Monday, August 25, 2008

THE USA IN BIBLE PROPHECY


Is there anything in the Bible that specifically refers to the United States insofar as the future of this world is concerned?


There is nothing in the Bible that indicates or names the United States. While it is true that God does name historic nations like Egypt and Israel, He does not name any modern nation. It certainly does not name Russia or China or the United States or Germany, or any of these nations.

However, God does indicate His judgment upon the world. And when He speaks of His judgment upon any nation, God has in view the whole world. The whole world, including the United States, is going to experience God's damning judgments, God's wrath poured out because of the infidelity, the fornication of the body of believers, the church, as it's found in many congregations and denominations throughout the world. And the Bible of course also indicates that the Gospel will be silenced. This will occur in the United States just as well as in every nation. And then of course the Bible speaks of Judgment Day itself coming, which will involve all the peoples of the world.

Monday, June 23, 2008

THEN THE END SHALL COME


Last week we started in Matthew 24, and we saw how it ties in with the message the Lord gave in Matthew 23. We saw how the words in Matthew 24:2, “Not one stone upon another” relate to the same words found in Luke 19:44 and that these words refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. We also saw that in the words of Matthew 24:3 are stated three questions:

1) “When shall these things be?”

2, “What shall be the sign of thy coming?”

And

3, “What shall be the sign of the end of the world?”

And then we saw that the words of Matthew 24:4-8 indicate that these words do not yet refer to end time events, although most of this chapter does refer to end time events. When the Lord admonished His disciples to “Take heed that no man deceive you”, and when He warned that “many shall come in His name” to deceive them with another gospel, and when they will hear of “wars and rumors of wars”, we need to keep in mind that these things go on all the time throughout the New Testament time period. All these troubles are only
“the beginning of sorrows”.

The Beginning of Sorrows (Matthew 24:5-14)

Matthew 24:5-9
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass but the end is not yet. 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. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

Matthew 24:10
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

Matthew 24:11-14
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

We must ask ourselves if this passage is strictly answering the first question of the disciples: “When shall these things be?”

When shall these buildings of the temple be destroyed so much that there shall not be left here one stone upon another?

And when we look at these verses we can see that they do not refer to the 27 years between Pentecost and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. “Famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” are not pointing to these 27 years, but to the entire New Testament period of time. The words, “Ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake” are not pointing to these 27 years, but to the entire New Testament period of time. The words, “many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” are not pointing to these 27 years, but to the entire New Testament period of time. And so we see that the Lord Jesus is answering the disciples’ question in a round about way.

Why did He do that?

We can see that the Lord is moving in the direction of end time events. The disciples thought that the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple would be related to the end of the world, but why is the Lord Jesus also moving in this direction?

He knew that the year 70 AD is not the end of the world. We will answer this question later in this article. But first we want to understand the warnings of the Lord beginning in verse 9. Paraphrased He seems to say, “All these are the beginning of sorrows. But then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you. And so on. When your sorrows are increasing, when we approach the end of time, many shall be deceived, and the love of many shall wax cold”. Let us consider verse 9.

"Then Shall They Deliver You Up" (Matthew 24:9, 10:17-22)

Matthew 24:9
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

This refers to religious persecution. We know that religious persecution of the saints has been going on throughout the entire New Testament time. The Lord Jesus warned us of this in Matthew 10 where He sent out the twelve disciples for a practice run of evangelizing the world. Let's now see how closely these words in Matthew 24:9-10 resemble the words we find in Matthew 10:17-22. The Lord gave His disciples many pieces of advice. Then He said in Matthew 10:17-22,

Matthew 10:17-19
But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.

Matthew 10:20
For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

Matthew 10:21-22
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. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Matthew 10:23
But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

The Lord gave His disciples advance warning of the persecution they would have to endure. But notice how the Lord also warned us that religious persecution shall increase over time, for verse 21 is pointing in that direction. “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”.

We know that these dreadful acts existed during the Reformation, but they shall also exist as we approach the end of time. And notice what the Lord is saying in verse 23. Literally He said, “For verily I say unto you: In no way will you have finished the cities of Israel until the Son of man comes”.

In other words, in our evangelism throughout the entire New Testament time period we shall not have completed evangelizing in all the cities of Israel. The only way we can understand this is if the name Israel does not refer to the physical nation of Israel, but to the Israel of God, the Israel that represents all the elect who were and are in Christ from before the foundation of the world. All the elect also need to hear the Gospel so that they can become saved, “For faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”.

The number of cities of the nation of Israel is only a tiny fraction of all the cities that evangelists have covered in the past 19 centuries. And so, here we have another proof-text that God’s focus is not so much on the tiny nation of Israel, but it was God’s focus all along to bring this Gospel of salvation into all the world, and throughout the Gospel of Matthew we have seen that this was God’s plan already from the beginning. But look now at the wording of verses 17 and 22. These two verses have been summarized in Matthew 24:9 with the words:

Matthew 24:9
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

Why shall they hate us?

They shall hate us because the true Gospel is an offense to the natural man The true Gospel of grace alone will not be believed unless God the Holy Spirit draws us to believe the true Gospel of the Bible. Therefore most men will be drawn to a false gospel of works, and they will be repelled by the Gospel of grace alone. And therefore they will persecute us as much as this civilized society allows them to do, for we are an offense and a hindrance to their own evangelism efforts. In the religious framework that they have concocted, we are an offense to their gods. And so, they would like to stamp us out, if that were possible. And so, we understand that the words of Matthew 24:9 refer to religious persecution that occurs throughout the New Testament time period. Now I would like us to focus on one single word: “Many”. Look again at Matthew 24:5.

"Many" (Matthew 24:5,10,11,12, Amos 8:11-12, Revelation 13:3,8, John 10:28, Deuteronomy 18:20-22)

Matthew 24:5
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

There shall be many false prophets and false teachers who shall claim that they are coming in the name of Christ, and that they are bringing a message in the name of Christ. But their total number shall be minuscule compared to the number of them that be deceived by them. And thus, we will not focus on the fist “many” in this verse, but on the second “many”. And in these verses we can already see that the Lord is moving us in the direction of end time events. I am not speaking here about many thousands who shall apostatize from the Christian religion and shall join the Mormons or the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I am not even speaking of the millions who shall begin to worship man made gods of free will gospels. But I am speaking about billions who shall worship gods that are put before them by their priests and by their pastors; gods that are not like the God of the Bible. In fact, the pure preaching of the Word of God shall be hard to find, like we read in Amos 8:11-12. Let me read these verses to you. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it”.

Who are these “many” who cannot find the “hearing the words of the Lord”?

They are the many who are on the broad way, the easy way that leads to Hell, and who are stuck in their pride of having their own free will, and in their self-esteem, and in their self-worth, and they hate to give all this up.

Who are these “many”?

The Lord speaks about them again in verse 10, where we read, in Matthew 24:10,

Matthew 24:10
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

They shall be offended by the true Gospel. They do not want anything of it, but instead they shall believe the false gospel that their pastor shall preach to them.

But will this give them peace?

No!

They will continue to have hatred in their hearts, for the love of God has not been shed in their hearts by the God the Holy Spirit. They are on their own. Again the Lord addresses these many in Matthew 24:11,

Matthew 24:11
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

Why did I say that these “many” represent billions of people on this earth?

I say this because there are several places in the Bible where the majority of the world will be slaves of Satan, even the majority of the churches in the world. Let me read to you from Revelation 13:3, which speaks about Antichrist as the beast, and the great following of Antichrist. We read in Revelation 13:3,

Revelation 13:3
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

Let me repeat this: “All the world wondered after the beast”; that is almost all the world, for only the elect will not wonder after the beast. For in Revelation 13:8 we read that all whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world shall wonder after the beast. And so, the majority of mankind shall worship gods of their own making; gods that cannot save, for they are gods that are impotent. Let me repeat this again: Free-will religions worship gods of their own making; they are gods that cannot save, and so the churches that cling to these free-will religions are filling their churches with baptized pagans, and they are preparing their churches for worse apostasies. And then the Lord continues to speak of these “many” in the next verse, Matthew 24:12,

Matthew 24:12
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

In the “many” iniquity shall abound, for they are still unsaved. And so, the love of many shall wax cold, which refers to their love for God and their love for one another, for they are still unsaved. But God’s elect shall remain faithful to the Bible, for they are kept by the power of God, in order that the purpose of God according to election might stand. The Lord promised this when He said in John 10:28,

John 10:28
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

You see, those whom God chose from before the foundation of the world to be saved cannot lose their salvation. Once they have been saved they cannot fall again into apostacy, for if that were so then Christ died in vain, and that is an impossibility. In this passage God warns us again for false prophets whom He has not sent; false prophets who shall claim something new, something exciting, something they claim out of the Bible. O yes! They claim that their new findings are absolutely true to the Word of God. We read in Deuteronomy 18:20-22,

Deuteronomy 18:20
But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

Deuteronomy 18:21
And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?

Deuteronomy 18:22
When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

Let me repeat those last 7 words: “Thou shalt not be afraid of him”.

How shall we know if a prophet is one who was sent by God, or who was not sent by God?

If the thing that he spoke did not come to pass, “That is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken”.

For example, when we heard in the past someone prophesying that the world would come to an end in the year 1994, which did not come to pass for we still exist today in the year 2008, this passage tells us that this prophet is a false prophet. And God’s advice to us is: “Thou shalt not be afraid of him”. Do not be afraid when he again prophesies that the Lord will return twice in the year 2011. Do not believe his doctrine that Hell means incineration. Do not believe his doctrine about the words, “Not one stone upon another”. Do not believe his doctrine that if you stay in the church you are going to be damned for sure. “Thou shalt not be afraid of him”. But many will be led astray by him, for they will not check him out with the Bible in their hand.

Presently we want to investigate if the historical destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC has any future prophetic implications. We can be assured that the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD has no future implications, for its destruction is not even recorded in the Bible.

The Destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 24:3,11-13, Jeremiah 7:32-34, 16:9, 25:10, Revelation 18:4,23, 11:1-2)

Matthew 24:3
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

Why did the disciples immediately associate the destruction of Jerusalem with the end of the world?

Where did they get this idea from?

For sure it was taught them by the scribes and Pharisees.

But where did they get this from?

And why did the Lord Jesus go along with that idea?

The words of the Lord Jesus unmistakably go in that direction as we can read here in Matthew 24:11-14,

Matthew 24:11-14
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

These words are definitely referring to end time events. We will now move our attention to Jeremiah 7:32-34. God speaks here, through the mouth of Jeremiah, about the coming destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC, but then God connected this destruction to end time events. We read in Jeremiah 7:

Jeremiah 7:32-34
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place. And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away. Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.

These words are definitely referring to the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC. Moreover, the words “the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride” have been repeated two other times in the prophecy of Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 16:9 and in Jeremiah 25:10, where these words are also spoken in the context of the destruction of Jerusalem. And so, God has solidly bound these words with the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC. When we read Revelation 17 and Revelation 18 we find that these two chapters deal symbolically with the city the city of Satan, which is called Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth. And then we discover that it is the church which has gone so apostate near the end of time that God calls the church Babylon. Anyone who doubts that this refers to the church should read Revelation 18:4, for therein we read:

Revelation 18:4
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

This clearly indicates that some of the saints are still in that apostate church. And so, when a church has become apostate, God calls to the saints to come out of that church. But the condition is that the church must have become apostate. We read in Revelation 18:23,

Revelation 18:23
And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

Here we read that the light of a candle, and the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, shall be removed from Babylon, the apostate church, for the destruction of Babylon is at hand in Revelation 19. All three items, the candle, the bridegroom and the bride were mentioned in Jeremiah 7:34, 16:9, 25:10 in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC. But here in Revelation 18:23 it is connected with the destruction of the apostate church. And so, what we have discovered is that ancient Jerusalem, before the cross, is a type or a picture of the New Testament apostate church. Now, this fits perfectly the interpretation of Revelation 11:1-2. In Revelation 11:1-2 we read about three objects of real estate, symbolizing three parts of the New Testament church.

Revelation 11:1
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

Revelation 11:2
But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

Keep in mind that at the time John received this vision from God Jerusalem and its temple were already destroyed for at least 25 years. Thus the holy city, and the temple must be taken symbolically. The city of Jerusalem is here a picture of the majority of the New Testament church, which has gone apostate even at the time of John, for only two of the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 were faithful churches. Then God says that the court of the temple area should also not be measured, for it also is given unto the Gentiles. The court of the temple area represents the “Show church”, which is the group of people who pretends that they are saved; they join the people of God in worship, but they never come close to God, they stay in the court outside the temple proper. The third group of people are those who are truly saved, and they are represented by those who are in the temple proper, in the sanctuary, close to God. The question that is now at hand is whether the historical destruction of the temple in 587 BC also has prophetic meaning for the end time. The answer is found in Daniel 8:11-14.

The Destruction of the Temple (Daniel 8:11-14, 2 Thessalonians 2:4)

In Daniel 8 God focuses on a little horn, which represents Antichrist, and how this little horn was able to overcome the saints for a season. The temple is spoken of as “the sanctuary”, for the temple itself was destroyed for many years. But the language is as if the Old Testament temple would be in existence. And thus “the sanctuary” is symbolic for that part of the New Testament church that has not gone apostate. We read in Daniel 8:11-14

Daniel 8:11
Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily (sacrifice) was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.

Daniel 8:12
And an host was given him against the daily (sacrifice) by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.

Daniel 8:13
Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily (sacrifice), and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?

Daniel 8:14
And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

Verse 11 says, “The place of his sanctuary was cast down”. In other words, the church was cast down. And verse 14 says that both the sanctuary and the host, the army of Christ, are trodden under foot by the army of Antichrist.

How could this come to pass?

Why does Christ allow Satan to do this?

And what is the meaning of “Then shall the sanctuary be cleansed”?

The ultimate cleansing of the sanctuary occurs at the time of the rapture when only the saints will be raptured and no one else. And thus what we see here is that the church is symbolized by a temple, which is actually an Old Testament temple. And the reason why the Lord allows Satan to overrun the church with false gospels that feature signs and wonders and dreams and visions and tongues, is that the church is tested during the Final Tribulation Period with all kinds of false gospels. This is the real nature of the Final Tribulation Period that the churches are overrun by these false gospels, so that God will call the church Babylon. The church becomes ripe for judgment, and the last of the elect will be saved in the nick of time, for the true Gospel will have ceased to be preached. We are familiar with this mode of operation by Satan. In the second chapter of 2 Thessalonians we find that Satan would like to be worshipped as god. This is probably Satan’s greatest desire. And when Satan will be loosed during the last end of the Final Tribulation Period he will try to be worshipped as God.

2 Thessalonians 2:3
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (= the son of Hell);

2 Thessalonians 2:4
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

When “He as God sitteth in the temple of God” does not mean that there will be a new physical temple built, but that the local churches will have been so deceived by false gospels that Satan shall be worshipped in the place of God. When people have been deceived by the master deceiver, they will not know that they have been deceived. And so according to 2 Thessalonians 2:3, before the return of Christ there shall be a great falling away from the true Gospel. The true Gospel will have been silenced. This great apostacy is caused by the man of sin, Antichrist, who is Satan in the bodies of many false preachers and teachers, preaching false gospels throughout the world. This then causes the temple of God, or the sanctuary, or the local church, to be so polluted that God will call the local church Babylon, which He shall destroy with the brightness of His coming. This is the meaning of 2 Thessalonians 2, and this is what we must have in view when we continue to develop the following verses in Matthew 24. And so, whether we have an old city of Jerusalem in view, or an Old Temple temple, we must keep in mind that God may be using these as symbols of the church.

"The Love of Many Shall Wax Cold" (Matthew 24:12, 2 Timothy 4:3-4, Matthew 24:14)

What actually does this mean?

It is referring to the love of man toward man, or it can just as well refer to the love of man for God. But when this love waxes cold it means that this love was not genuine in the first place. We read in Matthew 24:12, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold”.

Here is the reason: “Because iniquity shall abound”, or because sin shall exceedingly multiply, the love of many shall not be genuine. Let us face the facts: If a man is truly saved, his love for God will not wax cold. And even though sin is surrounding him his love for God will continually manifest itself that he is saved. For this man Matthew 24:12 does not apply. But if a man is not truly saved, but he pretends to be saved, his response will be like the seed that was sown on rocky ground. First the seed germinates, but since it does not have its root in the ground it will wither and die. And so it is with his love for God. His initial enthusiasm will grow cold, and it is reflected in his spiritual life. This is why Matthew 24:12 says, “Because iniquity shall abound”. In other words, because iniquity shall abound the fraction of people whose love is genuine is very small. This refers to their love for God as well as their love for man. If someone has a genuine love for God, then his love for man is also very great. When a wife abandons her husband when he is old, it reflects that her love for her husband has waxed cold, and thus in turn it reflects that her love for God is also very small. God has commanded her to take care of her husband, but when her love for God as well as for her husband has waxed cold, then her love for herself has replaced all that, and she has become a selfish individual, and she will train up her children to be selfish individuals also.

Another example: When someone visits our church and finds that this is a church where very little love is found, this is a serious accusation, for if we all truly love one another it is not possible to level such an accusation. Now, we can try to hide behind a cloak of orthodoxy, but if we only try to be doctrinally correct we are relishing in cold orthodoxy, and according to 1 Corinthians 13 cold orthodoxy has never saved anyone.

What can we do differently than we have done until now?

Well, we can come to church with the goal not to satisfy our own curiosity; and we can come to church not for our own edification, or for our own increase in knowledge, but we can come to church to glorify the Lord with our presence. We can come to church perhaps to edify someone else, or just to be present in the Bible study to express our love for the teacher, or to express our love for the person who sits next to us. Perhaps we need to learn the first principles of courtesy, and we need to learn how to abstain from criticism, and we need to learn how to replace our criticism with a genuine interest to help building up one another instead of tearing down.

It is not necessary to jump on every mistake that was spoken, for there will be many opportunities to teach and edify one another, and then all these doctrinal imperfections will also go away. Now I am not saying this to give you all a tong lashing. I realize why we have become so critical sometimes. We all have some spiritual baggage. We all have come out of other churches because we did not want to be part of a maintenance ministry, or we did not want to be part of an apostate church, or we have been asked to leave that church because we do not fit in anymore. It has made us critical of other people, for we have experienced their criticism. I think that we should throw all that overboard and start anew, with a clean slate, and with feelings and attitudes that are more in agreement with Christ’s command that we must love one another. Let us first attend to the second half of Matthew 24:12, and let us make sure that our love does not wax cold. Then, when we have learned how to do that, we can pay attention to the first half of that verse. The message of the first half of Matthew 24:12 is that iniquity shall abound.

In 2 Timothy 4:3 the Lord addresses Pastor Timothy through the mouth and through the pen of the apostle Paul . And thus this address is directly to me also. Paul says in the beginning of this chapter, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, …… Preach the Word; be instant (or be ready) in season and out of season”. This is what I am charged to do: I must preach the Gospel. Every time I must weave the true Gospel of grace alone in the message I bring, for this reason:

2 Timothy 4:3
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

2 Timothy 4:4
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

While there is still time, while the Gospel still goes out on the Internet and reaches to the farthest corners of China and Siberia, I must preach the true Gospel of grace alone. But what a glorious outcome For we read in Matthew 24 of the glorious result of all this preaching.

Matthew 24:14
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Let us hasten to preach this Gospel so that the last of the elect shall be saved. Then we will be with the Lord forever. AMEN.

By Alfred Chompff

Sunday, June 22, 2008

FEAR NOT!


In Revelation 1 we have here a description of Christ’s appearance to the Apostle John. This was more than 60 years after the Lord Jesus bodily ascended into heaven. As you know, the Lord Jesus received His glorified body when He returned to heaven.

But did He appear to John in His glorified body?

Absolutely not!

Christ brought a message to John, and His appearance was adjusted to convey this message. For example, there are no people in heaven with a twoedged sword protruding out of their mouths. Nevertheless, His appearance to John was so awesome, and so frightening, that John fell at His feet as dead. That is why the title of this sermon is, “Fear Not”. The Lord Jesus comforted John with the words “Fear Not”. But before we get to that point, let us hear what the Lord had to say about:

"Alpha and Omega" (Revelation 1:8-9, 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 2 Corinthians 6:18)

As you know, alpha and omega are the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet. Jesus said in,

Revelation 1:8
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

At this point the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking directly to us, and He identified Himself in three ways First as alpha and omega, which means He is the beginning and the ending of everything that was created. Everything was created by Him and it was created for Him, meaning for His good pleasure. Unmistakably the Lord Jesus Christ identified Himself as God. Secondly Jesus identified Himself as the One “which is, and which was, and which is to come”, which means that He existed from eternity past, He presently reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords, and He will come as the Judge of all the earth, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Then thirdly Jesus identified Himself as “the Almighty”. This is a name for God that is used many times in the Old Testament, and also in 2 Corinthians 6:18 where God says these comforting words to us, “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty”.

Three times in this verse the Lord Jesus identified Himself as Almighty God.

Why are there people who claim that Jesus never said that He was God?

He is the Lord God Almighty. His appearance to any of the human race, whether saved or unsaved, while we still are in this mortal body His appearance to us is so awesome that we will fall at His feet as dead. And then we read in verse 9,

Revelation 1:9
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The Apostle John was exiled to the lonely island of Patmos. It was a forsaken little island, a rock, from which no escape was possible, uninhabited except for a few prisoners who were exiled there. John was exiled as a martyr for the sake of the Word of God which he had preached and for the testimony of Jesus which he bore. And I am sure that Emperor Domitian who exiled John to this place, thought to give him a more humane treatment because of his old age, and instead of having John executed he banished him to Patmos. The Devil and his earthly helpers thought to have silenced John. But the Lord, who is the Prince of the rulers of the earth and who causes even their counsels to work together for the good of His church, had His own purpose with the banishment of His servant John. And though the worldly power, under the influence of the prince of the power of the air, had exiled the aged Apostle in order to forever silence his faithful testimony, the Lord transformed this lonely and secluded island into a spot, which served as a fabulous stage for the revelation of one of the most beautiful and most important parts of the holy Scriptures. Here John was separated from the tumult and business of the world, to be alone with his Lord. Here John could witness of the terrible symbolism of the restless sea, where he was reminded that the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. Here John could hear the roar of the powerful waves crashing on the rocky shores of his dwelling place, and John experienced that his LORD was his rock, and his fortress, and his deliverer; his God, his strength, his high tower in whom he could trust. And here John had an unobstructed view of the heavens all the way to the four corners of the earth. And so this forsaken dwelling place was undoubtedly the most naturally adapted place to be the scene for this Apostle’s visions and revelations. God is gracious. There then John tells us:

"I Was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day" (Revelation 1:10-11, Matthew 24:31, Romans 11:33-36)

Revelation 1:10
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

Revelation 1:11
Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

The timing was not ON the Lord’s day. In the Bible Sunday is not called “the Lord’s Day”. It is called the first day of the week. John was literally “in the Spirit in the Lord’s Day”. Two times the same word “in” is used.

What then does it mean that John was “in the Spirit in the Lord’s Day”?

It means that John was in a state of prophetic spiritual ecstasy, separated from the world of sense and experience and prepared to receive new spiritual things. The objects that will be presented to him were of such a nature that his natural eye could not perceive them, and therefore a translation in the Spirit was necessary to prepare John to receive the visions.

And what does it mean that he was “in the Lord’s Day”?

It means that he was translated to that point in time when the Lord Jesus will come to judge the whole earth. He was brought right up to Judgment Day. He is writing as if he is standing at that very day, looking back on all the events that have happened throughout the history of mankind, looking right at Judgment Day itself, and even looking forward to the New Heaven and the New Earth as being very close at hand. And John heard the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ behind him, as loud as a trumpet sounding next to his ear.

As you know, when the Lord comes to judge the earth He will announce His coming with a loud voice, as loud as a trumpet. We read in Matthew 24:31, “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”.

And again Jesus identified Himself as Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. He is the beginning and the ending of everything created and of everything in history. He is the Sovereign, Almighty and all wise God whose purposes for this creation are past finding out. We read in Romans 11:33,

Romans 11:33
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Romans 11:34
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor?

Romans 11:35
Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

Romans 11:36
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

“Of Him”, means that He is the sovereign creator who is the fountain of everything created and the fountain of everything that comes to pass. “To Him”, means that all things have their purpose “in Him”. From the beginning He made all things with a view to the end: the alpha is connected with the omega, the one must inevitably lead to the other. And whatever lies between alpha and omega is through Him. “Through Him”, means that He controls all things in such a way that His counsel is accomplished, His design is fulfilled, His end is reached. And His end goal is that He is the One in whom all things in heaven and on earth are to be united forever. Then, in the new creation, the tabernacle of God shall be with men, and God shall be all in all, through Jesus Christ our Lord. And in this God is glorified. Nothing can prevent His end goal Omega. For Christ is Lord, and He is the Almighty. He is not more powerful than other forces combined, but there are no other forces. Even the power of darkness, the power of Satan and his demons, is all under His control. They have no power outside Him. And He uses them, in spite of themselves, for His sovereign purpose. Therefore surely and irresistibly He is coming and has been coming, through the ages of history, coming from the alpha to the omega, from glory to glory, His own glory, until all His glory shall forever shine forth in the perfect revelation of Jesus Christ.

The King-Judge (Revelation 1:12-16, Daniel 7:13-14, Revelation 19:15)

Revelation 1:12-13
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

Revelation 1:14-15
His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the
sound of many waters.

Revelation 1:16
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword:
and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.


What did John see?

John saw someone like unto the Son of man. He saw someone looking like the Lord Jesus Christ, but he described Him as “the Son of Man”.

Where did the expression “Son of man” come from?

O yes, Jesus used this expression to point to Himself. But God introduced this name 500 years earlier in the prophecy of Daniel. Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel. Both Daniel and Ezekiel were taken captive and brought to Babylon. Ezekiel served as Prophet among the captives from Judah, and Daniel served as a high government official in the kingdom of Babylon. In chapter 7 Daniel had a dream and this is what he saw in verses 13-14,

Daniel 7:13
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

Daniel 7:14
And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Look at the overwhelming glory the appearance of Lord Jesus made upon John. John described Him as the Son of man from the prophet Daniel. No longer is He the Suffering Servant of Jehovah, but He appears as the glorified Son of Man who received “dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him”. The vision that John saw also showed Christ in His humiliation, but only as a necessary way to His exaltation and Messianic glory. The passage in Daniel shows Christ only in His glory. And notice that the clouds of heaven are mentioned again. We saw those clouds earlier in Revelation 1:7. It points to the fact that He does not only come as the King, but also as the Judge.

But what does it mean that the Son of man approached the Ancient of days?

Christ approached His Father through His suffering and death on the cross, and through His resurrection and exaltation at the right hand of God. And as such, as the glorified Lord who already received His Kingdom from the Ancient of Days does He now appear in the vision to John. Let us now return to the vision to John in Revelation 1:16. In the vision Christ appeared not only as King, but also as Judge. “Out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword”. This sword represents the Word of God, the Bible, by which Christ shall Judge all the reprobate. We see this again in Revelation 19:15, where we read, “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations”. He is coming to judge the unsaved in the church, and the unsaved in the world, till all the powers of darkness shall be destroyed forever. However, not only as King and Judge does He reveal Himself, but also as:

Our Great High Priest (Revelation 1:13, Hebrews 4:16)

Revelation 1:13
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

What is the meaning that He had a garment down to the foot?

The high priest in the Old Testament wore a long robe, called the robe of the ephod. The Lord Jesus reveals Himself here to John in this long high-priestly garment. Since the garment is hanging down to the feet it indicates that He is not now functioning in the offering of sacrifices of blood, for in that case the garment would have been taken up by means of the girdle. The great and final sacrifice has been offered on the cross. It is finished! On the other hand, since He still wears the golden girdle it shows that this High Priest is still engaged in active ministration in the sanctuary, for the high priest would wear this girdle only as long as he was busy in the temple. Immediately after his service in the temple was accomplished he would lay the girdle aside. And so, we have here a beautiful picture of our Savior as He has finished His sacrificial work on the accursed tree on Golgotha, but He is still engaged as our High Priest and intercessor with the Father in the sanctuary above. There He prays for us, and there He intercedes for us, and from there He blesses us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. A fine point of distinction is that our High Priest in this vision wears a girdle of gold, whereas the ordinary girdles of priests were of fine twined linen and purple and scarlet. The golden girdle indicates that our great High Priest is also a King. And thus the Lord Jesus perfectly matches the picture of being a priest according to the order of Melchisedec. Who was King of Salem and priest of the most high God. And since the Lord Jesus was without sin He qualified to be our great High Priest. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”, from Hebrews 4:16. Therefore, fear not, but let us come boldly to the throne of grace. And remember, it is a throne of grace. It is a throne of unmerited favor. It is not a throne where rewards are given for good works done on this earth, because there are no such things. But When Christ has paid for all our sins, and when God has given us the faith to believe all that He wrote in the Bible, then we have a throne of grace with Christ seated on the throne.

We have seen in Revelation 1:6 that Christ has made us kings and priests. And in Revelation 22:9 God shows us that Christ has also made us prophets. He has made us like Him, because He also is King, and Priest, and a Prophet. That Christ is a prophet is not commonly known, but verse 16 again explains it.

The Prophet (Revelation 1:16, Exodus 7:1-2, Hebrews 4:12)

What is a prophet?

According to God, a prophet is one who brings messages from God to the people. God says in Exodus 7:1-2, “And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land”.

Therefore, anyone who proclaims messages from the Word of God to the people is prophesying, and is declared a prophet in Revelation 22:9. But the Lord Jesus Christ also has the Word of God in His mouth.

Revelation 1:16
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

That twoedged sword represents the Word of God, and for this reason the Lord Jesus is a prophet.

God says in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”.

It is a frightening thought that the Word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our heart. He judges us even before thoughts enter our mind. Just the intents of our hearts are sufficient to condemn us. This is the sharp sword that Christ is able to wield. And for this reason He is called a prophet. But more so, because He reveals Himself as prophet by the Word which He speaks. He addresses John in the vision and commands him to write. John must write all that he sees in a book and send it to the seven churches in Asia. John must write what he has seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter. And most certainly Christ functions as the Prophet of His church, addressing to the seven churches of Asia words of instruction, of consolation, of encouragement, of exhortation and rebuke. And so we see, therefore that in the vision to John our glorified Lord appears in His threefold office of Prophet, Priest and King. And as such He stands in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. Let us first gaze at the:

Seven Churches of Asia (Revelation 1:11, Daniel 7:25-27)

Revelation 1:11
Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Here are these seven churches.

What is the connection between the seven candlesticks and the seven churches?

They are not the same. The candlesticks represent the church in her ideal existence and eternal perfection. The seven churches represent the church as she is in the world, with all her warts and freckles and blemishes. It is the historic church on earth with its essential holiness and actual imperfections and infirmities. It is indeed the church of Christ, but she is in constant need of consolation, and of encouragement, and of exhortation, and of rebuke. And as we draw closer to the Last of the last days, the church becomes more and more the house of God where judgment must begin. We can see this in that same prophecy of Daniel that we were before.

We will now return to the prophecy of Daniel 7:25. We have here the story of the “little horn”, which was actually only little in the beginning of this chapter. This “little horn” represents Satan, who wages war against God, and against the saints in the church in the New Testament era. And since it is God’s plan to loose Satan near the end of time, it will appear that Satan has won this war. We read in Daniel 7:25-27,

Daniel 7:25-26
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

Daniel 7:27
And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven,
shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

And thus it shall be that Satan “shall wear out the saints of the most High”, and “they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time”.

This will not be through physical persecution, because physical persecution from the outside has always strengthened the church. But this assault on the saints will be from inside the local churches and congregations, through gospels that are very close to the true Gospel, but contain deadly errors. We must be constantly on our guard for deadly errors that are floating in other churches around us. Even then we must realize that it is only by the grace of God that we are still relatively faithful. Let us return to Revelation 1:11. These churches were chosen because they were prepared by God through Christ, in order that they might together constitute a picture of the entire church in the world, with its perfections and defects, its strengths and its weaknesses, its trials and temptations. And so we see that the seeds of corruption were already present in five out of the seven churches of Asia.
And this was only the first century after the cross.

Can you imagine what that ratio is after 20 centuries?

In all this turmoil and confusion that goes on around us the Lord Jesus Christ tells us,
“Fear Not! I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”.

"Seven Golden Candlesticks" (Revelation 1:12-13, Hebrews 13:6)

Revelation 1:12-13
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

These seven candlesticks are a symbol of the church in her ideal existence and relation to her Lord, as a light shining to the glory of God in Christ. They represent the church in perfect holiness and righteousness, as she is in the counsel of God, and as she once shall be when the Lord shall present her as His perfected and glorified Bride, without spot or blemish. In the temple the lamp-stand had to be kept burning continuously, and it symbolized that Israel was the light of God shining in the darkness of the world to the glory of Jehovah their God. In the present vision to John the church is that light of God. But since Christ is in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks only through her fellowship with Christ in the Spirit can the church be the light of God. Apart from Christ she is in darkness and lies in the midst of death. The candlesticks are made of gold to indicate the church’s perfection, and purity, and incorruptibleness, because the church is precious unto Christ. He will preserve it. He has purchased it with His own blood. The church is more precious than the finest gold. The church is more glorious than the noblest of metals. The church is incorruptible and imperishable because of her union with her Lord, the Son of God in the flesh, who died and was raised and lives forevermore. And though we may not see the church in such glory, we see with earthly eyes, and our vision is not that of Christ. But who is that church that I have described to you? It is not a building, nor is it a congregation or a set of congregations, but the church of Christ is the Bride that He purchased on the cross, consisting of all individuals who were chosen by the Father when He chose the Bride for His Son, before the foundation of the world. And so, if you know that you belong to this group of saints, Christ says to you, “Fear Not! The Lord is your helper, and have no fear of what man can do unto you”, from Hebrews 13:6.

"Seven Stars" (Revelation 1:16,20)

Revelation 1:16
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Christ had in His right hand seven stars. Christ also laid His right hand upon John. We cannot draw a picture of this. We must see all these 23 statements as independent word pictures, each conveying their own message. His right hand indicates a position of power and authority. For example, when Christ ascended into heaven He sat down at the right hand of God, and we believers are seated with Christ at the right hand of God. And so, the seven stars are in His right hand in a position of power and authority.

Who do the seven stars represent?

We read in Revelation 1:20,

Revelation 1:20
The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

Who are the angels of the seven churches?

Certainly these are not angels. John is commissioned to write letters to these seven angels, and it is difficult to imagine that Christ in heaven would ask a man on earth to write letters to angels who are also in heaven. But the Greek word “angel” also means “messenger”. Furthermore the symbol of a star refers to a light bearer. And since the stars are in the hand of Christ, they are servants who are dependent and subordinate to Him. Therefore the seven stars refer to human beings who are overseers or pastors in these churches. It is the Lord’s good pleasure to enlighten and instruct His church in the world through their ministry. Through them especially it pleases Christ to preach and to preserve His Word. And yet by these stars that are held in the right hand of the glorified Lord the churches themselves are also addressed. You cannot separate these “stars” from Christ. Without Him they are nothing. On the other hand these stars also represent the churches. The churches function through them. When we look at the individual letters to the seven churches, in Revelations chapters 2 and 3, we see that John writes to the angels of the seven churches, but he simultaneously addresses the seven churches. But consider what comfort and glory there is in this. Christ holds the angels of the churches in His right hand, and therefore the churches are also held and preserved by His power alone. Christ knows whose are His. No one can pluck His own out of His hand. These messages to the seven churches of Asia are of concern to us as well as to them. The Lord is addressing these messages to us also. And He speaks to us:

Words of Comfort (Revelation 1:17-20)

Revelation 1:17
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

Revelation 1:18-19
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

Revelation 1:20
The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

What greater comfort can there be that the Lord Jesus Christ says to us, “Fear Not! I have chosen you, and I have purchased you, and I have made you alive, and made your redemption effective at that certain date in your life through the operation of God the Holy Spirit. You are mine. I will never leave you nor forsake you. You may be in a heap of trouble right now. Your troubles may be caused by those whom you once loved dearly, or you may have health problems, or you may be worried about the upbringing of your children, and so on. “Fear Not! I am the first and the last”. I am fully in control of all these things in your life that trouble you. You must trust that all these things will work out for your good. Listen: “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore”.

It means that I was crucified for you, and I died a gruesome death for you. Therefore would I not give everything I have for your wellbeing? Behold, I am alive forevermore to intercede for you, and to pray for you, and I will carry you through these troubles to bring you to a safe haven of rest. “I have the keys of Hell and of death”, which means that demons cannot touch you, evil men cannot touch you; they are entirely under my control. But there is one thing you can do: The seven candlesticks represent the seven churches. Do work that benefit the church, whom I love, and for whom I gave my life and my all. Study your Bible. Mark it up so that you will have beacons of light in this ocean of words. And practice hospitality. Gather together with fellow church members as much as possible, and compare your study notes. Be not afraid to make mistakes, because I have paid for all your mistakes. Fear Not! You are precious in my sight. I am your Mediator, the first begotten of the dead, the firstborn of every creature I am He through whom and unto whom all things were made. In my hands I hold you; in my arms I fold you. I am your Redeemer; I will care for you. AMEN.

By Alfred Chompff

BEHOLD HE COMETH!


The meaning of the word “Revelation” is “the uncovering of something that was hidden”.

What did God uncover when He disclosed the prophecy that is called “The Revelation of John”?

God lifted the tip of the veil covering “the mysteries of the Kingdom of God”. This Reminds me of the words of 1 Corinthians 2:9, where we read,

1 Corinthians 2:9
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

What are these things that God is speaking about?

Look at the context. The context says, (look at Verse 7,) we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, which is nothing else than the Gospel of salvation. The wisdom that God gives us is the wisdom unto salvation. The princes of this world don’t understand it, verse 8. But God has Revealed it to us by His Spirit, verse 10. And so, verse 9 speaks also about the mysteries of the Kingdom of God in the Gospel, mysteries which God has not yet disclosed to us. But now, in the prophecy called “The Revelation of John” God discloses a little more than what He has disclosed in all the previous parts of the Bible. It was written between 90 and 100 AD, and it was addressed to the 7 churches in Asia. The Apostle John was the last of the Apostles still alive, and this was the last of the direct communications from God to man. It begins with the words,

The Revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 2:9, Revelation 1:1-8)

Revelation 1:1
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

Revelation 1:2-3
Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Revelation 1:4
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

Revelation 1:5-6
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 1:7
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Revelation 1:8
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was and which is to come, the Almighty.

Actually the title of this epistle should have been “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”. Most people take it to mean “the revelation which Jesus Christ gave, of which He is the author”. In other words, they read it as if it is saying, “the revelation from Jesus Christ”. But that is not what the Greek text says. When we compare this expression with many other verses where the same sentence construction in the Greek text occurs, then we see that this expression must be understood in the objective sense, meaning that Jesus Christ is the object of this Scripture. It means that Jesus Christ is revealed to us in this last epistle in the Bible. When we study it we see that “the revelation of Jesus Christ” is the central and all important theme of this prophecy. Then this prophecy is not just prophesying history, but it presents history in the light of the revelation of Jesus Christ. From the historical viewpoint this prophecy is rather gloomy and hopeless; one calamity follows another. This is not how we should look at this epistle. We should rather see how all things lead to the final revelation of our Lord in glory. Then we “see Jesus” in all the events of this present time, and we shall not fail to see the blessing that is promised to them that read, and hear, and keep the words of this prophecy. The Lord Jesus speaks in this epistle about:

Things Which Must Shortly Come to Pass (Revelation 1:1, Matthew 24:36, 25:13, John 16:33)

Revelation 1:1
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His Angel unto His servant John:

God gave this revelation of Jesus Christ unto Christ, the Lord Jesus in His humanity, to declare this revelation to John and to declare it us who are His servants.

But what does this mean: “To shew things which must shortly come to pass”?

Does it mean, “To lift the veil that hides the future from our view”?

But that would again turn us to a historical interpretation of this prophecy, and we would be able to trace the fulfillment of this prophecy step by step in the consecutive events of this present time, and then we would be able to determine what time it is on the world-clock. Very soon we would be able to predict the day and the hour of the Lord’s return. As you know, this is the path that many have chosen in these days, but it is a path that is forbidden. The Lord Jesus Christ emphasized this when He said that “No man knows the day or the hour”, Matthew 24:36, 25:13. We must condemn this method of interpretation. “To shew things which must shortly come to pass” really means “to reveal them to us in a new light”, in their real significance, as a part of God’s own program, “as a revelation of the coming Lord”. We must “see Jesus” even in the events of the present world. We must have sufficient light to “hold fast that which we have”, even in the midst of the confusion and darkness and gloom of the history of the world, and of the church in the midst of the world, and of the breaking down of the family structure, and so on. In the midst of all these disasters we must rejoice to see the signs that Jesus is coming again. This then is the purpose of this prophecy: To enable us to see the events of this present time in the light of Christ’s coming, and therein we have peace and rejoice. Remember the words that Jesus spoke in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”.

Be of good cheer is not a flimsy advice, it is a command: “Be of good cheer”. And so, when we consider “the things which must shortly come to pass”, we realize that all things are but the unfolding of the eternal good pleasure of the Most High. They are indeed determined. All things are determined, large and small, what we call good and evil. They do not happen by blind chance, but by the counsel of the all wise Creator of all things. And thus our hearts find rest and peace, because God knows what is best.
And we are assured that all things come to pass because Christ is coming!

“Behold He Cometh”. All these things that we find in this prophecy called “The Revelation of John” must come to pass shortly.

What does that mean?

It means that these things began to take place immediately after the Lord Jesus gave this prophecy to the Apostle John. And thus the history that is unfolding in many of these chapters and passages refers to the entire New Testament period of time. God is not slack concerning His promise, and thus all these things have as their purpose that the whole church must be gathered, the measure of iniquity must be filled, and Gog and Magog must play their own part in the things that must come to pass. There is no delay. And therefore, the doctrine that God restrains the progress of sin is contrary to this Scriptural teaching. That is a doctrine that falls in the category of “common grace”. There is no such thing as “common grace”. And therefore, all things hasten unto the end. And then we read in verse 1, “and He sent and signified it by His Angel unto His servant John”. The Angel here is not an angel, but a Messenger. The Greek word translated “angel” can just as well be translated “messenger”. From the following verses we understand that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself was the Messenger who gave this message to the Apostle John. Briefly paraphrased, this part of verse 1 says, “and God sent His Messenger, the Lord Jesus Christ, and God signified the message in the form of various signs and symbols, and God conveyed it through the Lord Jesus Christ to His servant the Apostle John”.

And what did John do with that message?

We read in verse 2,

John Bare Record of the Word of God (Revelation 1:2, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 11:6, Ephesians 1:4)

Revelation 1:2
Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

Well that is no surprise, is it not?

What is every servant of the Lord Jesus Christ to do in this world?

We bear record of the Word of God. We testify to those whom God sends to us what words of God are recorded in the Bible, we testify where we see Jesus Christ in the Bible and Him crucified, and we testify what principles we see in those words recorded for us. We tell them what God has done for us, and we tell them that God did that for us in the light of what He has done for Himself. It means, when we bring the Gospel to anyone, God must be glorified. It means, we must give Him 100% of all the credit for our salvation. Only then is God glorified. In other words, God is glorified if we tell them that “we are saved by grace, through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast”.

You recognized that I quoted from Ephesians 2:8-9. We can use these words, or any other summation of the Gospel, as long as we do not leave out the essentials, such as Death and Hell.

We bring the good news of salvation, because this is what we are saved from: Death and Hell. God saved us through faith. But that faith is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God. We did not conjure up a saving faith. Our faith is not in the fact that we decided to believe.

Our trust is not in our faith. Our trust is in Christ!

He gave us the faith to believe whatever He has written in the Bible. That is the faith, which has been given to us by grace.

And what is grace?

Grace is the unmerited favor of God that leads us to salvation. And since it is unmerited favor, don’t let anyone turn it around and claim that it was merited by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. That is a gross adulteration of the English language, and it is an abomination in the sight of God. “If it is by grace, then is it no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace”.

This is what God says in Romans 11:6. Therefore, if salvation is the free gift from God, given entirely by grace, not merited by us in any way by our good behavior, or by any other qualifications within us, it means that God must decide whom to give this salvation to. And since God is all wise, knowing the end from the beginning, God must have made such decisions from before the foundation of the world, and thus God did not make such decisions at some point in time when God learned what we have decided. Therefore God chose His elect from before the foundation of the world, and all those elect shall come to believe God’s words in the Bible. This is what we testify to those whom God sends to us.

And what response do we then hear?

“You mean to say that we are robots?”

What should your answer be?

“You are indeed robots, and I will prove it to you. You are Satan’s robots. Satan has programmed you to disbelieve the plain Word of God. When you read something in the Bible that does not agree with what Satan has programmed within you, you will reject it, and you will declare God a liar at this point in the Bible”.

And then you should turn to Ephesians 1:4, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him”, and see if they are willing to discuss it any further. This is what it means “to bear record of the Word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that we see in the Bible”.

Blessed Are They That Hear (Revelation 1:3, Matthew 13:13,16, 1 Peter 1:4-5, Philippians 1:29)

Revelation 1:3
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

The scene that is pictured here in verse 3 is that one person reads the Word of God out loud, and in the audience there are several, or many, who are listening.

But do they hear?

The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 13:13, “Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand”.

You see, the way we come into this world we are not able to hear any message of the Gospel, because Satan has blinded our minds so that we are not willing to hear what Christ has to say. Therefore Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 13:16, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear”.

Only the elect of God can hear spiritual messages from God, because God the Holy Spirit makes it clear to us.

And what is the blessing spoken of here in this verse?

It is the inheritance of the glory of the eternal Kingdom in the day of Jesus Christ, “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”, 1 Peter 1:4-5.

It is the blessedness of the New Jerusalem and of the New Heaven & New Earth where only righteousness dwells, and where the dwelling place of God will be with men forever, with all that it entails. This is the ultimate state of blessedness that the entire epistle of Revelation looks forward to.

Is there also a present blessing in these words?

Absolutely!

God says, “Blessed are they that keep those things which are written therein”.

What does it mean “to keep those things which are written herein”?

Almost all of it is future prophecy.

How can anyone keep this?

Only those who have been saved will hear with spiritual ears, and only they are the ones who keep the words of this prophecy in their heart. They will meditate on it and they will make it their own. They will have an earnest desire to do those things that are pleasing in God’s sight. And so, when Christ speaks the two commands in Revelation 22:18-19, those who are saved will search out how they can remain obedient to this set of commandments. The blessing is knowing that we are doers of the Word, and not hearers only, because Christ has made us doers of the Word. The blessing is to know that we will be faithful unto death, because the grace of God keeps us faithful. The blessing is that we indeed can hold fast that which we have, and that no one can take our crown. And if we do suffer, we firmly believe the words of Philippians 1:29, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake”. Therefore to suffer for His sake is not a burden, but a privilege. That is the blessing for them that keep those things which are written herein. We move on to verse 4:

Grace and Peace (Revelation 1:4, Romans 5:1, 8:28, Luke 21:16)

Revelation 1:4
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

This epistle was addressed to 7 churches in a province that was called Asia, which was actually a small part of what is now called Turkey.

Why only those seven?

By this time the Gospel had spread to almost all the parts of the Roman Empire. I believe God singled out these seven churches because they had all the elements of the church throughout the New Testament period of time. Here God addresses these 7 churches with, “Grace unto you and peace”. I talked already about grace. It is the unmerited favor of God unto salvation. Therefore, paraphrased this greeting says, “May God through Christ by the Holy Spirit operate with His grace in your hearts unto salvation, so that you may have peace with God”.

Peace is always peace with God. Apart from peace with God there is no peace. This is the first fruit of God’s grace. God says in Romans 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

Before we were saved we were at war with God. We were enemies of God, hating God. But when we became saved we were reconciled to God through the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. By His grace we became the adopted sons of God, the Bride of Christ. Therefore God assures us that we are always in His care. God says in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”.

God’s providence makes all things work for our benefit, even all things that we call evil. Let me suggest a few examples.

First: When we see in our secular society the next generation, and we see that they are more wicked than the previous generation, then we can have peace with that because it is pointing to the fact that this world is on a speed train toward Judgment Day.

And what is in it for us on Judgment Day?

Jesus Christ is coming again to take us to be with Him, and in this we should rejoice.

But what about all those people who remain unsaved; they go to Hell. Should we beseech God to give them more time to repent?

Does God need more time in order to save a few?

No! God’s timetable is perfect. And if it is God’s plan to bring on the Last Day very soon, I would not want to bemoan His decision.

Second: When we see that fornication in our society is on the increase, and homosexuality is on the increase, we can have peace in the midst of all this misplaced emphasis on love, sexual love. People say they have a relationship with someone, but in fact they are cohabitating with one another. I do not understand how they can be so dumb to think that if they change the label from fornication to a relationship then it will be all right. But we can have peace with that because Jesus compared the last days with the story of Lot and his two daughters who fled from Sodom. And thus it means that Jesus is coming soon, and in this we can rejoice.

Third: We can look at the local churches around us, and what do we see?

We see pastors and elders who have been divorced and remarried, we see pulpits populated by women as preachers, we see their Bibles which are Gnostic Bibles, we see their study materials which scream the “free will” gospel from off their pages, we see their hocus-pocus with healing miracles and other signs and wonders, we hear of their beliefs that God is still speaking today in dreams and visions and in angel visitations and in tongues, and we hear that they are cozying up to the Roman Catholic Church. It is pointless for me to give Scripture references. The list is just endless. We can have peace with this also, because it means that Christ is coming soon.

Fourth: when we are personally plagued by someone in the family who wants to live out his or her ego-trip, do not let this wear you down. Do not give in to this great pressure. Do not feel sorry for yourself. It will drive you insane, and you will end up in the hands of psychiatrists who will prescribe pills that you will have to take for the rest of your life. And after many years you end up in a wheelchair because of their side-effects. Instead go in the other direction: Have peace with it and rejoice, for Jesus is coming again. Did He not say in Luke 21:16, “And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death”. Just think of it that Almighty God, the Creator of the universe who is greater than this universe, will stoop down to our level and take us up to be with Him forever. “Behold He Cometh”. How awesome!

The First Begotten of the Dead (Revelation 1:5, Colossians 1:15-18, Romans 6:14)

Revelation 1:5
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Many people stumble over this expression, “the first begotten of the dead”, since it seems to imply that Christ had a beginning. Of course we should not look at this from a historical perspective, because Moses was also restored from the dead, and that was about 1400 years before the Lord Jesus rose from the dead. Also, there were two children who were raised from the dead by God through the prophets Elijah and Elisha. So, even though the word “first” is in this expression, do not interpret it historically. But God gave us the Scriptures to interpret this expression perfectly. God says in Colossians 1:15-18, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence”.

This passage emphasizes that Christ is not a created being in any sense. He is before all things. O yes, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but His conception in the womb of Mary only marks the beginning of His incarnation as a human. But because all things were created by Him and for Him, God considers Him the Firstborn of every creature, the One who is entitled to inherit all things from God. And now, in Revelation 1:5 He is “the firstborn from the dead”.

Here we lie in the midst of death.

How can we have peace?

He was here. He was in the womb of death. But His voice that speaks now of grace and peace is not of this world. He rose from the grave. His voice is the resurrection voice. He that speaks to us stands at the other side of death and the grave as the Risen One. And when He passed through death He left the way open. And the “Firstborn” is He that openeth the womb and prepares the way for all His brethren. Thus Christ was in the womb of death, was born from death, and opened the womb of death for all those whom the Father gave Him. And He calls to us: “Grace and peace to you!”

“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”.

He did not just shed His blood for us, but He also applies its atoning power to us. It means that we are not only liberated from the guilt of our sins, but we are also freed from the dominion and the corruption of sin. We have been freed from being enslaved to sin. God says in Romans 6:14, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace”. And so we see that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made us free from the law of sin and death. In this way Christ made us kings and priests:

And He Hath Made Us Kings and Priests (Revelation 1:6, 1 Corinthians 15:28, Daniel 7:14)

Revelation 1:6
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, by His indwelling Spirit, we are actually delivered and translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of the marvellous light of God, and formed into a Kingdom of priests. You see, God’s people are a Kingdom, not just a collection of kings. They are a unity, a Kingdom over which Christ rules as the chief Servant of Jehovah, the High Priest according to the order of Melchisedec. He has a name above all names, and in which His brethren reign with Him, each in his own position and all serving the purpose of the whole, in order that all may be to the glory of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The church is already such a Kingdom now, but incomplete. By faith we already partake of the royal dominion of our Lord Jesus Christ. But only when all the elect have been brought in, and when our earthly bodies shall be transformed into glorious bodies made like unto His most glorious body, and when all things shall be made new in the New Heaven & New Earth, and when the dwelling place of God shall be with men, only then shall this Kingdom of priests be fully realized. And Christ’s reign over it shall be forever and ever.

This chapter 15 is all about the resurrection of the body. The resurrection of the soul is not in question, but the resurrection of the body is. Many people teach that Christ’s reign will end when all things shall be subdued under Him. In other words, when we have arrived in the New Heaven & New Earth. They derive that from 1 Corinthians 15:25 and 28, which read as follows, “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all”.

These verses do not teach that Christ shall ever cease to reign. He now reigns until He has put all enemies under His feet. That is true. And that means that this complete subjection of all enemies under His feet is the purpose of His reign. It is the end that must be attained. And when this end shall have been attained, and all things have been subdued under Him, He Himself will also be subject unto the Father does not mean He will reign no more. Instead it means that He will reign as the Servant of God forever, but reign under Him. All things shall forever be subject to Christ. With all things Christ shall be subject to the Father, and thus God will be all in all. All the Scriptures teach that Christ’s dominion shall never cease, that He will reign forever, His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His Kingdom is that which shall not be destroyed (Daniel 7:14).

"Behold He Cometh" (Revelation 1:7-8)

Can you imagine this awesome event?

Revelation 1:7
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him:
and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Revelation 1:8
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Always the church must have her eyes of hope fixed upon that final event. She must always stand in the attitude of the Bride, looking for the coming of her Bridegroom with the prayer on her lips, “Come, Lord Jesus!” And then, “Even so, Amen”. The word Amen is a Hebrew word. It means, “So be it”, or “It shall surely be!” The Lord shall surely come, we may not doubt it. The suffering of the waiting church may be severe, and it may sometimes seem as if the Lord is slack concerning His promise, But He is surely coming. This promise is sealed with a double oath: “Even so, Amen!” His literal and personal and visible return will mark the end of all history, and will usher in an eternal state of heavenly glory in the New Heaven & New Earth. The history of this world will end with a final catastrophe, a final wonder when every eye shall see the Lord Jesus Christ return in glory. An awesome spectacle. It is the last glorious spectacle all the unsaved shall see before they shall be cast into the Lake of Fire. But for the elect it will be just the beginning of an infinite series of awesome spectacles.

“And all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him”, and that includes those who pierced Him.

Why do they wail?

Where are the saints?

The saints are already with Christ when Christ shall come to judge those on the earth. All the unsaved shall be here on the earth, and they shall all have received their new body which makes them suitable for Hell. The Bible tells us that in our new glorified body we will be immensely glorious. The Apostle John saw one of these saints in his glorified body, and he fell down to worship him. So glorious was his appearing. But the Bible does not disclose what bodies the unsaved will receive at the same time that the saints receive their glorified bodies. We can just imagine that it will not be glorious at all, because they are an abomination to God.

And Christ says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending”. He is the Lord “which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty”. His counsel shall stand, and He will do all His good pleasure. In Him all things have their purpose. Just like all things are out of Him, so all things are through Him and all things are unto Him. From the beginning He made all things with a view to the end. And that end is “the perfect revelation of Jesus Christ”, the One in whom all things in heaven and on earth are to be united forever and ever. AMEN.

By Alfred Chompff

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

THE DAVIDIC COVENANT

Setting Forth The Doctrines of Grace In Salvation

2 Samuel 7:12-16
And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.

He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took [it] from Saul, whom I put away before thee.

And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.


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Have you ever wondered why there was so much preaching on the kingdom?

It was so in the Old as well as in the New Testament.
It was preached before the cross as well as after.
It was first preached by John the Baptist, then Christ, and then by the apostles.
It was preached in all four gospels, and Jesus proclaimed the new birth was necessary before anyone could see or enter into it.

God's people still enter into it today the same way. It was preached in the book of Acts. It is no where given that the kingdom of the gospels was to be an earthly kingdom. It is of note that in the beginning there was to be no earthly king. When Samuel's sons, who were priests also, became overtly wayward, the people desired a king to judge them as other nations (1 Samuel 8:5). Samuel was grieved, but the Lord told him to grant their desire because they had not rejected him, but had rejected the Lord, that he, "should not reign over them" 1 Samuel 8:7). Philip Mauro said this:

"..the New Testament Scriptures have made it plain to all Christians that the Kingdom foretold by the prophets of Israel and announced by Christ and His servants, is of a Spiritual character -- 'not eating and drinking,' as the earthly minded Jews supposed (and still do), 'but righteousness, and peace and joy, in the Holy Ghost' (Romans 14:17)". The Gospel of the Kingdom, P 126.

The Pharisees were seeking an earthly kingdom, and ask Jesus, "..when the kingdom of God should come." Luke 17:20.

His answer was:

"The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold the kingdom of God is within you." (i.e. in your midst)
Luke 17:20-21

Paul said in 1 Corinthians, "Then [cometh] the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power."
1 Corinthians 15:24.

This verse tells us:
(1) The present kingdom will be delivered up to the Father, which completes the suretiship of Jesus, and
(2) the King has been putting down all rule, authority and power in this day. It is not the end of the kingdom, for it is to be forever and ever.

Paul, when describing our salvation, said this, "(The Father)..hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." Colossians 1:13.

Notice the translation was in the past tense (Aorist), and it is Christ's kingdom, who fulfills the Davidic Covenant for which we shall see the scripture telling us later. Paul speaks of our present calling unto (or, into) his kingdom.. (1 Thessalonians 2:12), and Hebrews tells us we are "receiving (present tense participle) a kingdom.." (Hebrews 12:28).

Peter speaks of the "everlasting kingdom" (2 Peter 1:11). John in the Revelation tells of having present "tribulation .. in the kingdom." (Revelation 1:9). John heard the song of Moses sung in heaven which said Jesus was "King of saints". (Revelation 15:3).

Now many have declared the Davidic Covenant was only fulfilled in Solomon. Others have said David will be resurrected and will actually sit on the throne, but it was said of Jesus, ".. the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.." Luke 1:32-33.

This message seeks to show the Covenant unto David was not fulfilled by Solomon only, for he was 'a' fulfillment but not 'the' ultimate fulfillment (1 Kings 8). Nor was it a resurrected David. When the prophets spoke of David, like the coming of Elijah, they meant Christ. When Jesus ascended into heaven he was seated on the throne of David's promised kingdom where He has been ruling and reigning as the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. It was the fulfillment of the preaching concerning the kingdom that it was near and at hand. Our aim here is to show that the Davidic Covenant was fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ, and that He is presently ruling and reigning.

THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS SAID IT WAS JESUS:

Isaiah said, "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.

This tells us:
(1) it is Jesus who will be upon the throne of David, not Solomon nor a resurrected David. The prophet said Elijah would come before the Messiah, but in reality meant John the Baptist, who would come in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17), and said of him, "..if ye will receive [it], this is Elias, which was for to come." Matthew 11:14. So Christ came in the spirit and power of David, and in like manner, Christ is meant;

(2) this King is Divine, the mighty God;

(3) there will be no break in the continuity of the kingdom as some have claimed with their 'postponed kingdom' theory. There will be no end to His kingdom, it is from henceforth even for ever;

(4) this King is not a mere figurehead as some infer. He rules and reigns, as the government shall be on His shoulders.

We are told the covenant made with David can never be abolished, for it is said, "Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; [Then] may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne.." Jeremiah 33:20-21.

THE ANGEL GABRIEL PROCLAIMED IT WAS JESUS:

Mary was told, "He (Jesus) 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 1:32-33.

This passage verifies the message of Isaiah 9:6-7. Again it establishes Jesus being given the throne of His father David. Solomon was not the final fulfilment, nor was David. The original promise in 2 Samuel was that the kingdom would be established forever and ever, and of course both David and Solomon died, and as we shall see, David was not to be resurrected and placed on the throne.

Ironically enough, since Jesus descended through Solomon unto Joseph the husband of Mary, it was not possible for Him through this line to become a king. To see this we must first read part of Jesus' genealogy through Solomon as recorded in Matthew, especially 1:11, "And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon."

Jeconiah was the king of Judah at the time of the Babylonian captivity. Jeremiah said of him, "Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man [that] shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah." Jeremiah 22:30.

With the seed cut off through Solomon, Jesus could not fulfill the covenant as Matthew's line indicates, but only as Luke's which gives us the genealogy of Jesus through Mary. It shows she ascended through Nathan, another son of David (Luke 3:31). Thus Jesus' right to sit on David's throne came through Mary, not Joseph, because Joseph was not his real father. It also shows the other sons of Joseph and Mary had no right to the throne since Joseph was their real father. So of all Mary's children, only Jesus had the divine right to the throne.

We have considered the 'who' was to sit on the throne of David, we will now consider the 'when'.

THE APOSTLE PETER SAID JESUS WAS SEATED ON THE THRONE AT HIS ASCENSION:

We are told by Peter in his sermon on Pentecost, "Men [and] brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."
Acts 2:29-36.

We see that:
(1) David was not meant since he is still in his grave;

(2) David was a prophet;

(3) The Davidic Covenant is meant by "God had sworn with an oath to him";

(4) Christ was raised up to sit on David's throne;

(5) Jesus is presently seated on the right hand of the Father, as with David's co-reign;

(6) Jesus is reigning as He sends the Holy Spirit on Pentecost as promised;

(7) Peter assures us it is not David on his throne, but Christ;

(8) The Father is overcoming Christ's enemies as He did for David.

A.W. Pink, after struggling with his previous stand on eschatology, said this concerning Acts 2:30:

"..God swore to David that Christ should sit on his throne. Let us consider the negative side first: there is not a hint or a word in Peter's comments that Christ would ascend David's throne in the future, and when in verse 34 he quoted Psalm 110:1 in fulfillment of Christ's ascension-"The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand" he did not add "until thou assume the throne of David, but "until I make thy foes thy footstool"! Coming now to the positive side, we have seen that the scope of the apostle's argument was to show that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah, and that He was risen from the dead, had ascended to heaven, and we now add, was seated upon David's throne." The Divine Covenants, P 253.

A.W. Pink, known for his adherence to scriptural accuracy, formerly saw the ascension of Christ to David's throne as future, acknowledging that he had taught what men said rather than what the scripture said concerning the matter. It is an occurence that has happened to many others as well as to this writer. A.W. Pink gives further evidence to the truth taught in Acts 2:

"That which clinches the last-made statement is the "therefore" of verse 36. The apostle there draws a conclusion, and unless his logic was faulty (which it would be blasphemy to affirm), then it must cohere with his premise, namely, Christ's present possession of the throne of David in fulfillment of the oath God had sworn to the patriarch. For the purpose of clarity we paraphrase: the premise was that Christ should sit on David's throne (v. 30): the conclusion is that God hath made Jesus "both Lord and Christ" (v. 36). None but those whose eyes are closed by prejudice can fail to see that in such a connection, being "made Lord and Christ" can mean nothing else than that He is now seated on David's throne." The Divine Covenants, P 253.

In conclusion, we have given the 'who' of the fulfilment of the Davidic Covenant, the Lord Jesus Christ; and we have given the "when'; at the ascension of Jesus into heaven after His resurrection when seated at the right hand of the Father. All those who preached the 'kingdom of heaven is at hand, including our Savior, were not errant, but completely truthful.

By D. Dewberry