Beirut, Lebanon. The ministry of those two prophets is going to upset the whole social structure in Israel, and it will cause great feelings to swell up between the political Jews that agreed with the peace covenant, and the spiritual Jews that never have signed it. It will bring about a condition almost like the one that brought Titus and Jerusalem in 69 and 70 A.D. Jew against Jew, until it gets to the point where something has to be done about it. The old peace promoting man of sin will be forced to make his move, for 3 1/2 years of those two prophets is all he will be able to tolerate. That is when Satan will make his move. While the old pope is building up certain human feelings toward those two prophets that are causing so much disturbance, old Satan will take him over, and that is when the blood bath starts. He breaks the covenant, has the two prophets killed, refuses them entombment, and begins a widespread persecution of the Jews and anyone else that professes to believe in God. That is what is meant in Daniel, when it speaks of the overspreading of abominations. It is the ushering in of excessive hatred. In Daniel 12:7, it speaks of scattering the power of the holy people, so even that far back, it was prophesied that this satanic instrument would do something to scatter the children of Israel. What else could that be but Israel fleeing for her life in the dark tribulation hour? (Rev. 12:6) True saints know what he will do to gain the confidence of world leaders, and that is why Paul could say, That day of our gathering together unto Him ( Jesus Christ) shall not come except there first come a falling away, and that man of sin be revealed, that son of perdition, the Antichrist, false prophet, and false peace maker. He was not teaching that the church would go through the tribulation, he was just using the beginning of that peace agreement as a sign factor for believers. When you see these things taking place, Look up, for your redemption draweth nigh. He also told them that God has not appointed them to wrath, but to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ. The wrath he was speaking of, will be the great tribulation therefore somewhere about the time of the signing of that peace treaty, the living bride saints will be caught up to be with the heavenly bridegroom, Jesus Christ. That leaves on earth, the foolish virgins, and the Jewish saints, to face martyrdom at the hands of the Antichrist forces. These Jewish saints that will be martyred, are not the same ones that will receive the message of the two prophets, for that group are the ones that will flee into the wilderness to hide for 3 1/2 years. Daniel saw that little horn speaking great words against the most High, and said he would wear out the saints of the most High. Therefore those who cannot see the foolish virgins of Matthew 25:1013, as being saved, get in trouble trying to explain how the church can be raptured before the great tribulation, and yet have the Antichrist wear out the saints of the most High during that time. Then when they get to Revelation 7:14 and see that great multitude, some from every nation under heaven, that purged themselves through martyrdom during the tribulation; they just have to say, Well, we will let time itself reveal who they are. Brother: I thank God that I know already, for I would not rest with such uncertainty in my soul, Will I go through the tribulation, or will I not? Let me just say this, and we will bring this to a close. From every nation under heaven, there will be saints raptured to be with Jesus during that tribulation hour, and from those nations there will also be foolish virgins that will be martyred during that time, and also there will be some people left alive upon earth, good moral people from every nation under heaven that will pass into the Millennium to repopulate the earth. But we do not learn these things just drifting along nonchalantly without ever allowing the Holy Ghost to teach us, and neither can we make ourselves ready for the rapture just drifting along like that. Jesus Christ is coming back for a God fearing, truth loving, Bible studying, praying, Holy Ghost taught church, that has followed all the truth that was revealed in her hour, and that is why I say, young people; Do not get so wrapped up in material things, that you neglect your own soul. Go ahead and build houses, plant potatoes and prepare to live here another twenty or so years if that should be the will of God, but do not neglect to have your soul ready to meet your maker before the sun goes down tomorrow, it that should be His will instead. No, the rapture cannot come that quick, but He may call you as an individual, therefore be ready, regardless of the cost to your flesh. Watch for the rapture, but watch scripturally instead of traditionally. Do not allow yourselves to be sidetracked by signs and wonders, for God still has tare bundlers out there. They are speaking in tongues, praying for the sick, and supposedly doing God a great service, but they have no love of the truth; therefore God Himself is sending them strong delusion, that they might believe the devil’s lie and be damned.
Keep your eyes upon the Middle East, and especially upon the nation of Israel, for all the present signs are pointing toward Ezekiel 38 and 39, and the rapture will not be very far beyond the climax of that. May God bless you. Amen.