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daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Saturday, 21 November 2009 15:07
2 Thessalonians 2:6 - And now you know what holds back the revealing of
him in his time.

The Antichrist cannot be revealed until the time of the administration
of the church is complete. Jesus is the one that is now holding back the
ultimate deception and rebellion of iniquity which cannot be revealed
until He comes: "The mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only
right now He holds it back from the midst until He comes. And at that
time the lawless one shall be revealed, whom the Lord shall destroy with
the spirit of his mouth, and wipe out with the appearance of His
coming." (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). Jesus first comes to finalize the
administration of the church age by receiving the church unto Himself,
and then the lawless one shall be revealed. Jesus will then return with
His saints to fight against the Antichrist and his armies.

Paul had already ministered to the church at Thessalonica concerning the
coming of the Lord Jesus, which we find in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. Paul
ministered concerning this event in light of the resurrection from the
dead. The point that Paul makes is that when Jesus comes, the dead in
Christ will rise first, and those who are alive will be caught up
together into the clouds to meet Jesus in the air. He describes the
event as the time when Jesus comes with a shout and voice of an
archangel, and with God's trumpet. Paul also communicated this same
event to the church at Corinth, and once again spoke of it in context to
the first resurrection or the resurrection of those who died in Christ.
He also revealed once again that those who will be alive would be
immediately changed: from the corruptible and earthly into the immortal
and heavenly. He spoke of it as a mystery, but reveals the fact that it
will happen at the last trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). We know from
the words of Jesus that it will be an event that He personally
initiates, as suggested by 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Jesus said, "With
absolute certainty I tell you: The hour is coming, and now is, when the
dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live."

When we look for this most important event in the book of Revelation, it
is only discovered in the words "after these things;" which refers to
the church age (Revelation 1:19; Revelation 4:1). The first mention of
the resurrection of the dead is not until Revelation 20:5. Daniel speaks
of the time of the resurrection of the just; even though it is mentioned
in association with the time of the Tribulation, it is also grouped with
the resurrection of the unjust - which we know to be separated by 1000
years (Daniel 12:2; Revelation 20:5). The only event in the book of
Revelation that describes a catching away is found in Revelation 12:5,
which speaks of a man child that was born to a woman clothed with the
sun and the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars, which is an
Old Testament symbol for Israel (Genesis 37:9-10). The most appropriate
understanding of this man child born of Israel is the 144,000 that are
first mentioned as being sealed in Revelation 7:4, and then seen in
heaven in Revelation 14:1 with the seal of the Father's name written in
their foreheads.

When we examine the book of Revelation for the Trump of God or the last
trump, the only thing that can be found is in Revelation 10:7;
Revelation 11:15-18. However, this does not concur with the fact that it
is Jesus Himself who descends, neither is there any mention of those who
are alive in Christ being caught up. Jesus spoke of the time at the end
of the Tribulation when he would send his angels with a great sound of a
trumpet, who will gather together His elect; but by context this is
associated with His return to the earth with His saints in Revelation
19:11-21. The reason that the events of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 1
Corinthians 15:51 are not found in the book of Revelation is because
they occur before the Tribulation of Revelation 4-19.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Friday, 20 November 2009 13:39
Mark 6:12 - And they went out, proclaiming that all should repent.

The meaning and foundation of repentance is laid in the Old Testament.
When people in the Old Testament repented, they did so with fasting, and
in sackcloth and ashes (1 Kings 21:27-29; Jonah 3:5-8; 1 Chronicles
21:16; Isaiah 22:12). Repentance was not and should never be a casual
"I'm sorry." There should be great shame and remorse associated with
disobeying God (2 Corinthians 12:21; 2 Chronicles 34:27; Joel 2:13).
There should be fear and sorrow for defying the will of the Almighty!
The sackcloth and ashes was associated with great fear and shame,
insomuch that those who repented would fast and sit in sackcloth and
ashes until they broke through to forgiveness (Joel 2:12; Isaiah 22:12).
Through such an act they would deal with the terrible behavior of the
act of transgression, recognizing that sin would bring them to decay and
corruption as well as extreme poverty. People today have made sin
casual, and they have made repentance just as casual: they fail to
realize how evil the act of sin really is. Many fail to realize that
God's anger burns against sin, insomuch that Hell burns with His wrath
against it! Our hearts should be busted in two when we offend God and
hurt His heart with such acts of betrayal.

Repentance not only carries with it the meaning of great sorrow and
shame, but also a vow never to do the same thing again. When the heart
is broken and contrite before God with a true sorrow over the offense,
God will not refuse us. If we would only consider the magnitude of our
offense, surely we would fear, surely we would be in terror; and our
souls would cry out to God for mercy. Sin is no minor offense carrying
with it some minor reprimand. Hell burns with the judgment of God's
wrath against sin. If sin were not so bad anymore, then God would have
liberated everyone from Hell, and it would no longer exist. If we have
transgressed and desire to be forgiven, then we must humble ourselves
and recognize the severity of our evil; and with a true heart approach
God vowing never to reproach Him again. God is not deceived by the
insincere actions of men (Amos 4:6-13; Zechariah 7:5-7; Joel 2:13). He
has not changed! He will not accept the insincere chants of an
unfaithful people now anymore than He would then (Amos 6:4-6). If we
would only realize what a great offense sin is against God, then our
hearts would be broken with grief and godly sorrow. We would approach
Him with fear and terror over the act of betrayal and defiance against
His kingdom. We would recognize that His wrath still burns against sin.
We would realize that our sin is even worse today than the sins of the
Old Testament, for now we trample the blood of Jesus under foot (Hebrews
10:29).

Should those who love God, whose hearts have been shaped by His Spirit
and renewed in His image, ever surrender themselves to that which
crushes the heart of the Father and defiles that which He has made holy?
Would there be anything less than brokenness and godly sorrow? Is there
no conscience of consequence for rising up in the treasonous act that
brought ruin to Adam and Eve? Have we lost all sense of reality and the
knowledge of the judgment of God? Would we be so destitute of knowledge
and truth that we would draw near to God with our lips, but allow our
hearts to be far from Him? (Matthew 15:8). It is a great shame and
reproach when men approach unto God with their rituals over something so
terrible as sin, which defiles the holy things of the Almighty. Too many
people approach God as though He is nothing more than an idea, rather
than the Living God who will take His vengeance against all
unrighteousness (Psalm 58:10; Isaiah 61:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; Jude
1:7). When men approach God with insincerity, it is then that God
wonders, "Who invited you to come into my presence? Your insincerity is
a reproach and an abomination unto me; like sacrificing a pig and
cutting off a dog's head" (Isaiah 66:3).

Repentance also means to turn away from the sin. The act of repentance
is a vow never to commit the treasonous acts of sin again (Ezekiel
18:26; Ezekiel 33:18; Jeremiah 34:15; Jeremiah 26:3-5). John the
Baptist, as well as Paul, demanded evidence of true repentance from the
people that they preached to (Matthew 3:8; Acts 26:20). Know this: there
are ethical and moral absolutes with God. All those who think that they
can circumvent the responsibility to live godly and holy lives, and yet
somehow remain in a right standing with God, have been deceived. The
unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God; those who continue to
practice any form of ungodliness will not make heaven! (Galatians 5:21;
1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:5). God will not be mocked: whatever a
man sows that shall he also reap. I command you in the name of Jesus -
repent; turn away from all sin, and flee from the wrath that is to come!
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 14:43
Mark 6:6 - And He was amazed at their unbelief. And He went to the
different villages teaching.

With all the signs and wonders and awesome display of the anointing of
the Spirit and the presence of God, everyone who encountered Jesus
should have realized that they had encountered the Savior. However, they
were prisoners of their own selfish interests and circumstances, and
could neither see, hear, or understand; in so much that Jesus was amazed!

The same applies to every man when it comes to the point of the things
that they are convinced of. Many times the limits of our own
understanding and beliefs are the point at which we are no longer able
to hear the voice of God. It was even true of the disciples, who had
spent so much time with Jesus. They could not believe that Jesus would
be anything less than the ruler of the world. The idea that He would
ultimately be rejected and crucified had no place in their theology, and
therefore it was something that they could not understand. After Jesus
had arisen from the dead, He came to the eleven and He rebuked them for
their unbelief and hardness of heart (Mark 16:14).

What things has God told you that you refuse to believe? What
harassments and disappointments have become bigger to you than all the
promises of God? What things do you believe about God that keep you from
hearing His word, and from understanding all of the proofs that He has
presented to convince you of His will for your life? Oh, that each
person would humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, and
understand that God has exalted His word above His own name (Psalm
138:2; Psalm 119:89; Matthew 2:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33). All that we
must do is forsake our own opinions, and humble ourselves like a little
child, and believe and follow Him into the things that we cannot
understand (Matthew 18:3-4; 1 Peter 5:6; Isaiah 66:2). Should we be
willing to be so simple and so trusting and yielded, then we will see
the mighty hand of God's power revealed to us.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Wednesday, 18 November 2009 14:00
1 Thessalonians 3:13 - Unto the establishment of your hearts, blameless
in holiness before God and our Father, in the coming of the Lord our
Jesus with all His holy ones.

When the Scripture refers to the coming of the Lord Jesus, it is
important to recognize that there are four separate events that are
referred to. The first time that Jesus came was when He was incarnated:
born of the virgin to live, die, and resurrect for all mankind. The
second time that Jesus comes is when He comes to manifest himself to the
believers (John 14:18,23). In fact, every time that two or three are
gathered together in His name, He is there. The third time that Jesus
will come is at the time of the "catching away" or "rapture of the
church." This takes place at the end of the church age, which is also
the end of God calling the nations to salvation; rather God will then
come to fight against the nations on behalf of Israel. God will only be
calling the nation of Israel to repentance during the seven years of the
Tribulation. The church age ends just prior to the beginning of the
Tribulation, or the chronology of events that begin in the fourth
chapter of Revelation (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52;
John 14:3; James 5:7-8; Revelation 1:19; Revelation 4:1). The fourth
time that Jesus will come is when He comes with all of His saints, and
will set up God's Kingdom on earth for 1000 years. This event is
pictured in Revelation 19:11-21; Revelation 20:1-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:8;
Matthew 24:3-31 and Jude 1:14-15).

There are several Greek words that are used for the coming of the Lord.
One of these Greek words is 'parousia', which is the Greek word used in
this verse. Another is 'apokalupsis', which means "revealing or
revelation." This particular word was used by the Apostle Peter in 1
Peter 1:7, and also used by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:7. The Greek word
'parousia' is used seven times in 1 and 2 Thessalonians. It is used of
the coming of the Lord Jesus when He came 2000 years ago, as well of His
future coming (2 Peter 1:16). It is used of the catching away - when
Jesus meets His saints in the air. It is also used of the time when
Jesus returns with His saints to fight in the Battle of Armageddon. And
finally, it is used of the coming of God when the New Heavens and the
New Earth will be created, at the end of the 1000 year reign of Christ
Jesus and His saints (2 Peter 3:12). When the scripture addresses the
'parousia' of Jesus to the saints, it is always referring to His coming
at the time of the catching away (1 Thessalonians 4:15; 1 John 2:28; 1
Thessalonians 2:19; 1Thessalonians 3:13).

In summary, Jesus came to redeem, He comes to reveal Himself to His
church, He will come to receive His church unto Himself, and He will
come with His saints to destroy the armies of the Antichrist and set up
his eternal Kingdom.
 
daily bread
Written by Pastor Mark Spitsbergen
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 15:08
1 Chronicles 22:1 - And David said, "This is the house of the Lord God,
and this is the altar of the burnt offering of Israel."

The Lord had long desired to have His dwelling in the midst of His
people Israel. Yet time and again they rejected His will and His
presence. But never was there a breach like the one that took place soon
after the tabernacle of God was set up in the wilderness. Israel had so
rejected God and grieved His heart that He removed His tabernacle from
the midst of the people of Israel, and separated a place for Himself far
away from them (Exodus 33:3,7).

The sacred place of God found no place in the midst of Israel for more
than 400 years. During the days of Joshua it was established in Shiloh,
where it remained for about 300 years (Joshua 18:1). The Israelites
continued to corrupt themselves, and do even worse things than the
inhabitants of the land who dwelt in their midst. Yet God in His mercy
continued to deal with them to bring them to a place of surrender to His
will. By the time Samuel was born, the priesthood had been reduced to
the vile practices of Hophni and Phinehas; who had become sons of Belial
(1 Samuel 2:12,22). Therefore, God finally gave that which represented
His presence over into the hands of the Philistines (1 Samuel 4:17).

The sacred things of God had lost all of their true meaning to the
people of Israel. When God brought back the ark of the covenant into
Israel, the Israelites treated it like a novelty; having no concept of
the sacred nor the awesome reverence that should accompany the holy
things of God. Instead they laid it out upon a rock for everyone to look
at. They had lost all sense of protocol as to how to approach the sacred
things of God; much more God Himself (1 Samuel 6:15,19). After God
reached forth his hand and destroyed over 50,000 men because of the way
they treated His holy things, the people of Bethshemesh sent the ark to
Kirjathjearim; where it remained until the time of David.

Although David loved the Lord and was the anointed of the Lord, the
proper protocol of approaching unto the sacred things of God had been
forgotten, and were foreign to him. His heart yearned to be near to God
and to the place of His holiness, so he sent to Kirjathjearim to bring
the tabernacle of God into the midst of Israel. Yet he failed to seek
God according to due order, and his dear friend who sought to bring
stability to the ark was struck down (1 Chronicles 13:9-10; 1 Chronicles
15:13). The ark was then taken to the house of Obededom. After three
months David's heart still yearned for the holy things of God, and he
went again to bring the ark into the midst of Israel; but this time he
did it with all reverence and worship, using only that which was
consecrated to the Lord to approach unto the Holiness of holinesses.
David choose to take the ark to the high place of Gibeon, thinking that
this would be the place that the house of the Lord would be built; but
he was wrong.

God had given David the supernatural strength to purge the land of
Israel from all of the foreign powers - that should have been driven out
from the midst of Israel long before David. David and his mighty men
destroyed the last of the giants, who posed a threat not only to Israel
but to humanity as a whole. Yet David still did not know how to defeat
his spiritual foe: Satan. Now God's anger was against Israel, and so He
allowed Satan to provoke David to number Israel (2 Samuel 24:1; 1
Chronicles 21:1). When David gave into this temptation and allowed this
thing to take place, he was in fact defiling the people of God; whose
seed could not be counted. Furthermore, he was doing so as an assessment
of their military might, forgetting that God Himself was their military
might and their defense. Because of this offense, God sent a plague
which destroyed 70,000 men.

While David was repenting for his sin that had caused this great evil,
he looked up and saw both the judgment of God and the mercy of God (1
Chronicles 21:15-17). His eyes beheld the means by which the death and
the plague would be stopped; not just for this one event, but for all
time. At that moment he beheld the altar of God and the place of His
mercy seat - where Satan would be destroyed. As Abraham had lifted up
his eyes in the same location and saw the sacrifice of God's lamb, even
so David beheld the place where that Lamb would be slain (1 Chronicles
21:18; Genesis 22:8,13).
 
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