The Near Future of Planet Earth

The Management of the Universe

The Man in Charge of the Universe

"The teaching of the New Testament is that now, at this very moment, there is a Man in heaven appearing in the presence of God for us. He is as certainly a man as was Adam or Moses or Paul; he is a man glorified, but his glorification did not de-humanize him. Today he is a real man, of the race of mankind, bearing our lineaments and dimensions, a visible and audible man, whom any other man would recognize instantly as one of us.

"But more than this, he is the heir of all things, Lord of all lords, head of the church, firstborn of the new creation. He is the way to God, the life of the believer, the hope of Israel, and the high priest of every true worshiper. He holds the keys of death and hell, and stands as advocate and surety for everyone who believes on him in truth. Salvation comes not by accepting the finished work, or deciding for Christ; it comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole, living, victorious Lord who, as God and man, fought our fight and won it, accepted our debt as his own and paid it, took our sins and died under them, and rose again to set us free. This is the true Christ; nothing less will do." (A.W. Tozer) 

Entering a New Dispensation

“In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory." (Ephesians 1:4-12)

The Greek word translated here, "dispensation," is οἰκονομία which literally means "the management, or the economy of a household." Ray Stedman's discussion of the "history this term as used by Bible scholars is very helpful. All signs point to a sudden intervention of history now by God as He orchestrates and directs the story of mankind and the history of the world. (For more on the Greek see Footnote.)

My teacher and mentor, Ray C. Stedman wrote in July 1967:

"All around us in the world today men are doing things, and it is right and proper that they should. Men are to work and to plan, they are to dream and to hope, and they are to try to accomplish things. It is right for the government to try to govern and for statesmen to try to accomplish their goals. All of us have something to do.

But what our age has tragically forgotten is that the only activity which will change anyone ultimately is what God does, not what man does. That is where we need to focus our thoughts. And we need to see what it is that God is doing. One of these days, we all recognize and know, even though we hate to admit it, all the vaunted, proud, symbols of our civilization as we know it today are going to be brought low, to crumble into dust, to be lost in the debris of the ages. All the knowledge on which we pride ourselves today will be lost in some forgotten tomb. Man's glory shall fade. All the accomplishments of our present day which give us such self-satisfaction will become nothing but obscure references in some future history, if anything at all. And what will endure in that day is the work of God.

These great facts, revealed in this letter (to the Ephesian Church), will still be as brilliant and untarnished in their reality as they are today. Rudyard Kipling once wrote about the British Empire, Far flung, our navies melt away, on dune and headland sinks the fire. Lo, all our pomp of yesterday is one with Nineveh and Tyre.

America's greatness is going to fade, as is Russia's, and as is that of all the nations of the earth. But one day, when that day comes, the things which will be true are these great facts. Therefore, if we want to endure, if we want to lift our eyes above the plodding, puny circumstances of our own present experience to the greatness of what God is doing, we must give our attention to these great thoughts -- planned before the foundation of the world, begun even before there was an earth, designed to reveal the greatness of God's grace, his compassion, his tenderhearted love, his forgiving ability, his power restore, available through the one Person who in all the scope of history is able to accomplish what no other man could do, Jesus Christ himself, and resulting at last in the healing of all division and the breaking down of every barrier. That is what Ephesians is all about. It is a story of how God is breaking down division.

We are so aware of division, aren't we? We are divided within our homes, divided in our work, divided into cliques and camps and nations, all against one another, with all the consequent hurt and injury and malice and hate and prejudice. God is at work to remedy that. He is healing it. He has already begun. He is breaking down the barriers, removing the hate and enmity, restoring and bringing together.

Remember what Jesus said: "All those who are with me gather, and all those who are against me scatter," (Matthew 12:30, Luke 11:23). You can tell whose side you are on by the effect of your life. Are you gathering, or scattering? Are you healing, or hurting? Are you bringing together, or breaking up? Which is the direction of your life? Well, God's great movement in our lives, as individuals, and in history at large, is to heal and make whole, to bring together all things in Christ, to restore harmony once again in his universe.

The exciting thing about that, according to this letter to the Ephesians, is that it has begun already. It has begun in us. We are the first ones to set it forth. We, the church, have felt the force of this great movement of God. We have found it in our homes -- the barriers are beginning to break down there, the divisions are beginning to be healed. The harmony is beginning to emerge in our church life. And the more visibly it is evident, the more the world will see God at work. That is what this letter is all about -- how to allow this healing flow from the great God behind all things, through his Son Jesus Christ, to touch our individual lives and heal us of all our illness and injury. No wonder this great apostle cries out,

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies." God at Work

For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will,
according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time,
to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will,
we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory.
(Ephesians 9-12 RSV)

TheTimes We Live In

From Ray Stedman: I found some interesting things recently. I focused upon this phrase,“the times and the seasons” which Our Lord mentions in Acts 1:7 and which is also referred to by the apostle Paul in First Thessalonians, the fifth chapter. He says: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1)

What did Our Lord mean when he said “The times and the seasons are not for you to know”? Particularly what are these divisions, times and seasons?

I began to investigate the meaning of this from the actual Greek words. Times is the word chronos (or chronoi in the plural) from which we get words like chronology, chronometer and other instruments and sub-sciences that have to do with time. The word seasons is the word kairos (or kairoi in the plural). These words have very distinct and different meanings.

I found that the word time simply refers to the succession of moments, to duration. It is just a period of time, marked out and it has reference to the length of that period, whether it be a few years, a few moments or a few decades or centuries. These can be called a time. The word is used in Galatians when it says, “When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his son, made of a women, born under the Law.” [Galatians 4:4]

It simply refers to the succession of moments, to the length of time in which any event may occur. The word seasons has to do more with the character of what is happening during that time. We use the word in this way in our own English vocabulary. We speak of the four seasons of the year: summer, fall, winter and spring. In each of these seasons something different is occurring. A different mode of life prevails. Certain human activities are restricted to various seasons. We have the winter and summer sports seasons, the harvest season, the planting season, all of these relating to the various divisions of the year that are commonly known as seasons. They are characterized by something that is going on during that time.

These are divisions of times and relate to the characterization of that which is occurring within it. I discovered something interesting concerning the use of these two words by the great authority on New Testament words, Bishop Trench. He compares these two words. He also points out that that time is simply a word expressing duration, limited to no particular length of time but simply meaning the number of moments, ages or years in which an event occurs. And then he stated something that I found to be most interesting. The seasons (or the kairoi), he said, are "the joints or articulations in these times, the critical epoch-making periods, foreordained by God, when all that has been slowly and often without observation ripening through all the long ages is mature and comes to birth in grand, decisive events which constitute at once the close of one period and the commencement of another."

In view of some of the grand decisive events that we have been seeing in the Near East, this was most significant to me. Bishop Trench wrote in the nineteenth century, long before any of these things were happening. He went on to refer to certain events of Christianity as seasons of this nature.

The pronouncement by Constantine making Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire constituted the end of a season and the beginning of another. The rise of the Protestant Reformation constituted a season within the times of the gentiles in which a great and significant event came into being. One epoch closed and another one began and later on ran its course and then closed and another began.

When Our Lord uses the term “the times of the Gentiles” the word he employs is really the seasons of the Gentiles, the kairoi of the Gentiles. He said,“Jerusalem shall be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles”, which is a phrase that obviously signifies sovereignty and supremacy. Jerusalem would be under Gentile domination and control until the seasons of the Gentiles have run their course, have been fulfilled. Any student of history looking across the centuries recognizes various seasons the nations have had. We can recognize times when God has moved in a quieting way in human history with seasons of rest, refreshment and enjoyment that have come upon the earth. The nineteenth century was a season like that, when for a time men thought they were solving all their problems.

I remember even as early as the first two decades of this century that men still thought that way. I can remember during my childhood the atmosphere of optimism that still widely prevailed. Even after World War I, men thought that they were on the verge of solving all the great problems which mankind had been confronted with and that we were on the edge of a golden age that would soon dawn with peace, prosperity and plenty for all. Some of you who are older can recall how there was an excitement, an attitude of anticipation that ran throughout the earth. During those days men really thought we were in a time when we were right on the verge of rushing in the millennium by virtue of man’s efforts.

Then the dark days of the Depression hit, followed by the catastrophic blows of World War II and the nations seemed to go out of their minds with a madness that pervaded the earth. Men were at one another’s throats in the greatest war history has ever known and all men’s beautiful golden dreams were shattered in the blood, sweat and tears of World War II. You hardly hear anyone talk with that kind of optimism anymore. Now a great despair grips people’s hearts all over the world. The violence that stalks our cities’ streets has made our President this very week (July 1967) set aside today as a day of prayer. It is almost unprecedented in American history that the President would call for national prayer in the face of an emergency like we are facing in our country today. All of this, coming hard on the heels of the greatest catastrophe and convulsion the world has ever seen, has served to dispel all the fatuous dreams of man’s accomplishments and they are long forgotten.

We moved from the season of peace into the season of controversy and of war. This has occupied the whole course of gentile history. There has been the rise and fall of nations, of kingdoms and of empires, coming to their zeniths and reigning for a brief time and then fading out of the picture. Then another great world power would come onto the scene, move in and take over with its variation of civilization, leaving its imprint upon the nations. Then it would also fade out. All the time in this great convulsion of the nations of the earth there come what the New Testament calls “perilous times.” The apostle Paul predicted this. He said perilous times shall come in these last days.

Unfortunately many Bible students read that as though he meant the “last days” as only the final days before the Lord returns. However, any careful study of the New Testament will show that the “last days” began with the coming of Jesus Christ to earth and we have been in the period called the last days ever since that time. It has stretched now for almost two thousand years. What the apostle says is that in these last days repeated cycles of perilous times will come, characterized by men being lovers of their own selves, truce-breakers, fatuous, violent, and cruel, etc. We are going through one of those seasons now (1967). If we adopt Our Lord’s phrase referring to these seasons, then what he meant when he said that Jerusalem would be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times (the seasons) of the Gentiles be fulfilled is clear. It is simply that when Jerusalem was recaptured by Israel and the temple site again came under the sovereign domination of a nation of Jews, this would be the last of the seasons marked out for the Gentile nations.

This would mark the end of their appointed seasons and Gentile supremacy would run its final course and, as we have predicted in various sections of the scriptures, would express itself in a terrible blasphemous exaltation of man that would find symbolic expression in the glorifying of a man in the Temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Paul calls him“the man of sin” in 2 Thessalonians 2, “who shall be revealed, who will exalt himself above all other gods” and who will offer himself as God in that temple. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) This is what the Lord Jesus referred to in Matthew 24 when he says: “When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet,” (and Matthew adds in parenthesis "let him who reads understand" – that means search your scriptures, read the book of Daniel the prophet and you will know what he is talking about) “standing in the holy place (as Daniel the prophet predicted),” then you know that you are in the last of the seasons of the Gentiles. (Matthew 24:15 RSV)

That is the mark. It isn’t the thing that begins this season. It is simply the characteristic mark of it, which identifies it as being the culmination of all the blasphemous systems that have underlain the philosophies and religions of man, that man is his own god. This exaltation and deification of man is the crowning characterization of the last of the seasons, the seasons of the Gentiles being fulfilled. If this is the case, then it means that we have approached and entered into what Daniel calls “the time of the end.” Events will move with rather frightening rapidity and the course of human events will find their culmination as outlined in the prophetic program of God. We can expect the fulfillment of God’s promise to his own, reiterated again and again throughout the New Testament. His promise to the Church that he will come and receive them unto himself will be fulfilled. It will be in an appearing to the church, which is distinguished by the use of a peculiar word, the parousia, the presence of Christ.

It is my personal conviction that this presence of Christ will take a form very much like the post-resurrection ministry of Our Lord. That is, he will be present with his own, appearing and disappearing as he did in those forty days after the resurrection. He was with the disciples from time to time and they never knew when he was going to appear. It culminated at last in the ascension into heaven.

It is also my personal conviction that the prophetic program will begin with a sudden (like a thief in the night) appearing of the Lord Jesus for his own, when the words of Paul are fulfilled: “The Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 RSV)

I don’t believe that means that we are transported off to some other planet or some place in space. I have come to see that the heavens is a wonderful way the Bible has in referring to the realm of invisible realities. I do not mean it isn’t a place, it definitely is a place – it is all places, really – but it is what we would refer to as another dimension of life – a fourth, sixth or tenth dimension which we are not able to enter into as three-dimensional creatures. In that dimension, which is everywhere, unseen and invisible, we are constantly surrounded by a spiritual kingdom which is making its effect felt in the realm of visible realities. As Paul puts it, it includes even the dark powers –“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and wicked spirits enthroned in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12 RSV)

This is where our battles lies and this is the explanation of what is happening in life and world history. Our newspapers reflect the mere external amplification of these forces that move behind the scenes. If we want an understanding of them we have to recognize the existence of this other dimension of life.

It is into this dimension that we pass when the Lord comes for his own and it is very likely that the Church in that capacity will be here present on earth, with the Lord during all the days of the Great Tribulation which is to come to try those that dwell upon the face of the earth.

We will be ministering behind the scenes to God’s people, the Jews, and to the great band of Gentiles that will believe the Jew’s message as they herald forth the gospel in the terrible days of tribulation. That is the last season of the Gentiles, the time when Gentile power reaches its zenith. The underlying philosophy of Gentile supremacy and the exaltation of man will find its symbolic expression in the man of sin at the temple in Jerusalem. All the terrible dark powers of earth will be unleashed and the Holy Spirit will no longer be operating as a restraining force among the nations of men. A tide of evil will be loosed upon the earth. The dam that has held back the terrible powers of human evil will be taken away and there will come a great flood of violence, revolt, rebellion and wickedness accompanied by the judgments of God as detailed in Matthew 24 - 25, the prophecies of Daniel and the book of Revelation. Ray Stedman: Have the Times of the Gentiles Passed?

Please view the following charts from outside of time. God's point of view is above, beyond, and outside of time. Take God's point of view from the Control Room of the universe. "For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Isaiah 57:15) 

If we are now entering a new Dispensation, as I believe we are, we are already seeing huge changes in God's dealings with everyone on our planet. I can only speak about what I know and have been experiencing. The main thing I see is that our Lord Jesus is presently dealing with each of us as individual followers of Jesus, no more top-down management through a church. That is, the Glorious Church which Jesus has been silently building for 2000 years will soon be unveiled for the world to see. The false church, and the counterfeit world cabals of finance, commerce and trade will surely be destroyed in the next few years. Evil crime syndicates, terrorist groups, cabals, monopolies, anarchists, will be dissolved and their leaders scattered, but individuals in the system will be eligible to find salvation in Jesus Christ. This is a season of great healing for the followers of Christ! Naturally, proud, self-sufficient people won't give up without a fight. God will persuade as many as can possibly be saved.

Another way to see who will probably be saved is to see who among us is responding to unconditional love from any source. It's our will that shuts us off from being set free and fulfilled by Jesus, by God, who IS Love.

At present the entire planet is under obvious lockdown--the good and the bad among us alike. Jesus insists on getting our attention because He is running the universe, not us! God can be expected to turn up the heat on everyone who is still fighting against His "irresistible grace."

It's usually our pride that is cutting us off. As our luxury living lifestyles are taken away, and God's tough love moves in, two great counterfeit world leaders will come to the forefront.

These two very bad guys ("the Beast and false prophet" of Revelation Chapter 13) will soon step on stage. They are presently held back by the Holy Spirit in His Church who is the Restrainer, (2 Thessalonians.) The ominous warning in the Bible leads to the clear teaching of the New Testament that Jesus the Bridegroom, will silently return to remove his Bride, the true Church--before all hell breaks out, for seven short years, down here on earth. If you doubt this, please read the last book in the Bible, the Book of the Revelation.

Much of the teaching on these great themes of the Bible comes from old school, old paradigm preachers who are these days largely out of intimate touch with Jesus, often running on autopilot and therefore not very credible. This is why my Number One concern today is the present terrible Bible Illiteracy in the United States at this hour. The great lockdown has gained everyone's attention and I understand that many more are now praying. I fear that most "prayers" among us insist on knowing God on our terms, not His. This of course is long-term unacceptable to Jesus. Many long for God to put things back to the way they were before the virus. I feel certain that can't happen. More crisis events surely lie ahead. None of these events can be solved by human effort, by money, by ingenuity. Nor do I believe God will heal our land temporarily this time. Too little too late. Jesus promised to come back. It's about time!

The true church, the Bride of Christ, is now being revirginized. This requires interior holiness in each of us, not mere conformity to external norms which were not put in place by God. For example, obedience to government is mandated by Romans 13 since all governments generally seek law and order in a nation. But of course many times in history legitimate protests against leaders who were autocratic tyrants, have been authored and endorsed by God. No matter, Jesus is who He says He is, whether we like it or not. He is glad to explain Himself to anyone willing to learn.

Yes, vast numbers of people, Ray Stedman said "millions," will be saved in the coming tribulation period, by the heroic campaigns (all over the planet) of 144,000 dedicated Jewish Evangelists trained and led by Jesus.

Isaiah 55

Ho! Everyone who Thirsts! Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David. Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people,
A leader and commander for the people.
Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the LORD your God,
And the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you.”
]Seek the LORD while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the LORD,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
“For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the LORD for a name,
For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Isaiah 45

“Thus says the LORD to His anointed,
To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—
To subdue nations before him
And loose the armor of kings,
To open before him the double doors,
So that the gates will not be shut:
‘I will go before you
And make the crooked places straight;
I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
And cut the bars of iron.
I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the LORD,
Who call you by your name,
Am the God of Israel.
For Jacob My servant’s sake,
And Israel My elect,
I have even called you by your name;
I have named you, though you have not known Me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me,
That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
That there is none besides Me.

I am the LORD, and there is no other;
I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create calamity;
I, the LORD, do all these things.’
“Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation,
And let righteousness spring up together.
I, the LORD, have created it.

“Woe to him who strives with his Maker!
Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth!
Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
Or shall your handiwork say, ‘He has no hands’?
Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What are you begetting?’
Or to the woman, ‘What have you brought forth?’ ”
Thus says the LORD,
The Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:

“Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons;
And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.
I have made the earth,
And created man on it.
I—My hands—stretched out the heavens,
And all their host I have commanded.
I have raised him up in righteousness,
And I will direct all his ways;
He shall build My city
And let My exiles go free,
Not for price nor reward,”
Says the LORD of hosts.

Thus says the LORD:
“The labor of Egypt and merchandise of Cush
And of the Sabeans, men of stature,
Shall come over to you, and they shall be yours;
They shall walk behind you,
They shall come over in chains;
And they shall bow down to you.
They will make supplication to you, saying, Surely God is in you,
And there is no other;
There is no other God.’ ”

Truly You are God, who hide Yourself,
O God of Israel, the Savior!
They shall be ashamed
And also disgraced, all of them;
They shall go in confusion together,
Who are makers of idols.
But Israel shall be saved by the LORD
With an everlasting salvation;
You shall not be ashamed or disgraced
Forever and ever.

For thus says the LORD,
Who created the heavens,
Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who has established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited:

“I am the LORD, and there is no other.
I have not spoken in secret,
In a dark place of the earth;
I did not say to the seed of Jacob,
‘Seek Me in vain’;
I, the LORD, speak righteousness,
I declare things that are right.

“Assemble yourselves and come;
Draw near together,
You who have escaped from the nations.
They have no knowledge,
Who carry the wood of their carved image,
And pray to a god that cannot save.
Tell and bring forth your case;
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has declared this from ancient time?
Who has told it from that time?
Have not I, the LORD?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A just God and a Savior;
There is none besides Me.
“Look to Me, and be saved,
All you ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
I have sworn by Myself;
The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return,
That to Me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall take an oath.
He shall say,
‘Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength.
To Him men shall come,
And all shall be ashamed
Who are incensed against Him.
In the LORD all the descendants of Israel
Shall be justified, and shall glory.’ ”

Watch for These Things

The new dispensation from God, which apparently began last March, is huge. Until now God has focused on calling out a people for His name, namely a Bride for His Son. Yes, God is also sustaining the cosmos and providing life-support for everyone. He is not, however, saving the world. The status quo down here is unacceptable. Reform at this late date is probably not possible.

If the First Advent of Jesus brought a sharp warning from John the Baptist to that generation--what about the coming Second Visit of Jesus?

John the Baptist Prepared the Way

In those days  John the Baptist came preaching  in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for  the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ ” Now  John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them,  “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from  the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves,  ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees.  Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will  burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:1-12)

The Jerusalem Council of Christians knew what the future held 1950 years ago!

Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.  So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us,  and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”

Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles.  And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me:  Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name.  And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:

‘After this I will return
And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down;
I will rebuild its ruins,
And I will set it up;
So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name,
Says the Lord who does all these things.

“Known to God from eternity are all His works. (Acts 15:6-15)

The followers of Jesus, everyone who knows Him now, will soon be caught-up to an orbiting satellite city, 1500 miles on a side. There was a great fuss about this sort of Rapture teaching 40-50 years ago, largely fueled by a few opportunists out to make money. We are now much closer to the time of the end! Legitimate teaching of very important teaching from the Apostle Paul's two letters to the churches in Thessalonica has been eclipsed--to everyone's loss. Yet we are way closer to the end of the age and the scheduled return of Jesus to His planet.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds. — “On Living in an Atomic Age” (1948) C. S. Lewis

The Near Future as it Looks Like Today from Observation Room In Heaven

Chuck Missler often spoke of the departure of the true church to heaven (New Jerusalem), before the final seven years of earth history, before the second coming of Jesus to the planet to rule over all the nations. Chuck said we could watch the final seven years unfold--from the Mezzanine!

No longer will we live in flesh and blood bodies in heaven but in entirely new, immortal bodies. There will be no more sickness, disease, death. We will be selectively able to turn on our cloaking device, but to be recognizable as our Lord was after His resurrection. Our new bodies will apparently have time travel and space travel capabilities. (Ray Stedman said that we could probably visit the past but not change it).

But there will be no marriage in heaven. Sexual reproduction will have been phased out. But everyone: men, women and children will know Jesus intimately. The differences between the two sexes will be preserved. No more idolatry. Lots of angels. Animals of all kinds. Wildflowers and gardens. Oceans with waves and surf, rivers, waterfalls and lakes. Birds of course. Food and banquets. Music and much singing. Healing fruits and herbs. Tree of Life Access. Schools. Museums. Art Galleries, Concert Halls. Artist Colonies—-surely. A glorious wedding up there is to happen soon.

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever." (Revelation 22:1-5)

Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:1-4)


The Avenida de los Insurgentes in Mexico City was named after the Insurgent Army (Ejército de los Insurgentes) that fought for Mexican independence from Spain during the Mexican War of Independence from Spain 1810 to 1821. This avenue is 18 miles long and runs North to South in this city of 9 million people. Mexico has had an amazing history, quite different from ours in the U.S.

A friend of mine, a distinguished veteran, claims 90 to 100 million loyal Americans are waiting to rise up now to heal our nation. He says I'm a pessimist. There are good insurgencies in history as well as bad, such as Mexico's war on Independence from Spain or the Protestant Reformation of 500 years ago. I hope Dan is right. We did talk last week about the "deep state" and the destructive forces seeking to destroy our nation today, and our amazing heritage from God brought to us by past generations of dedicated followers of Jesus. My time reading the Bible for fifty plus years, and the influence of godly mentors and teachers has convinced me that apart from the unmerited favor of our Holy God we'd all quickly perish. Nations have risen and fallen down through history, so to ignore the past is foolish. I believe God wants none to perish, and that "all who will may come." A great outpouring of God' mercy and grace occurred on the Day of Pentecost when the true church was born. This had been foretold by the Prophet Jonah and will be repeated at Phase Two of the scheduled returning of Jesus.

Everyone is religious at heart. We were created for relationship with our Creator. A majority of people on earth down through history have turned away from the light they were born with, and from the love extended to them all through life, which has been coming from many sources. Who knows how long the Master will be delayed? If we behave down here following the light and truth while we are waiting, we’ll be OK. Those who know Jesus, but willfully disobey, are in for correction. That is, the Bride-to-be ought to clean up her act now and get revirginized now. Jesus has high standards for His Bride!  For now, everyone must deal directly with Jesus one-on-one, not necessarily with any go-between, such as a church, a pastor, a parent, or mother Mary. 

“There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus who gave Himself a ransom for all.” 
You don’t even have to know His name to get started! He reads every heart! It does help to know His name--His name is Jesus. (Yeshua). Most prisons have Chaplains.  There are real Christians in many churches Many who know God only existentially can point the way towards Jesus to get us searching, because "he who seeks finds."

Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? “And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. “Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub the ruler of the demons.” But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? “And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. “Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” (Matthew 12:24-30)

Isaiah 66:10-24

“Rejoice with Jerusalem,
And be glad with her, all you who love her;
Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her;
That you may feed and be satisfied
With the consolation of her bosom,
That you may drink deeply and be delighted
With the abundance of her glory.”

For thus says the LORD:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.
Then you shall feed;
On her sides shall you be carried,
And be dandled on her knees.
As one whom his mother comforts,
So I will comfort you;
And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

When you see this, your heart shall rejoice,
And your bones shall flourish like grass;
The hand of the LORD shall be known to His servants,
And His indignation to His enemies.

For behold, the LORD will come with fire
And with His chariots, like a whirlwind,
To render His anger with fury,
And His rebuke with flames of fire.
For by fire and by His sword
The LORD will judge all flesh;
And the slain of the LORD shall be many.

“Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves,
To go to the gardens
After an idol in the midst,
Eating swine’s flesh and the abomination and the mouse,
Shall be consumed together,” says the LORD.

“For I know their works and their thoughts.
It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory.
I will set a sign among them; and those among them who escape
I will send to the nations: to Tarshish and Pul and Lud, who draw the bow, and Tubal and Javan,
to the coastlands afar off who have not heard My fame nor seen My glory.

And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. 

Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the LORD out of all nations,
on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the LORD,
“as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD.
And I will also take some of them for priests and Levites,” says the LORD.

“For as the new heavens and the new earth
Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the LORD,
“So shall your descendants and your name remain.
And it shall come to pass
That from one New Moon to another,
And from one Sabbath to another,
All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the LORD.

“And they shall go forth and look
Upon the corpses of the men
Who have transgressed against Me.
For their worm does not die,
And their fire is not quenched.
They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

Footnote: Thayer's Greek Lexicon STRONGS NT 3622: οἰκονομία οἰκονομία, οἰκονομίας, ἡ (οἰκονομέω), from Xenophon, and Plato down, "the management of a household or of household affairs; specifically, the management, oversight, administration, of others' property; the office of a manager or overseer, stewardship": Luke 16:2-4; hence, the word is transferred by Paul in a theocratic sense to the office (duty) intrusted to him by God (the lord and master) of proclaiming to men the blessings of the gospel, 1 Corinthians 9:17; ἡ, οἰκονομία τοῦ Θεοῦ, the office of administrator (stewardship) intrusted by God,Colossians 1:25. universally, administration, dispensation, which in a theocratic sense is ascribed to God himself as providing for man's salvation: αἵτινες... ἡ οἰκονομίαν Θεοῦ τήν ἐν πίστει, which furnish matter for disputes rather than the (knowledge of the) dispensation of the things by which God has provided for and prepared salvation, which salvation must be embraced by faith, 1 Timothy 1:4 L T Tr WH; ἥν προέθετο... καιρῶν, which good will he purposed to show with a view to (that) dispensation (of his) by which the times (namely, of infancy and immaturity cf. Galatians 4:1-4) were to be fulfilled, Ephesians 1:9f; ἡ οἰκονομίατῆς χάριτος τοῦ Θεοῦ τῆς δοθείσης μοι, that dispensation (or arrangement) by which the grace of God was granted me, Ephesians 3:2; ἡ οἰκονομία τοῦ μυστηρίου, the dispensation by which he carried out his secret purpose, Ephesians 3:9 G L T Tr WH. A — 1: οἶκος (Strong's #3624 — Noun Masculine — oikos — oy'-kos ) denotes (a) "a house, a dwelling," e.g., Matthew 9:6,7; 11:8; it is used of the Tabernacle, as the House of God, Matthew 12:4 , and the Temple similarly, e.g., Matthew 21:13; Luke 11:51 , AV, "temple," RV, "sanctuary;" John 2:16,17; called by the Lord "your house" in Matthew 23:38; Luke 13:35 (some take this as the city of Jerusalem); metaphorically of Israel as God's house, Hebrews 3:2,5 , where "his house" is not Moses', but God's; of believers, similarly, ver. 6, where Christ is spoken of as "over God's House" (the word "own" is rightly omitted in the RV); Hebrews 10:21; 1 Peter 2:5; 4:17; of the body, Matthew 12:44; Luke 11:24; (b) by metonymy, of the members of a household or family, e.g., Luke 10:5; Acts 7:10; 11:14; 1 Timothy 3:4,5,12; 2 Timothy 1:16; 4:19 , RV (AV, "household"); Titus 1:11 (plural); of a local church, 1 Timothy 3:15; of the descendants of Jacob (Israel) and David, e.g., Matthew 10:6; Luke 1:27,33; Acts 2:36; 7:42 . See HOME , A, No. 1. Note (1), HOUSEHOLD. A — 2: οἰκία (Strong's #3614 — Noun Feminine — oikia — oy-kee'-ah ) is akin to No. 1, and used much in the same way; in Attic law oikos denoted the whole estate, oikia stood for the dwelling only; this distinction was largely lost in later Greek. In the NT it denotes (a) "a house, a dwelling," e.g., Matthew 2:11; 5:15; 7:24-27; 2 Timothy 2:20; 2 John 1:10; it is not used of the Tabernacle or the Temple, as in the case of No. 1; (b) metaphorically, the heavenly abode, spoken of by the Lord as "My Father's house," John 14:2 , the eternal dwelling place of believers; the body as the dwelling place of the soul, 2 Corinthians 5:1; similarly the resurrection body of believers (id.); property, e.g., Mark 12:40; by metonymy, the inhabitants of a house, a household, e.g., Matthew 12:25; John 4:53; 1 Corinthians 16:15 . See HOUSEHOLD. A — 1: οἶκος (Strong's #3624 — Noun Masculine — oikos — oy'-kos ) is translated "household" in Acts 16:15; 1 Corinthians 1:16; in the AV of 2 Timothy 4:19 (RV, "house"). See HOUSE , No. 1. A — 2: οἰκία (Strong's #3614 — Noun Feminine — oikia — oy-kee'-ah ) is translated "household" in Philippians 4:22 . See HOUSE , No. 2. A — 3: οἰκέτης (Strong's #3610 — Noun Masculine — oiketeia — oy-ket'-ace ) denotes "a household of servants," Matthew 24:45 (some mss. have No. 4 here).

Music Selections from Lambert

Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation;
but be filled with the Spirit,
speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
giving thanks always for all things to God the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ... (Ephesians 5:17-20)

A wonderful old Blue Grass gospel song, dating back to at least 1877, is about a prodigal son as seen from his family’s perspective.

Here are four of the best versions:

Sharon Camp
  | Carter Family  | Doc Watson  | Blue Sky Boys

Other favorites:

The Old Country Church
| Turn your Eyes on Jesus | Take Your Shoes off, Moses | Redeemed Gospel Quartet | I'll Fly Away

The FOGHORN STRINGBAND, "Go Home" | Gloryland | Gospel Music Hymn Sing

Matthias Havinga plays J.S.Bach Fugue in A-minor BWV 543

Sleepers Awake!

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
(Ephesians 5:14)

Organ performance by Matthias Havinga



The Meaning of Repentance

The Returning of the Lord Jesus Christ

The Hidden of the Lord

Day of Man / Day of God 

The Day of the Lord

The Denial of Death

Daniel, Noah and Job

The Coming Intervention by Jesus

Rapture Prep

Citizens of New Jerusalem

It's About Time!


The Day of the LORD

Therefore the LORD God of hosts, the Lord, says this:

“There shall be wailing in all streets,
And they shall say in all the highways,
‘Alas! Alas!’
They shall call the farmer to mourning,
And skillful lamenters to wailing.  In all vineyards there shall be wailing,
For I will pass through you,”
Says the LORD.

Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD!
For what good is the day of the LORD to you?
It will be darkness, and not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion,
And a bear met him!
Or as though he went into the house,
Leaned his hand on the wall,
And a serpent bit him!

Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light?
Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?
 “I hate, I despise your feast days,
And I do not savor your sacred assemblies.
Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings,
I will not accept them,
Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.
Take away from Me the noise of your songs,
For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.  

But let justice run down like water,
And righteousness like a mighty stream.
 “Did you offer Me sacrifices and offerings
In the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?

 You also carried Sikkuth your king
And Chiun, your idols,
The star of your gods,
Which you made for yourselves.

 Therefore I will send you into captivity beyond Damascus,”
Says the LORD, whose name is the God of hosts.
(Amos 5:16-27)


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September 8, 2022