Thursday, December 27, 2012

ULTIMATE MONARCHY

Ultimate Monarchy
12/27/2012
 
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:7-8. There’s a war brewing – it’s coming upon the last generation of mankind. Just before this mighty war there will be much fear and speculation about current and coming events. There will be signs in the heavens and signs on earth. From what we are currently witnessing around this globe there should be no doubt in the minds of the Ekklesia of Christ that this, the current generation, is the last generation prophesied to be remaining on earth at Christ’s Second Advent.
 
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14. Because of looming global upheavals, it seems people everywhere are beginning to cry out for someone to bring peace on earth; a man with all the answers, a leader who can finally take humanity into the utopian existence so many long for. But it is not the Prince of peace, our future King, who is being sought after.
 
If you pay any attention at all to the global economies you know that it isn’t only America that is struggling to stay afloat. To state that the world’s economies are in turmoil would be a gross understatement. Greece is in a depression and has been for about three years now. Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, among others, are in a recession and swiftly moving towards full depression. The U.S. of A. is not far behind.
 
Economically speaking, the unsustainable debt that the world has engrossed itself in is nothing short of a worldwide tsunami consuming everything and every nation in its path. Our current government leadership, along with our government run news agencies, is saying that everything is looking rosy and cozy, but that is a lie. This world is in dire straits and it needs fixing, and by-and-large the world intends to call on Mr. Fixit for relief.
 
For those who study their Bible and take it seriously there is nothing surprising about what’s going on around the world. Since we are in the last days we would expect to see the global state of affairs coming into perfect union with Biblical prophecy – one world government, one world monetary system, one world ecumenical system all aligning themselves like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. But what few people are talking about is the upheaval that must occur prior to all the puzzle pieces coming together. That’s when Mr. Fixit will jump in and avail himself as that one extraordinary world leader to bring peace and harmony to a broken world.
 
Right now what we see happening seems as though it’s straight out of a Hollywood created, edge of your seat thriller. The problem is most people think they can just get up and leave the theater or turn off the TV, but that’s not going to help. The same outcome facing Greece is now encroaching on America. Life is going to get ugly and it’s going to be painful. This is real life, not a movie. In today’s world we can be assured that with the implosion of the US economy, which is on the brink of collapse, the results for much of mankind will be devastating.
 
With no positive outlook on the horizon the world is confronted with a decision of major consequences: 1) Seek and follow a man who claims to have the answers to the ills that currently plague mankind – a Mr. fixit kind of guy,  or 2) follow the One who has never lied to us and who created us in His image. I suggest number 2, and haste would be prudent.
 
Our Lord Jesus is a well established player on the field of humankind, yet almost completely ignored by the majority of human kind. Even many of those on His very own team ignore Him or relegate Him to second string. Jesus is the wide open receiver ready to receive, but He’s rejected as being out of step, using outdated disciplines and procedures, no longer an asset to the rest of the team – He just isn’t the performer His team had in mind. These days, people want someone new and exciting, a man for all seasons. They want someone who will relieve the pressure on the rest of the team so no one will be at all inclined to toe the line. Even many professing Christians would rather have a mere man enter the scene in lieu of their coming King.  
 
The world will soon be focusing on one man (Mr. Fixit), and he will be more than willing to take the helm. He’ll be a consummate leader and he will take charge of world affairs. He’ll be that one individual who will promise mankind an unequaled pie in the sky greatness and prosperity – but his motives will be pure evil.
 
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Matthew 24:12. Standing against the Laws of God has caused great immorality in this world. Because of iniquity (lawlessness and wickedness) now abound. We’ve now witnessed the condoning of the murder of millions upon millions of innocent unborn babies. Pervasive God abandoned lifestyles are now deemed acceptable worldwide. There is currently a cold heartedness spreading like wildfire such as murdering school children while they sit in their classes or the indiscriminate murder of people enjoying a movie in a theater. All of these evils are orchestrated by none other than the “god of this world” (Satan).
 
The demonic is now coming to fruition. We are very close to the time that Satan will send in his Mr. Fixit. This ungodly creature is ready to take charge of the situation and bring about what so many are hoping for – peace on earth, unbridled wealth, untold pleasure, and the fulfillment of all dreams – utopia. The world hasn’t much longer to wait.
 
“…that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The Apostle Paul refers to this “Mr. Fixit” quite differently than the world; Paul calls him the “son of perdition.” The world’s Mr. Fixit is in reality the antichrist – the fellow who will be indwelt by Satan himself. Few will realize the mistake they’ve made in seeking this particular individual, and before they know what’s happening Mr. Fixit will be transformed into evil personified. He will be established as a great leader with phenomenal capabilities. People will be enamored with his intelligence and charisma, his polished demeanor, his knowledge of world affairs, and his god-like powers. The world will hale him as their messiah.
 
Greed has created our current atmosphere of false prosperity and failed economics, which as lead the world into a precarious and painful position. People will turn to just about anyone who even suggests they might have a solution to the mess. If you think I’m off my rocker a simple look into the recent affairs of the US of A might change your mind. American’s have recently and overwhelmingly re-confirmed their love for a man who has systematically done everything possible to turn this nation into a totalitarian state. As we watch our rights being dismantled for all time, many of us see the satanic side of this man quite clearly.
 
No one with any real wisdom can miss what’s being thrown at us by our Federal Government. What is being promoted by this current administration as steps to secure the protection of every American is in all actuality moving all Americans into gross bondage while striping away all semblances of our inalienable rights.
 
With all of the new restrictions currently in place and with the massive amounts of restricting legislation being advanced by Congress, our rights and freedoms will soon be gone. All this so the populous can feel a sense of peace and safety. The world’s Mr. Fixit is waiting for the opportune moment to launch the enemy’s agenda of a false hope to this deceived world. Basically he’ll provide a short window of hope to the hopeless. But there will never be utopia of any kind until the Real Hope (Jesus Christ) returns and takes His rightful place on His earthly Throne.
 
What is currently destabilizing Greece is the fact that the Government can no longer afford to pay out all the government subsidies they’ve been providing for their citizenry, which has brought that nation to its knees. Bailout after bailout has done nothing to alleviate the problem. Now the U.S., as well as many other nations, is facing the same future. Thus, people will soon be begging for Mr. Fixit to get with the program. He will then step out and comfort them with words that will sound so delectable that people will feed on them as though they were some kind of delicious morsel. Sadly, it will all be lies. It won’t be long until people will be starving to death because they sought after the lies of Satan.
 
Brotherly love will be gone, happiness will disappear, and all commonsense will be abandoned. People will begin to turn on one another with derision and us brute force to kill anyone in their way. They will even snatch the smallest scrap of food from the fingers of a starving child. “And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.” Matthew 10:21.
 
Satan will revel at the total abandon which will consume every society on earth. Satan is the god of this world because he stole the deed from Adam way back in the beginning. For a while longer he’ll be allowed to play out his agenda, but then he and his agenda will come to an abrupt end. You say you don’t believe in Satan? You will.
 
Through all the approaching misery there is hope. We must turn to the One who has given us life, and much more abundantly than any government on earth, instead of ignoring Him. Believing Jesus Christ was simply a nice guy and nothing else, or worse yet a myth, will only result in more pain and heartache for the unbeliever. Jesus Christ is the way, He is the truth, and He is the life to everyone who believes. Governments promise what they don’t have – Jesus promises what He’s already procured and delivered for all who will believe. There is incredible evil coming. How do we avoid the circumstances of that evil? Jesus Christ is the answer – He is our blessed hope. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. The God of all creation died for His creation even though we were yet sinners. This is love. What do you call love? 
 
The truth of the matter is this world is in turmoil and has been for a long time, long before it slid into the current economic chaos we see today. God established His love toward us desiring that perfect love to stand forever, to be a constant proof of how He sees us (His creation). God wants to help us walk through this world without fear from the enemy. He wants to guide our steps. Our faith and trust in God’s only begotten Son makes this possible.
 
Sick, insane, and oftentimes disheartening things happen all around us, but God is always with us. Satan is a liar and through his “man of perdition” will make many wonderful claims, which he won’t deliver on because he is a liar not a deliverer. The word of God gives us incredible insight into the realm of the supernatural. There is a raging battle being fought on the behalf of all humanity. Good against evil. Evil will be dealt a death blow but not before it consumes the lives of much of earth’s population (Christ rejecters).
 
Jesus came from a place that is perfect; He being perfect was the only one who could accomplish the Father’s will. He alone was able to reverse the curse that entered this universe when Satan convinced Eve to partake of the fruit of that forbidden tree. Jesus Christ is our Creator and only He could die for His creation. For those who believe, He promises eternal life. For those who believe not, He makes it plain, eternal damnation is your lot.
 
Jesus will clean up the mess we humans have made of this earth. He’s coming back – soon. His Raptured saints will return with Him at the second coming when Jesus will defeat the enemy and his horde. Then He will set up His Monarchy. The mess will be gone and we will have peace under the perfect rule of the King of kings. To be a part of that awesome promise all that is required of you is “…that ye believe on him (Jesus Christ) whom he (God) hath sent” John 6:29. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. We, the followers of Jesus Christ, should all be looking forward to this earth’s Ultimate Monarchy and our King who is as loving as He is perfect.
 
God bless you all,
 
Ron Graham

Monday, December 17, 2012

CELEBRATE EMMANUEL

Celebrate – Emmanuel
12/17/2012
 
“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.” Luke 2:13-14. The word “multitude” comes from the Greek word “plēthos” and it means the whole number. Wow! The whole of the godly heavenly host (angels) came that night to praise God as they celebrated the birth of Christ. We can’t even imagine what that must have looked or sounded like, but the shepherds standing guard over their flocks saw it all. “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Luke 2:8.
 
The angel Gabriel was probably the messenger that announced the arrival of the Messiah of Israel that night to those shepherds in the field. Who, by the way, were undoubtedly frightened out of their skin. “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Luke 2:9-10.
 
Gabriel calmed the fears of those poor shepherds that night, just as he had done a few months earlier when he spoke to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, in the Temple. Gabriel was undoubtedly a very busy angel; he also calmed the fears of Mary, the soon to be mother of our Lord Jesus, as he told her of her son who would be King. “And in the sixth month 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 said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God… 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 for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:26-27, 29, & 31-33. After Mary came Joseph, the espoused of Mary, who needed a little calming of his fears as well. “Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 1:20.
 
The shepherd’s standing guard over their flocks the night Jesus’ arrival was proclaimed by Gabriel were the most privileged of all people on earth as the glory of the Lord shown around them, and then the host of angelic beings surrounded them. The shepherd’s heard and watched the whole multitude of angelic hosts praising and glorifying God. These lowly shepherds were given the opportunity to view the most magnificent manifestation of benevolent supernatural beings ever to appear before the eyes of mankind. Certainly the birth of Christ was the miracle above all miracles. Yes, it was a time for rejoicing and celebrating.
 
The question often arises: Should we be celebrating the birth of Christ since we don’t even know the true date of His birth? Shouldn’t we be celebrating the death, burial, and resurrection? After all, if God wanted us to celebrate the birth of Christ wouldn’t He have made that admonition plain in His word? I believe God made it perfectly clear that the birth of His only begotten Son, our Saviour our Messiah, was “the event” of all time, even more special than when the angels sang at the creation of the earth - Job 38:7. Why would all the angels of Heaven come to earth to praise God in the highest at the birth of the Christ child if we were meant to disregard that event? Surely the angels knew that by becoming a man, God’s intent was that He would reconcile His fallen creation to Himself.
 
The angels that stayed loyal to God remain in His service to this day and are never disloyal or disobedient. All angels are immortal and have seen God. Therefore, the angels that are considered the Heavenly hosts are fully aware of who that new born baby boy was, and is. At this very moment there is a man sitting on the Throne of God in Heaven, the man Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. The multitude of Heavenly host that proclaimed Glory to God on the highest to the shepherds tending their flocks had no doubt as to whom it was that was lying in that manger that awesome night. They know their Creator.
 
The celebration of the birth of Christ has lost much of its significance over the years as our humanistic, materialistic tendencies have become overwhelmingly incorporated into the reason for the season. The “Merry Christmas” which was once meant to proclaim a time of celebration has been replaced with “Happy Holidays”. The birth of our Messiah has little or nothing to do with the season’s greetings passed along these days. Now days, Merry Christmas means little about Jesus and much about “Hope you get all the presents you’ve been dreaming of.”
 
The Magi didn’t just bring simple gifts to that baby boy born on Christmas day. They brought Kingly gifts to the King of the Jews. The three gifts mentioned in the scriptures are significant in and of themselves, but the fact that these Magi (kings) came bearing gifts for “The King”, a King who to them was only a prophecy handed down from the time of Daniel, made their visit even more significant. They knew who it was they were seeking, and where to find Him. Should we as the followers of Jesus Christ be concerned with celebrating Christ’s birth? Absolutely!

I dearly love this time of year when so many are focused on our God and Saviour, even though they are mostly focused on Him as a new born baby. Still the focus is there and it’s a positive thing. What really takes away from this time of year is all the hate in the world, all the hopelessness, and all the greed. Being thankful that our Messiah came to save mankind should be an overwhelming fact in our lives, one that should never be marginalized or be in subordination to any other facts of life.
 
“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, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7.  The whole of the multitude of angelic hosts cried out in unison as they glorified their Creator by praising Him on the night He entered His creation as a child – a baby crying in a manger.
 
Did the shepherds know who it was they were to seek once they heard the angel Gabriel’s declaration? “…unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” Luke 2:11. Yes, they had been waiting for their Messiah their entire lives. The following verse makes it clear those shepherds were determined to see this miracle. “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.” Luke 2:15. Those shepherds knew that when they reached that manger they would see the Christ – their Lord. They headed to Bethlehem to celebrate the miracle.
 
Mankind, for the most part, now views that night’s miracle as foolishness, to be relegated to the realm of myth or even fantasy. Even though the birth of Christ is a historical fact recorded in our Bibles, people are content to dismiss His birth as a non-event. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14. The Holy Bible is nothing more than a neglected history book these days. Other books that contain historical facts of those times, such as the writings of Josephus, are now suffering the same fate as the Word of God. Either they are being neglected, or in the case of God’s Word it is now being re-written to accommodate the new future of mankind – a future void of the true precepts of the One true God.
 
Bring out the Mayan calendar and the idea that it somehow ends with December 21, 2012, and multitudes believe the end of planet earth is at hand. But try and explain the prophecies of the Bible to these same people and what you get is a look of distain, and in many cases a response of “What a bunch of hogwash”.  Trot out Nostradamus or Shirley MacLaine and their ridiculous claims and watch the people flock to them, but try and tell them about the birth of Christ and watch those same people run for the hills. 
 
Man can dismiss God as irrelevant or even as nonexistent if he so desires, but that nonsense will never change the fact that God is, and that there were shepherds who were guided on that day who found the baby Jesus just as they were instructed “…Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12.
 
What is Christmas all about? Is it an attitude of giving, loving, and being filled with joy and good tidings? Or is it the materialistic view of most of the populous of earth today? It should be all about the birth of a baby who became the man Jesus, the Christ. Christmas is the perfect gift of love. The shepherds from the fields, joined by the whole of the wondrous multitude of faithful angels celebrated the birth of the Son of God. A couple of years later, the Magi (gentiles who had studied and paid attention to Jewish prophecy) came to celebrate the birth of the King of the Jews. How about the faithful followers of Jesus Christ today? Should we be celebrating our Savior’s birth? Celebrate!    
 
God bless you all,
 
Ron Graham
 
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed

Thursday, December 13, 2012

BOREDOM IN HEAVEN

Boredom in Heaven
12/13/2012
 
“In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2. The word used above for house in the Greek alludes to God’s abode (the expanse of Heaven). Therefore, when we read the word “mansions” we should immediately be struck with awe. The Greek word “monē”, translated into English as mansions, is also translated as abode or dwelling place. But considering God’s magnificence, and the expanse of Heaven, we can be assured our dwelling place in Heaven will be far superior to any human perception of an earthly mansion.
 
When we think of a mansion here on earth most of us are able to conjure up numerous images of palatial manors. The dictionary describes “Mansion” as a large and stately house. Hollywood instantly comes to mind. But there is nothing on earth that we can compare our Heavenly abode. By-in-large, Heaven is a mystery to those of us still living and breathing. Therefore the mansion or abode that Jesus went to prepare for each of His followers must likewise be a mystery.
 
So what is Heaven? It is the seat of order of things eternal and consummately perfect, where God dwells and other heavenly beings as well. What will we be doing in Heaven for an eternity? We have not been presented with any kind of itinerary as to our eternal existence in God’s abode, thus conjecture seems to be our only avenue. Okay then, what won’t we be doing? Well, one thing is for sure, we know from our Lord’s own declaration that there will be no marriage or procreation in Heaven “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” Matthew 22:30. This verse simply means we will be immortal, as are angels. Thus there will be no need for the further procreation of human beings.
 
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:” 2 Corinthians 5:1-2. Paul’s reference to our earthly house means our current bodies, which will be dissolved. But then Paul mentions another house. Paul refers to our glorified bodies when he says clothed with our house from Heaven. This is not our “monē”, our abode or dwelling place. We will receive our glorified bodies instantaneously when we die or when we are raptured, but Jesus has spent the last two thousand years preparing our personal mansion in Heaven.
 
Occasionally when the question of what we will be doing in Heaven is broached it seems as though the questioner is concerned more about boredom setting in than anything else. Boredom is a humanistic trait in full association with evil. With the mere thought of an abode such as a mansion awaiting us, a mansion unlike anything of an earthly nature, what else might we consider to be waiting for us on our arrival into Heaven? What we have been given is an expectation of great things which await us in Heaven, none of which will entice our humanistic sinful tendencies. Why? Because we will no longer have any sinful tendencies. But what we will have is “…an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away…”. 1 Peter 1:4.
 
“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Philippians 3:20-21. Paul speaks of our conversation in Heaven. The Greek word used in this instance, and in this instance only, for conversation is “politeuma” which signifies the condition, or life, of a citizen, citizenship; “politeuma” is the heavenly status of believers. Unlike our status on earth where we should be living orderly lives all in accordance to God’s will, our citizenship in Heaven will be godly and orderly, completely void of anything that would be contrary to God’s perfect existence. 
 
Pretty much everything we humans seek after as entertainment here on earth will be non-existent in Heaven. What will we do without football, baseball, basketball, NASCAR? What about Nintendo, Wii, X-Box and all the rest? How will we survive without television? What about all the extracurricular activities we find so necessary to our existence today? Little league, golf, vacations, will they be available in Heaven? Once we’ve mastered sitting on a cloud and playing the harp will we become bored out of our minds and wish there was something more fulfilling in Heaven? What good is the most magnificent mansion without all our wonderful earthly distractions?
 
Since eternity has no beginning and no end, there will be no end to our existence in Heaven. If we were ever to become bored with our Heavenly mansion, how would that boredom ever end? It wouldn’t, it would be eternal. Boredom is fully satanic in nature. This satanic influence, which has become part of just about everyone’s life on earth, has no bearing on Heaven. Boredom exists only in this realm which flows with two opposing supernatural influences. Heaven has only One Godly supernatural influence. That being the case, boredom, chaos, apathy and rebellion will never raise their ugly heads in Heaven. 
 
Heaven is where we find the Throne Room of God. We who the Father has drawn have chosen Heaven over Hell and we will be physically with God for all eternity. That aspect of Heaven is incredible in and of itself. As our current thought processes try to grasp what it will be like when we finally see God face to face, any thought of boredom should be obliterated. When our minds move past the idea of existing with God in His presence for all eternity, it’s only human nature to revert back to the question “What will we be doing and what will be our responsibilities as we settle into our Heavenly mansions?” But in Heaven that human nature will be nonexistent.
 
The idea of physically doing the same thing in Heaven that we may derive pleasure and entertainment from while here on earth is preposterous. Most of what is associated with entertainment on earth is satanic, so no need to look for that kind of entertainment in Heaven. Anything and everything that draws our attention away from God here on earth will not exist in Heaven.
 
If you get little to no joy from your worship time with the Lord here on earth, then you won’t like Heaven. If you view fellowshipping with likeminded “in Christ” believers as tiresome and fruitless, then your idea of Heaven is probably not going to fulfill your desires. If you desire the pleasures of this world more than you desire God you probably consider this world your home, in which case you’re not looking forward to relocating to Heaven. If you’ve been taught that Heaven is a place where saints sit around on clouds and play harps continually, then an eternity of staring at that prospect might well be very unappealing. If you consider Bible study boring, then that attitude might well reflect your idea of what to expect in Heaven. Man and his sightless perceptions block the truth of what Heaven is all about. Once we get past the fact that with God there can be no concept of boredom, Heaven then opens up limitless possibilities. An abode (a mansion) awaits us. When we look to Heaven with the expectation that the proportions of that abode are of a scope and of a dimension beyond that of which our imaginations can grasp, then we will begin to marvel at the concept of a Heavenly mansion being prepared for us by our Lord. What an eternity of exploration awaits!
 
God took Adam from the place where He had created him and placed him in new surroundings which were far more pleasurable and beautiful. The place where Adam was created is earth, and God returned man to the place of his creation after his rebellion. This action was a punishment. Therefore, after all these years mankind has no true concept of what the Garden of Eden consisted of. But its magnificence had to have been far reaching.
 
There are aspects of earth that we consider beautiful and even alluring at times, but we must remember we live in a completely fallen and cursed world. Thus, we don’t really know beauty in its pure form. Throughout all of earth’s history mankind has had their God given senses horribly dulled. We live in a realm filled with wickedness and unpleasant consequences that are derived from bad decisions. Compared to Heaven we have been living in a wasteland, thus trying to picture in our mind’s eye what Heaven and our awaiting mansion consists of is not humanly possible.
 
Paul speaks of being caught up into the third Heaven “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” 2 Corinthians 12:2-4. Paul could not even bring himself to speak a word of what he saw. As a matter of fact he tells us it would be unlawful for any man to utter such things. Without a doubt what Paul saw was to the human mind indescribable. No earthly words could have done Heaven justice therefore it was not lawful for a man to utter such things.
 
We were meant to enjoy our God and His Kingdom with full disclosure. Because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion, we must wait for God to reveal it to us when we are finally glorified. But it will be immensely more beautiful and entertaining than anything earthly. Will there be even one moment in Heaven when boredom will set in and we find ourselves wishing for a good baseball game? No. Why? Because there are no “moments” in Heaven, our existence there will be one beautiful and constant flow of God and man joined together in indescribable love and communion.
 
There is no comparison anywhere on earth that might be viewed as heavenly, only Heaven itself will suffice. No, there will be no boredom in our new mansions, or in all of Heaven for that matter, only pure indescribable joy, which is Jesus Christ our Lord. I’m sure everyone at some point ponders Heaven. Yet ponder as they will, only those who have said yes to Jesus Christ will ever enter therein.
 
God bless you all,
 
Ron Graham
 

Sunday, December 09, 2012

LET'S GET TOGETHER

Let’s Get Together
12/06/2012
 
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised; And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together”. This part of verse 25 above is one that is continually used to convince the sheep to remain in their seats. One major flaw with this verse is that it doesn’t say exactly what the leaders of the “churches” want us to think it says.
 
The writer of the book of Hebrews is admonishing the “in Christ” faithful to hold fast to that faith without wavering. Why? At the end of verse 25 above he states “as you see the day approaching.” The Greek word for see is “blepō” which actually means to discern, as in discern the times. A day was approaching when life as a Christian was going to become very difficult and the writer of the book of Hebrews knew it. When we take those three verses above and read them in context (together) as one thought, we are confronted with something quite different than that which we’ve been taught. In the not so distant future the true follower of Jesus Christ will be confronted with some very tough decisions. We will need to hold fast to the faith (without wavering - unmoved) by what we see approaching, as that faith will be our only refuge. There will come a time, in the not so distant future, when the true followers of Jesus Christ will find themselves being horribly persecuted, and much of that persecution will come from denominational and nondenominational assemblies of the last days professing Christians.  
 
Perhaps there’s more to Pauls admonition to not forsake the gathering of ourselves together than what many understand. The Greek word “episynagōgē” means to gather or assemble together. So far so good. Interestingly, there is no mention in that verse above of how many of the faithful it takes to make up such an assembly or gathering, not to mention where the faithful are to gather. But there is a verse in the book of Matthew where our Lord Himself explained to the faithful just how many constitute an assembly of His followers.
 
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20. Jesus says where two or three are gathered in His name there He is also. Our Lord uses the same word (episynagōgē) as does the writer of the book of Hebrews in chapter10 above. Obviously, God considers two or three a significant representation of an assembly or gathering – a congregation. Of course it can be many more than just two or three but there’s no prerequisite that there must be dozens or hundreds to make up such a gathering. Are you still with me?
 
Just as significant is this point, the followers of Jesus Christ are never specifically told to gather together only one day a week. Luke, the writer of the book of Acts, tells us how the early Christians met and how often. “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the Ekklesia daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:46-47. First of all, these early Christians assembled together in what the Bible refers to as the Temple, but where they met was in the courtyard of the Temple not inside a building associated with Temple worship. How do I know this? Think about it. The Pharisees and Sadducees would never have allowed an assembly of Christians, whose leader they had just murdered, to hold worship services inside of their sacred Jewish Temple. Therefore the gathering “episynagōgē” had to have been alfresco (out in the open but in a courtyard). As Luke continues explaining the meetings of the early Christians he says they went house to house, breaking bread, sharing meals. This means they were a daily part of each other’s lives. The gathering of the saints occurred every day, and with gladness and singleness of heart. They were praising God, fellowshipping, loving one another. This is exactly what Jesus taught His disciples, that they were to love one another, which is what they did.
 
According to Luke’s account of those early Christians they were very active in one another’s lives. They worshipped and praised God openly every day. There was an intimacy. In the last days “churches”, where we find ourselves today, that intimacy has all but vanished. Those early Christians saw that their purpose was to love one another and to share their belongings, food/clothing, etc. with one another, exhorting one another to good works. To the early Christians, this was a “lifestyle” and they cherished it. They were also to spread the Gospel of Christ as they met new people, and they did. This was obvious by Luke’s following statement “And the Lord added to the “ekklesia” daily such as should be savedActs 2:47. Every day God added to His “ekklesia”. But unlike many of the believers of today, their faith in Christ was the most important part of their lives. Nothing was going to disrupt their daily fellowship, nothing that is except persecution. What disrupts your fellowship today? I can think of many disruptions that lead the saints to distraction, and many of those distractions occur within the walls of Christian sanctuaries. Persecution will soon be the order of the day for those who faithfully follow Christ.
 
“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,” Ephesians 4:15-17. Speaking the truth in love? The body fitly joined together? That every joint supplieth according to the effectual working in the measure of every part? And this body making increase unto the edifying of itself in love? Be honest with yourself now, do you see this occurring in your congregation? Or is this concept about 1,900 years removed from the congregations of today? Surely, we can see most professing Christians still walk as the Gentiles in the vanity of their mind – another good indication that mankind is standing on the precipice of the final days before Christ’s return.
 
“That there should be no schism (division) in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” 1 Corinthians 12:25. God had a purpose when He called out His “Ekklesia”, but over the years, through some bad English translations and misinterpretations, God’s purpose has become lost or at the very least diluted – in most cases purposely. We are to be set apart from the world but not from each other. The unity of purpose that God initiated has grown into a vast array of divisions, which is completely contrary to God’s written word. Every building that houses a congregation has a different name on the outside, but in most cases the Name above all names is conspicuous by its absence. Divisions are killing the body of Christ. Why does Paul make the following statement: “…there should be no schism (division) in the body”? Because division in the body of Christ is of Satan. It should be obvious that Satan has infiltrated the Ekklesia and that he has been very successful at corrupting the body of Christ, otherwise there would be no division. Not only has division been instituted successfully but diversion away from the inerrant truth of God’s word has and is occurring without hindrance.
 
“Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?” Acts 7:48-49. God does not dwell in “Churches” or any other building; the focus of God’s congregations is not to be on material temples but on the temple that houses God’s Holy Spirit. We are to be looking after one another with loving kindness and we can do that much more effectively and efficaciously if we are two, three, or even six or eight as we assemble in our homes in the manner of the early Christians. How many of the people in your congregation are you personally in close loving sharing contact with on a daily basis as was God’s first century “ekklēsia”? As that day approaches you’re going to want that intimacy to have already been established.
 
Ever wonder why the enemy has had such a field day infiltrating the “churches?” They were never meant to be set up under the auspices of the doctrines of men. Doctrines of men are not God’s doctrines. That departure of the emphasis on the temple that houses the Holy Spirit has permitted the enemy to come in our midst and pick us off one congregation at a time. The reason is the unity of this “church age” is so incredibly fragmented that the “Ekklesia” today has become powerless, even ignorant, when it comes to false teachings infiltrating the congregations of the saints.
 
In the scriptures we’re told that we are one body joined together,  we are one in Christ. Jesus was and is the foundation of His Ekklesia. He is the Head of the body of saints. He is the Husband to His bride. The early believers had no hierarchy such as a clergy lording over them. Yes there were Elders, Bishops, and Deacons but these were ministers, servants of the Ekklesia, able men of good report who were capable of teaching others, not as lords seeking fame, fortune, and their own self-importance.
 
The early believers met in their homes, and they functioned like the cells in a body and as members of a close knit family. As the time of the end becomes more and more evident, we need to get back to that closeness the early Christians embraced. Food for thought.
 
God bless you all,
 
Ron Graham
www.straitandnarrowministry.com