Thursday, August 13, 2015

An Incomparable Inheritance

Let’s consider together the incomparable inheritance of the righteous in Christ.  To inherit is “To possess; to enjoy; to take as a possession, by gift or divine appropriation.” (Webster’s Dictionary). Let’s find out from Scripture what the righteous will take as their possession, by gift or divine appropriation, to enjoy forever on account of Christ.

The Kingdom of God
First of all, the righteous in Christ will inherit the kingdom of God. "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Mat 25:34)

"Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luk 12:32)

We will need a new, glorified body to enjoy the kingdom of God that we will inherit, since human flesh and blood will not inherit it. That's why we seek to attain to the resurrection of the dead (Phil 3:11). The apostle Paul said, “Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1Co 15:49-53)

“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which He promised to those who love Him?” (Jas 2:5)

The Promised Land
For the disciple of Christ, the Promised Land speaks of the kingdom of heaven, also known as the kingdom of God, our eternal dwelling place. The promises given to Israel belong to all God’s children scattered abroad, whom the Lord Jesus has gathered together into one.

As the apostle John wrote about Caiaphas the high priest saying: “Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” (Joh 11:51-52)

As the apostle Paul wrote, “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 3:6, NIV)

"Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'" (Exo 32:13)

“Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. His soul will abide in prosperity, And his descendants will inherit the land.” (Psa 25:12-13)

“For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.” (Psa 37:9)

“But the humble will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.” (Psa 37:11)

“For those blessed by Him will inherit the land, But those cursed by Him will be cut off.” (Psa 37:22)

“Wait for the LORD and keep His way, And He will exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you will see it.” (Psa 37:34)

“For God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah, That they may dwell there and possess it. The descendants of His servants will inherit it, And those who love His name will dwell in it.” (Psa 69:35-36)

Thus says the LORD, "In a favorable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages; (Isa 49:8)

"When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you. But the wind will carry all of them up, And a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in Me will inherit the land And will possess My holy mountain." (Isa 57:13)

"I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, And an heir of My mountains from Judah; Even My chosen ones shall inherit it, And My servants will dwell there. (Isa 65:9)

'For there will be peace for the seed: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce and the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things. (Zec 8:12)

"However, there will be no poor among you, since the LORD will surely bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, if only you listen obediently to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today. (Deu 15:4-5)

"So Moses swore on that day, saying, 'Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the LORD my God fully.' (Jos 14:9)

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.” (Heb 11:8)

“The righteous will inherit the land And dwell in it forever.” (Psa 37:29)

Eternal Life
The Scriptures say the righteous will inherit eternal life, and that will be forever. “The LORD knows the days of the blameless, And their inheritance will be forever.” (Psa 37:18)

"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” (Mat 19:29)

As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. "You know the commandments, 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'" (Mar 10:17-19)

A ruler questioned Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. "You know the commandments, 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother.'" And he said, "All these things I have kept from my youth." When Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Luk 18:18-22)

And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this and you will live."  (Luk 10:25-28)

“So that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Tit 3:7)

Salvation
The apostle Paul wrote about the angels, known as ministering spirits, sent to serve the heirs of salvation. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb 1:14)

The Earth
While the references to the Land the righteous will inherit refer to our eternal dwelling place in the kingdom of God, it is also true that the righteous will inherit the earth.

Jesus said, "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth." (Mat 5:5)

Honor
"He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap To make them sit with nobles, And inherit a seat of honor; For the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, And He set the world on them. (1Sa 2:8)

“The wise will inherit honor, But fools display dishonor.” (Pro 3:35)

Good
“He who leads the upright astray in an evil way Will himself fall into his own pit, But the blameless will inherit good.” (Pro 28:10)

An Inheritance
"And I said, 'Who are You, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 'But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.' (Act 26:15-18)

“For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” (Heb 9:15)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,” (1Pe 1:3-4)

“Also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,” (Eph 1:11)

“Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” (Col 1:12)

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” (Col 3:23-24)

Blessing
The apostle Peter wrote, “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” (1Pe 3:8-9)

The Holy Spirit of Promise is a Pledge
“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Eph 1:13-14)

The Lord
The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot.” (Psa 16:5)

Matthew Henry remarked about the Lord as our inheritance with these words:

“Choosing the Lord for its portion and happiness. ‘Most men take the world for their chief good, and place their felicity in the enjoyments of it; but this I say, The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup, the portion I make choice of, and will gladly take up with, how poor soever my condition is in this world. Let me have the love and favour of God, and be accepted of him; let me have the comfort of communion with God, and satisfaction in the communications of his graces and comforts; let me have an interest in his promises, and a title by promise to everlasting life and happiness in the future state; and I have enough, I need no more, I desire no more, to complete my felicity.’ Would we do well and wisely for ourselves, we must take God, in Christ, to be…the portion of our inheritance in the other world. Heaven is an inheritance. God himself is the inheritance of the saints there, whose everlasting bliss is to enjoy him. We must take that for our inheritance, our home, our rest, our lasting, everlasting, good, and look upon this world to be no more ours than the country through which our road lies when we are on a journey.”

A New Heaven and A New Earth
He who overcomes will inherit a new heaven and a new earth. The apostle John wrote, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’ And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ And He said, ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true.’ Then He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.’” (Rev 21:1-7)

The Promises of God
In Hebrews 6, the term “promises” refers to all that God promised Abraham.

“And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.’ And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.” (Heb 6:11-15)

“For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.”  (Gal 3:18)

Those in Christ Are Heirs with Him
“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Rom 8:16-17). This says to me that whatever Christ inherits the righteous will inherit also.

Matthew Henry also saw it the same way. He wrote:

"Christ, as Mediator, is said to be the heir of all things (Heb 1:2), and true believers, by virtue of their union with him, shall inherit all things, Rev 21:7. Those that now partake of the Spirit of Christ, as his brethren, shall, as his brethren, partake of his glory (Joh 17:24), shall sit down with him upon his throne, Rev 3:21. Lord, what is man, that thou shouldst thus magnify him! Now this future glory is further spoken of as the reward of present sufferings and as the accomplishment of present hopes."

“And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise.” (Gal 3:29)

The Inheritance of the Wicked and Foolish
By way of contrast, it's worth mentioning what the wicked and foolish will inherit.

"He who troubles his own house will inherit wind, And the foolish will be servant to the wisehearted." (Pro 11:29)

"The naive inherit foolishness, But the sensible are crowned with knowledge." (Pro 14:18)

“For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Eph 5:5)

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God." (1Co 6:9-10)

"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Gal 5:19-21)

"See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears." (Heb 12:15-17)

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels'...Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Mt 25:41,46, NIV)

"But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."  (Rev 21:8)

The Lord’s Inheritance
The Scriptures say that the saints are the Lord’s inheritance.

'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. (Psa 2:8)

'I will abandon the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies, and they will become as plunder and spoil to all their enemies; (2Ki 21:14)

"Whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, 'Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.'" (Isa 19:25)

"I brought you into the fruitful land To eat its fruit and its good things. But you came and defiled My land, And My inheritance you made an abomination. (Jer 2:7)

"I have forsaken My house, I have abandoned My inheritance; I have given the beloved of My soul Into the hand of her enemies. (Jer 12:7)

"My inheritance has become to Me Like a lion in the forest; She has roared against Me; Therefore I have come to hate her. (Jer 12:8)

"Is My inheritance like a speckled bird of prey to Me? Are the birds of prey against her on every side? Go, gather all the beasts of the field, Bring them to devour!
(Jer 12:9)

"I will first doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted My land; they have filled My inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable idols and with their abominations." (Jer 16:18)

I will gather all the nations And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; And they have divided up My land. (Joe 3:2)

"Terror and dread fall upon them; By the greatness of Your arm they are motionless as stone; Until Your people pass over, O LORD, Until the people pass over whom You have purchased. "You will bring them and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, The place, O LORD, which You have made for Your dwelling, The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established. "The LORD shall reign forever and ever." (Exo 15:16-18)

"I prayed to the LORD and said, 'O Lord GOD, do not destroy Your people, even Your inheritance, whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. (Deu 9:26)

'Yet they are Your people, even Your inheritance, whom You have brought out by Your great power and Your outstretched arm.' (Deu 9:29)

(for they are Your people and Your inheritance which You have brought forth from Egypt, from the midst of the iron furnace), (1Ki 8:51)

"For You have separated them from all the peoples of the earth as Your inheritance, as You spoke through Moses Your servant, when You brought our fathers forth from Egypt, O Lord GOD." (1Ki 8:53)

"Save Your people and bless Your inheritance; Be their shepherd also, and carry them forever." (Psa 28:9)

"You shed abroad a plentiful rain, O God; You confirmed Your inheritance when it was parched." (Psa 68:9)

"Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old, Which You have redeemed to be the tribe of Your inheritance; And this Mount Zion, where You have dwelt." (Psa 74:2)

“O God, the nations have invaded Your inheritance; They have defiled Your holy temple; They have laid Jerusalem in ruins.” (Psa 79:1)

"That I may see the prosperity of Your chosen ones, That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, That I may glory with Your inheritance." (Psa 106:5)

Let the priests, the LORD'S ministers, Weep between the porch and the altar, And let them say, "Spare Your people, O LORD, And do not make Your inheritance a reproach, A byword among the nations. Why should they among the peoples say, 'Where is their God?'" (Joel 2:17).

"For the LORD'S portion is His people; Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance.” (Deu 32:9)

"Then Samuel took the flask of oil, poured it on his head, kissed him and said, 'Has not the LORD anointed you a ruler over His inheritance?'" (1Sa 10:1)

"He also delivered His people to the sword, And was filled with wrath at His inheritance." (Psa 78:62)

"From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance." (Psa 78:71)

"For the LORD will not abandon His people, Nor will He forsake His inheritance." (Psa 94:14)

"Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against His people And He abhorred His inheritance." (Psa 106:40)

"The portion of Jacob is not like these; For the Maker of all is He, And Israel is the tribe of His inheritance; The LORD of hosts is His name." (Jer 10:16)

"The portion of Jacob is not like these; For the Maker of all is He, And of the tribe of His inheritance; The LORD of hosts is His name." (Jer 51:19)

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints," (Eph 1:18)

Putting it All Together
All who are in Christ are fellow heirs with Him, and we are His inheritance. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble; that there be no immoral or godless person among you. For such people do not inherit the kingdom of God. Rather let’s imitate those who through faith and patience inherit all that God has promised the righteous, including salvation, the earth, honor, good, eternal life, the kingdom of God, also known as the kingdom of heaven, the Holy Spirit, and even the Lord Himself.  What an incomparable inheritance!

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, where noted. The "All Hail King Jesus" painting © 2012 is by Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist. The "View Over Crystal Lake" and "River of Delights" paintings are by my seventeen-year old daughter, C.V. Lacroix. You can enjoy more of her lovely artwork at A Brush with Life.


Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, please also read
The Kingdom of God as Revealed to James Agboola, Angelic Escape from Terrorist Assassins, Gabriel Doufle Kokou Testimony of Heaven and Hell, Linda Ngaujah Revelation of Heaven and Hell, Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, The Link Between Two Realms, and The Secret Kingdom.  You may access the Main Directory for The Kingdom of God is Like This, and you may also my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Sudden Nature of God's Kingdom

Have you ever noticed the sudden nature of God's kingdom?  Things happen so suddenly!  In other words, they occur in an unexpected manner without preparation. So I thought it would be good to look at that in the Word together with you, because it's very encouraging and edifying.

God Suddenly Speaks
First of all, the Lord speaks suddenly.

Suddenly the LORD said to Moses and Aaron and to Miriam, ‘You three come out to the tent of meeting.’ So the three of them came out.” (Num 12:4)

"Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, 'Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.' While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, 'This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!' When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified." (Mat 17:1-6)

God Acts Suddenly
Not only does God speak suddenly, but He also acts suddenly.

"I declared the former things long ago And they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.” (Isa 48:3)

Suddenly the fingers of a man's hand emerged and began writing opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace, and the king saw the back of the hand that did the writing.” (Dan 5:5)

“And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” (Act 2:2)

“As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him;” (Act 9:3; cf. 22:6)

“And suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened.” (Act 16:26)

"And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea." (Act 8:38-40)

Temple Restored Suddenly
When the people of Israel rebuilt the temple after their exile, it was restored suddenly, because God's hand was with them in it. “Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what God had prepared for the people, because the thing came about suddenly.” (2Ch 29:36)

Calamity Comes Upon the Wicked Suddenly
I think it's also worthwhile to note how calamity also come suddenly upon the wicked.

"Why do the wicked still live, Continue on, also become very powerful? …They spend their days in prosperity, And suddenly they go down to Sheol [Hell].” (Job 21:7,13)

“I myself have seen a fool taking root, but suddenly his house was cursed.” (Job 5:3, NIV)

“But God will shoot them with his arrows; they will suddenly be struck down.” (Psa 64:7, NIV)

“How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!” (Ps 73:19, NIV)

“Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.” (Pro 29:1, NIV)

“A worthless person, a wicked man, Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth, Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet, Who points with his fingers; Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, Who spreads strife. Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.”  (Pro 6:12-15)

“My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those who are given to change, For their calamity will rise suddenly, And who knows the ruin that comes from both of them?” (Pro 24:21-22)

“Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them.” (Ecc 9:12)

“But the multitude of your enemies will become like fine dust, And the multitude of the ruthless ones like the chaff which blows away; And it will happen instantly, suddenly.” (Isa 29:5)

“Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, ‘Since you have rejected this word And have put your trust in oppression and guile, and have relied on them, Therefore this iniquity will be to you Like a breach about to fall, A bulge in a high wall, Whose collapse comes suddenly in an instant…’” (Isa 30:12-13)

"But these two things will come on you suddenly in one day: Loss of children and widowhood. They will come on you in full measure In spite of your many sorceries, In spite of the great power of your spells.” (Isa 47:9)

"But evil will come on you Which you will not know how to charm away; And disaster will fall on you For which you cannot atone; And destruction about which you do not know Will come on you suddenly.” (Isa 47:11)

"Will not your creditors rise up suddenly, And those who collect from you awaken? Indeed, you will become plunder for them.” (Hab 2:7)

“Disaster on disaster is proclaimed, For the whole land is devastated; Suddenly my tents are devastated, My curtains in an instant.” (Jer 4:20)

“O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth And roll in ashes; Mourn as for an only son, A lamentation most bitter. For suddenly the destroyer Will come upon us.” (Jer 6:26)

"Their widows will be more numerous before Me Than the sand of the seas; I will bring against them, against the mother of a young man, A destroyer at noonday; I will suddenly bring down on her Anguish and dismay.” (Jer 15:8)

“May an outcry be heard from their houses, When You suddenly bring raiders upon them; For they have dug a pit to capture me And hidden snares for my feet.” (Jer 18:22)

Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken; Wail over her! Bring balm for her pain; Perhaps she may be healed.” (Jer 51:8)

“While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.” (1Th 5:3)

The fact that calamities come so suddenly upon the wicked should be a deterrent against wickedness among God's people. It should put the fear of the Lord into our hearts, so that we avoid joining in with the wicked in their deeds and avoid friendship with the world.

Trials and Hardships May Come Suddenly
However, being righteous does not mean your life will be free from sudden trials or hardships. Quite the contrary. Suffering is a normal part of our walk with God.  Just look at Job:

“While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, ‘Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!’” (Job 1:18-19, NIV)

Likewise, the disciples encountered their share of sudden trials, even while the Lord was right there with them. “Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.” (Mt 8:24, NIV)

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation." (1Pe 4:12-13)

“For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?” (1Pe 4:17-18)

Sin Happens Suddenly
In light of what Peter said about judgment beginning with the house of God in the form of fiery trials coming upon us to test us, we should avoid sin in all its many forms. Otherwise, if you are not careful, it can happen suddenly.

“With her many persuasions she entices him; With her flattering lips she seduces him. Suddenly he follows her As an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool, Until an arrow pierces through his liver; As a bird hastens to the snare, So he does not know that it will cost him his life.” (Pro 7:21-23).

That why we should pray that we will not be led into temptation, which is something the enemy desires to do in our lives. 

Evil spirits Manifest and Attack Suddenly
Just as sin happens suddenly, it's also true that evil spirits manifest and attack suddenly.

“They shoot from ambush at the innocent; they shoot suddenly, without fear.” (Ps 64:4, NIV)

“And a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly screams, and it throws him into a convulsion with foaming at the mouth; and only with difficulty does it leave him, mauling him as it leaves.” (Luk 9:39)

We battle not against flesh and blood, but against evil at many levels of the kingdom of darkness. For every sin, there is a demon by that same name.  And when you commit a sin, you open yourself up to being a pathway for the devil.

The devil and his demons are determined to take mankind down to hell. Therefore, be on your guard. Be vigilant. Peter wrote, "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world." (1Pe 5:8-9)

Holy Angels Appear and Disappear Suddenly
If you are walking in the light as Jesus Christ is in the light, then you can be encouraged by the fact that you have a host of unseen, angelic forces around you protecting you. Those who are with us are more than those who are with the enemy. They usually don't appear, but when they do, it usually happens suddenly.

"Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, 'Alas, my master! What shall we do?' So he answered, 'Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.' Then Elisha prayed and said, 'O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.' And the LORD opened the servant's eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha." (2Ki 6:15-17)
 
When the Lord took Elijah from Elisha, it happened suddenly that a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared. “As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.” (2 Ki 2:11, NIV)

“And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.” (Luk 2:9)

“And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’" (Luk 2:13-14)

“While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living One among the dead?’” (Luk 24:4-5)

“Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me…” (Ac 10:30, NIV)

“And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter's side and woke him up, saying, "Get up quickly." And his chains fell off his hands.” (Act 12:7)

“They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.” (Ac 12:10, NIV)

“They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them." (Act 1:10, NIV)

It was rather suddenly that an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, when the apostles were heading back to Jerusalem from Samaria. He was instructed to go in a different direction.

"So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans. But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, 'Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.' (This is a desert road.)" (Act 8:25-26)

Visions and Revelations May End Suddenly
On the Mount of Transfiguration that I mentioned already, the disciples saw Elijah and Moses talking with Jesus enveloped by a white cloud. Then just as suddenly as it began, it ended when Elijah and Moses disappeared. “Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.” (Mk 9:8, NIV).  That's the nature of visions and revelations the Lord gives to His people. They can end suddenly, like being disconnected from a phone call.

The Lord Appears Suddenly
Even more wonderful than angels appearing suddenly is the fact that the Lord Himself can appear suddenly to anyone at any time, and He still does so today. “Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.” (Mt 28:9, NIV).

While I have not yet had that privilege, I know others who have, and hope to one day see Him myself.

The Lord Will Come Suddenly
Lastly, I want to remind you that the Lord is coming right away.  He is coming quickly.  And when it happens, it will be suddenly.

"’Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,’" says the LORD of hosts.” (Mal 3:1)

"And he said to me, 'These words are faithful and true'; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place. 'And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.'" (Rev 22:6-7)

"Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap;” (Luk 21:34)

"Therefore, be on the alert--for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning-- in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. "What I say to you I say to all, 'Be on the alert!'" (Mar 13:35-37)

The sudden nature of God's kingdom requires that we remain on the alert.  Let us be found watching.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. Other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, where noted. The "Jesus' Shining Face" and "Daddy and His Guardian Angel" illustrations (which have both been retouched electronically), as well as "Thou Art Worthy", were made by my seventeen-year old daughter, C.V. Lacroix. You can find more of her lovely, inspired artwork at A Brush with Life.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, please also read The Kingdom of God as Revealed to James Agboola, Angelic Escape from Terrorist Assassins, Gabriel Doufle Kokou Testimony of Heaven and Hell, Linda Ngaujah Revelation of Heaven and Hell, Michael Thomas Sambo's Revelation of Heaven and Hell, The Link Between Two Realms, and The Secret Kingdom.  You may access the Main Directory for The Kingdom of God is Like This, and you may also my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Time for Everything

Seasonal Reflections
We learn from Scripture that “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity…”  (Eccl. 3:1-3).  Notice it says a time for everything, and then separately it refers to a season for every activity.  That's what I want to talk to you about today.

A Time for Miracles
Jesus said a lot about time. There is a time for us to be involved in miracles.  Jesus replied, “Dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.”  (Jn. 2:4). Then he proceeded to turn the water to wine, his first miracle. 

There’s also a time to be healed, a time to plant, a time to laugh. Timing is the key to every miracle. One Friday, one of our elders named Bob had a bad fall.  This was the seventh time he had fallen in recent years.  He hurt his neck and wrist and was limping.  That night, a brother named Jeremiah was visiting and he prayed for Bob, who was then miraculously healed without any more pain.  This was the Lord’s timing, that His glory might be revealed.

Remember that Lazarus fell ill and Jesus was told about it.  Then Lazarus died, and Jesus showed up four days later in the timing of the Lord.  It seemed like Jesus was too late and had missed the opportunity to heal Lazarus. Yet Jesus raised him from the dead, and the glory of the Lord was revealed.

Harvest Time
Golden Grain Harvest
There is a time for souls to be harvested. "Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, 'First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.'" (Mat 13:30)

“Do you not say, ‘Four more months and then the harvest?  I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields.  They are ripe for harvest!”  (Jn 4:35).  The Lord wants to teach us to observe with the eyes of our spirit from moment to moment, and see things as God sees them, rather than the way they appear in the natural realm.

There is a designated time to do the Lord's work. Jesus said, "We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work." (Joh 9:4). As long as it is day, we must work the works of the Lord, because the night is coming when no man can work.

Understanding the Times
Jesus said, “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as the twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.”  (Mk 13:28).  We need to develop a similar ability to understand the times by what we see, hear, and sense in our spirit.

There are various times and seasons that occur on God's timeline.  Some people don't believe there is any such thing as dispensations, but it is right in the Bible. For example, there is the time of God's favor, which we are currently in. "For he says, 'In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.' I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." (2 Cor 6:2).

There is also "the times of the Gentiles."  Jesus said, "They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." (Lk 21:24, NIV).  The times of the Gentiles began with the salvation of Cornelius and his household in Acts 10, and it continues until it is fulfilled at a future date that is soon approaching.

There is the time of Jacob's trouble. Jeremiah said, "How awful that day will be! No other will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it." (Je 30:7, NIV).  This is also called the time of punishment.  "For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written." (Luk 21:22, NIV). This period runs concurrent with the time of great distress, known as the Great Tribulation. "For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again." (Mt 24:21). This period will last for a time, times, and a half time, during which the antichrist will reign on earth.

"He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time." (Dan 7:25, NIV).

"The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, 'It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.'” (Dan 12:7, NIV).

"When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus." (Rev 12:14-17, NIV)

A Time to Be Persecuted
Jesus warned us in advance that a time will come for us to be persecuted. "They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God…But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.  (Joh 16:2,4)

A Time for True Worship
Jesus said, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father…But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.”  (Joh 4:21,23). There was even timing for this juncture in the history of mankind when the nature of worship would be changed.

A Time for Plain Talk
Jesus said, “A time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father.” (Jn 16:25). There is a time for receiving clear revelation of the Father. In fact, immediately after He said that, His disciples realized He was no longer speaking to them figuratively, but plainly.

Jesus' Entire Life Happened on God's Schedule
There was a time for Jesus to be born.  Paul said that God sent His Son “when the time had fully come.” (Galatians 4:4). There was a time for Jesus to begin preaching.  Jesus came preaching the gospel of God and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mar 1:15). The word for time is “kairos”, meaning “set or proper time, season, or time.”

Whenever His enemies tried to seize Him, before it was time for Him to be crucified, they were unable to do so. “So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.” (Joh 7:30)

“These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.”  (Joh 8:20)

Jesus brothers were going up to the Feast and asked Jesus if He was coming with them. “So Jesus said to them, ‘My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune…Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.’" (Joh 7:6,8). As children of God, not just any time is right. There is a right time that we must wait for.

There was Jerusalem's "time of visitation" when God visited the city through His Son Jesus Christ. However, they did not recognize it. He said, "You did not recognize the time of your visitation." (Luk 19:44b)

The Lord knew when the hour had come for Him to glorify God by giving His life on the cross for the sins of the world. “And Jesus answered them, saying, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.’”  (Joh 12:23).

"Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name. Then a voice came out of heaven: ‘I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.’" (Joh 12:27-28)

“Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You…’” (Joh 17:1)

There was a time for Him to be betrayed.  He said, “Look, the hour is near and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” (Mt 26:45; cf. Mk 14:41). There was a time for Jesus to be handed over to be crucified.  Jesus knew it would be “during the Passover.”  (Mt 26:2). 

He told the disciples, “Now is your time of grief.” (Jn 16:22).  There was a time for His disciples to grieve for Him. There was even a time for Peter’s denial of Christ.  It was to happen “this very night before the rooster crows.” (Mt 26:34).  The Lord even knows in advance when we will stray and disobey.

He knew when the hour had come for all His disciples to be scattered. "Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.”  (Joh 16:32).

Jesus also knew the time He would rise from the dead would be on the third day. (Mk 10:34).

The Time of His Return
Jesus said regarding the timing of His future return, “Be on guard.  Be alert.  You do not know when that time will come.” (Mk 13:33).

"For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” (Mat 24:44)

"But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. "You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect." (Luk 12:39-40)

Just as there were the days of Moses, the days of Noah, and the days of Elijah, there will be the days of the Son of Man, when Jesus returns.  And He said to the disciples, "The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. "They will say to you, 'Look there! Look here!' Do not go away, and do not run after them. "For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man." (Luk 17:22-26).

The Millenium
Another time period mentioned in the Scriptures, which is yet future and takes place on earth is called "the thousand years."  Since the word millenium means a thousand years, many people refer to this period as "The Millenium."  It is spoken of in the prophets, as well as the book of Revelation.

"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." (Rev 20:1-10)

As the Scripture says, Christ will reign during "the thousand years" period, and so shall the one who has part in the first resurrection.  The Scripture speaks of "the thousand years" eventually being completed.

Opportunities to Serve and the Judgment Day
The Good Samaritan
We all face the tyranny of the urgent in our lives each day.  It could be a phone call or an errand.  We are often distracted and detoured to the right or the left by the seemingly urgent, and skip what’s important to God.  When we do so, we miss the Lord’s timing.  Instead we need to avoid those distractions and give priority to what God is doing.

When do we do these things that are important to God?  The righteous will ask this same question on the judgment day, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and cloth you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”  They wanted to know the times when they had obeyed.  Jesus replies, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”  (Mt 25:37-40).

Likewise, the wicked will ask Him when they had failed to do these things.  He will tell them that whatever they did not do for the least of these brothers of His, they did not do for Him.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live…Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” (Joh 5:25,28-29)  

During our lives on earth, the Lord gives us opportunities to repent and opportunities to obey.  There are times of refreshing that come from the Lord’s presence when we repent and turn to the Lord.  (Acts 3:19).

We as servants of the Lord must perform our duties at the proper time. And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time?" (Luk 12:42)

God's Set Schedule
Both dates and times are on God’s set schedule. Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, the apostles asked Him if He was at that time going to restore the kingdom to Israel. “Then they gathered around him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority.’” (Acts 1:6-7, NIV). In this verse, the word “times” is “kairos,” and the word “dates” is “chronos” meaning “a fixed or special occasion; or interval; an individual opportunity; season, space, time, while.”

We don’t usually get advance notice of when these things will happen. Yet in both our actions and our postponements, we may either obey or compromise. While it is not for us to know the times or dates the Father has set, we are still supposed to operate in the timing of the Lord, in step with the Lord, and in the peace of God. (Galatians 5:25).

The Age to Come
I have already mentioned that there are biblical references to various dispensations on God's timeline.  One of them that I did not yet mention specifically is a future period, called "the renewal of all things" or "the regeneration." In the account of the incident when His disciples asked what their reward would be, since they had left everything to follow Him, Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." (Mt 19:28-29, NIV).

The Greek word for "the renewal of all things" is "paliggenesia", meaning "Rebirth (the state or the act), that is, (figuratively) spiritual renovation; specifically Messianic restoration: - regeneration." (Strongs). The New American Standard Bible and some other versions translate this as "regeneration" in the verse above. The Lord said this regeneration would occur "when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne." Luke's gospel records this same exchange between Jesus and His disciples as follows:

And He said to them, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life."  (Luk 18:29-30).

Here in Luke's account, Jesus referred to "the renewal of all things" as "the age to come".  The word for “age” in this verse is “aion,” meaning “perpetuity (also past); age, course, eternal, (for) ever, ever.” (Strongs). In that "age to come", all things will be renewed for the righteous, and we will inherit eternal life. As the Scripture says:

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.' And He who sits on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' And He said, 'Write, for these words are faithful and true.'" (Rev 21:1-5)

Therefore, this renewal of all things is an age yet to come, when Jesus Christ sits on His glorious throne. Our Lord and His Christ will reign forever and ever, and His kingdom will have no end (Lk 1:33; Rev. 11:15; Exo. 15:18; Psa. 146:10; Mic. 4:7).  How can we begin to grasp eternity or measure it? In heaven there is no time, but rather ages.  One age follows another as God’s program unfolds and His kingdom is advanced, and it goes on for eternity.

Every day that we are given to remain alive on this earth is God's grace to us. It's another opportunity to serve, another opportunity to repent, and another opportunity to obey.  Let's make the most of every opportunity with the Lord's help, practicing righteousness, holiness, and truth, so that we may dwell with Him throughout eternity. Jesus Christ is the one and only Way to heaven.  There is no other way but through Him.

Attribution notice: Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®,  "The Good Samaritan" by Dan Burr of Dan Burr Illustration copyright 2013 used by permission.  "Golden Grain Harvest" and "Seasonal Reflections" illustrations by my sixteen-year old daughter, C.V. Lacroix. You can find more of her artwork at A Brush with Life. "Time is At Hand" and "All Hail King Jesus" paintings © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this article, I also recommend Times ans Epochs the Father Has DeterminedThe Kingdom of God as Revealed to James Agboola, The Link Between Two Realms, Michael Shigaba's End Time Message for Mankind, Sequence of Signs Preceding the Coming of Christ, Synching Up the Seven Seals with the Gospels Rapture Revelation to Angelica Zambrano, The Kingdom of God is Like This, Righteous Deeds and White Robes, and The Judgment Seat of Christ. Other related articles are available on the Home page. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
_________________________________________________

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Kingdom of God as Revealed to James Agboola

Brother James Agboola
I wrote in my recent article James Agboola Revelation of Heaven and Hell, of a testimony from a brother who actually died and came back to tell about it. His spirit came out of his body and he went to the place where others have gone and never come back.  From this brother’s testimony there are a number of lessons about three different topics, including the Kingdom of God, the kingdom of darkness, and life after death.  In this article, I will use his own words in summary of the lessons learned about the first of those three topics -- the Kingdom of God.

Regarding the Kingdom of God, James was allowed to experience what it will be like at the rapture, in which there will be a very loud trumpet sound, and the righteous will suddenly be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and taken to heaven. Each one will be given a white robe. However, he was shown that after you’ve been raptured, your work must be tested. Your work has to be examined. Your life has to be examined before you proceed, based on what is written in your file, and some are still disqualified from there.  Those whose works qualify are allowed to enter through the gate.

There is nothing dead in the Kingdom of God. Everything in the Kingdom of God is alive. There’s nothing dead.  Everything is moving and praising God. There is the sound of instruments praising God with sweet melodious songs. Everybody speaks one language there. The streets are made of pure gold and so are the buildings.  Everything is beautiful, and there is the river of life. The righteous are living in paradise, where they are now comforted with peace. And their life on earth is a distant memory that is difficult to remember, as of a place they only passed through very briefly.

He was shown that the world is on the verge of collapse, because of the sin of the world.  But before it collapses, God will rapture His people out of it. Until then it remains in total darkness. The world is full of darkness. Darkness has taken over. And the arrows of death will come invisibly to take the lives of millions from the earth.  When those arrows strike a person, they instantly take the person’s life. But the righteous ones are sealed with a seal that can only be seen in the spirit realm as a star, so that the arrows of death have no power over them.  The arrows are diverted away from them.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No any other way can lead anyone to the Kingdom of God. No any other way. No any other religion. It’s only Jesus Christ. If you go away from His way, your name will be removed from The Book of Life, and you will lose the Kingdom of God. So you must continue the race. And at the end of the race, if you make it, your destination is the Kingdom of God.  Whatsoever you read in the Bible, it’s just as it is -- there is nothing additional, nothing different, just the truth. Everything in the Bible is just as it is. Just read it and believe it. And it shall be with your soul in Jesus’ Name.

The coming of the Lord is not soon anymore. He is coming now. He has waited for so long. He is coming now. Prepare for His coming. Without holiness, no one will enter the Kingdom of God, no matter what they do. Walk before Him and be thou perfect. Even if you have been saved, you have to keep running.

If you are a Christian who has backslidden, don’t let the devil rejoice over you, that you now fall in the hand of the devil. Carry your Bible. Open to Psalm 51. Begin to pray. Read it and begin to pray for mercy. Continue to ask God for mercy. Continue to ask God for mercy.

The Lord is so merciful! Heaven is real. Hell is real. People are dying in their thousands and going to hell.  Anyone who has experienced hell would not even wish their worst enemy on earth to go to that place where they are weeping, crying, waiting for another chance to repent, and it is too late.

The Lord gave brother James a second chance in order to warn us of that horrible place. Tell God now, “I surrender all.” He will care for you. He knows what we need. God loves us. God cares for us. There is no other love like His. So let us hold fast our faith. Let us hold fast that which God has said in the Bible and believe. And God will see us through.

Author's note: Please prayerfully listen to this brother's testimony, James Agboola Revelation of Heaven and Hell, and use the Testimony Review Process adopted by this blog, as you decide for yourself whether the Lord has spoken to him.  For issues and concerns, each person must confirm with the Lord, whether something is valid or not.

I also recommend my article The Sudden Nature of God's Kingdom. You may access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org