The Rapture and the Second Coming
Once again it is my privilege to greet all Bible Believers in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I trust you're receiving the grace of God as He unveils Himself in these blessings of Spiritual Food in due season.
This evening we're going to touch upon the rapture and the second Coming of the Lord Jesus. I've preached in many countries whose mother tongue is not English and found practically every minister does his private study in the English language using the King James version of the Bible. Many of them have learned English in this way. Often they set off on a tangent because they are trying to understand God according to their knowledge of English vocabulary rather than faith, as ministers in the denominational world try to "work-out" what God means by their understanding of the original Greek and Hebrew text, and we know what a mess they're in, learning without the Holy Spirit.
God is known by faith, the Living Word of the Spirit, not the dead letter of the lexicon. Language changes over time. Take for example John 14:2, "In My Father's house are many mansions." In colloquial English, this phrase doesn't even make sense. How can many grand houses be in one house? But the sense of the olde Englishe word "house" referred to a domain, or kingdom. The Bible describes the kingdoms of Israel and Judah and the "House" of Israel and the "House" of Judah. Jesus Christ is the Father's House (Malachi 3:1; John 14:9). For two thousand years He has been building His Kingdom, preparing a place by interceding for the Church Age saints whom He foreknew, justified and has already glorified, calling them out from the world by the gospel of their salvation. We must find our position in Christ, our place in the Kingdom—not seek to impersonate the place of the Lutherans, Baptists or the Pentecostals that were fulfilled in Ages gone by.
Another word we encounter throughout the Bible is the word "angels." Few realize it seldom refers to a supernatural class of being, but to men's souls. The word "angel" means "messenger": one who brings news. Prophets and ministers are God's angels or messengers. It could be said that your postman is an angel (Hebrews 1-2; Galatians 1:8-9; Revelation 1:1; 22:8-9).
"But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man that You are mindful of him? Or a son of man that You visit him?" That "one" was the prophet, David. Your "angel" is your soul. We will not study that subject tonight but if you can see that you'll understand many things in God's Word.
For our Scripture tonight, let's read Amos 3:7:
"Surely the Lord God will do nothing without revealing His secret to His servants the prophets." And in brackets after this Scripture, the Amplified Bible has a cross-reference to Revelation 10:7:
"But in the days of the Voice of the Seventh Angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He has declared to His servants the prophets." May the Lord add His blessings to the reading of His unfailing Word.
Now we have been speaking recently of how Christ will call-out the Elect in the end-time and gather them to Himself, (the Word), by the unity of perfect faith. We've frequently referred to Jesus' prayer in John 17:21 that His Church would reach a place of maturity where they would no longer require a Mediator because they were all in perfect agreement with God by the common faith or understanding of the Word. The hour is upon us.
Now a mediator is a go-between or intermediary between two parties. God gave the covenant to Abraham's heir by unconditional promise and we know that Heir was Christ Jesus. In expounding Genesis, Paul makes it clear the Promise was unto Abraham and His "Seed" (singular), one individual. As a Promise of God it is immutable. By contrast the Law was conditional with the surety of reward or punishment, according to obedience or disobedience. It was therefore not a "promise," nor were the blessings "sure." It was a conditional contract between two parties given by the hand of a mediator, Moses, and the Israelitish high priest who succeeded him interceded in behalf of the people on account of their mistakes and ignorance which offended the contract.
The Law did not rest on faith but on "works," for Leviticus 18:5 states, "You shall therefore keep My statutes, and My judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them." As we are all born in sin and shapen in iniquity, no man was ever able to keep the Law. Even Jesus broke the Law. It served to guide Israel to their Kinsman Redeemer Who would free them from bondage of sin through their faith in Him. Paul explains all this in Galatians 3 and concludes by saying if we apprehend the Grace of God by faith and are baptized into Abraham's Seed (singular) which is Christ then we are all Abraham's Seed or offspring and Spiritual heirs with Christ according to the unconditional promise.
Now the Promise is unconditional, but it is of faith: potentially a great hurdle until recent times because there was, is, and will only ever be one (1) faith or understanding of God's unchanging Word. And the only way into Christ and the Promise is by faith or being in agreement with God. Like your word or my word, the Word of God is His thoughts expressed, but His thoughts are eternal and they are real so they are unchanging and He knows what He means. He's not interested in your ideas or my interpretations but in His own thoughts,
The way into Christ and the promise of God by faith would have been an unattainable until the revelation of the Seven Seals in recent times had the grace of God not provided a Mediator. The early Church were mostly Hebrew converts with a small number of Gentiles. New Testament history indicates how inexperienced converts conflated Jewish fables and traditions with Christianity. For instance, special privileges were accorded Hebrew Christians (Acts 6), compulsory circumcision was pressed, certain Laws and ordinances of Moses and Pharisaic dietary laws were imposed (Acts 15; Galatians 2). Reading beyond the church in Jerusalem and the original Pentecostal saints we come to the Seven Church Ages. The decline from the faith began when the Ephesian Age "left its first love," Christ the Word; the Smyrnean Age "deeds of the Nicolaitanes" were enshrined in "the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes" in the Pergamean Age when the Roman Universal church organized and crowned a pope. The Judaeo-Roman church began a persecution of the True Church, culminating in almost a thousand years of Dark Ages throughout the Thyatira Church Age. Bibles, books and essays of the saints were burned, scores of millions of Christians were martyred, and the faith which was in the hearts of those noble men and women was lost.
Do you see how utterly impossible it would have been for these saints ever to appropriate "the faith" for baptism into the Body of Abraham's Seed had God not provided the priesthood of Christ in the dispensations when He was in the Office of "Son of God," as parakletos, comforter, advocate or Mediator?
Following Thyatira, God raised up many bold saints through the Protestant Reformation of the Roman system of worship. Each revival was inspired by a further revelation of "the faith" that had been lost. But for all this marvelous Light, Luther, Wesley and the Pentecostals held to substitutes of Roman creed and dogma instead of Christ the Word. The Reformers sought only to return to the First Nicea Council and the original Roman Catholic form of worship. They failed to return to Pentecost and the faith of Jesus—they did not have "the faith," only PART of the faith.
Luther came out of Rome with the fundamental Truth "the just shall live by their faith," for by works of the Law or Roman penance and novenas is no man saved! Oh, with all its faults, the early Reformation was glorious: the Light of God pierced right to "Satan's seat." Yet Luther carried a lot of Roman darkness with him. He had the Light of justification by grace through faith but brought with him a false trinity of gods, false Apostles' Creed (so-called), a false baptism in three Titles, and soon German state supplanted the Holy Spirit as defender of the Faith. Following his death, little remained to be strengthened in the Lutheran church which through organization had almost returned to the bondage of mother Rome.
Wesley came next, adding Scriptural holiness to Luther's "justification." Oh, the Light was growing. Wesley's revival preserved England from the godless revolutions of Europe to be a mighty tool in the hands of God for hundreds of years, spreading the Gospel to earth's farthest shores. But he also held many Roman Traditions, and after his death the Methodists denominated and bound the Light by clinging to their false baptism, false trinities, catechisms and legalistic form.
The final Church Age of Pentecost or Laodicea saw the Gifts of the Spirit restored. But like all preceding moves of God, this marvelous freedom was soon bound by organization, Roman Creed and tradition.
Now have you noticed that each of the Seven Church Ages was identified by their own revelation? What separates the Congregationals, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Anglicans apart from other denominations? Their doctrine! Each formed around the great revelation of justification by grace through faith. Martin Luther was their "angel" or messenger, the major apostle to the Sardis Church Age or dispensation. Justification was his main theme.
The denominations of Luther's Age turned grace into disgrace, so God sent Wesley with a little legalism to put them back into the middle of the road. Wesley was the angel or major apostle to the Philadelphia dispensation, the thrust of his Message was holiness added to justification by faith, and lived as a personal experience. The Wesleyan, Methodist, Baptist, Brethren, Nazarine Pilgrim Holiness and other denominations which arose in this Age emphasized holiness (in those days.)
The final Age of the Church is remembered in the Assemblies of God, Church of God, United Pentecostal Church, the Elim or Four Square denominations. They recognized Hebrews 13:8 and the present reality of the Spiritual Gifts, which faith they added to justification and sanctification. In this dispensation the denominations all rejected Christ and fell into apostasy. Their "angel" was not only an apostle, teacher, pastor and evangelist, as Luther and Wesley had been, but like the great Saint Paul, he was also a prophet. The last Word prophet to the Gentiles before God turns to Israel. William Branham was the seventh angel of Revelations 10:7.
I would like to read the footnote under Amos 3:7 in the Amplified Bible: "God has always warned the world of coming judgments, in order that it may not bring them upon itself. He warned Noah of the coming flood, Abraham and Lot of the future destruction of Sodom, told Joseph of the seven year's famine, Moses of the ten plagues on Egypt, Jonah of the destruction of Nineveh, Amos of the downfall of Syria, Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah, and Israel. Various prophets were told in detail of the final events in connection with the captivities of the Hebrew people, and in every case the warnings were startlingly executed. At first in the case of Nineveh the judgment was postponed after Jonah's preaching, but when later generations of Ninevites backslid, and the warning of Nahum was carried out completely against them. Christ's coming was foretold from Genesis to Malachi. Equally plain and inevitable of fulfillment are the warnings of Jesus and the prophets concerning the future that daily comes nearer to every nation on earth."
God always sends a prophet with warning before judgment.
God is not the author of confusion. James' letter tells us if we truly have the mind of the Lord, or faith, we will not be "double minded," and Paul instructs us there is "one Lord, one baptism, and only one (1) faith." But clearly the church through history and today's denominational remnants do not "all speak the same thing by the same spirit" as Paul charged. Not having "the faith," how could any of these good folk have become Christians born into the Body of Christ? By the amazing grace of an infinite God who provided a Mediator from Pentecost to the end of Laodicea in March, 1963. Aaron was his type. Although they undoubtedly shared the blessings, Aaron did not intercede for the mixed multitude who followed Israel out of Egypt. He did not intercede for the Canaanites, or the Moabites, the Ammonites, or any other group. Aaron interceded only in behalf of God's chosen people, the elect who were overcoming in their journey to enter the place of their rest. He was not interceding in behalf of their iniquities but on account of their ignorance of the Law.
A type of Christ, Aaron was a mediator or go-between whose function was to bring the Hebrew people into unity with their God when they were in error through ignorance. Well you say, the blessings of the Law were conditional whilst the Gift of God through Abraham's Seed, Christ, is a promise and UNconditional. True, but it is conditional to having "the" one and only faith and as we have explained, circumstances since Pentecost dictated few men indeed could have had "the faith."
Christ, like Aaron, interceded only for those predestinated to be saints according to God's foreknowledge of how they would exercise their own free choice. Christ interceded only for the Elect: those who would be born-again in their Age. He was not interceding for the denominational mixed multitude, the foolish virgin (who are saved) or unbelievers (who are lost) or for any other groups of the saved. He was interceding only for the wise virgin, those who were overcoming and would apprehend the Promise of new birth.
From Pentecost and throughout the Seven Church Ages, Christ interceded on account of the elect's ignorance of the Word of God because the revelation of Jesus Christ was sealed with Seven Seals from the time of Daniel. The early Jewish converts, like you and me, had to "grow" into the faith: this meant growing out of Jewish traditions. Gentile converts entered a church whose faith was either in decline or perverted. All of these godly people were believing some error. Let's face it, if the church was not preaching error, Christ would not have been a Mediator, and the denominations would all be together in harmony and love today. Frankly, there would be NO denominations, we'd all be ONE (1) Church as Paul described the Church in Galatians 3:28. Christians in the end-time must grow out of denominational traditions into the faith.
Jesus said in I John 1:7, unless we walk in the revelation He is PRESENTLY fulfilling, we cannot be baptized into the Seed, or come under the Blood. God is only writing epistles of the Word He is presently fulfilling and He allotted a different portion of the Word to each Age. As we explained, each Age or dispensation is distinguished by the faith that they hold—the Lutherans with justification by faith, the Methodists by justification with sanctification added to it, and so-on.
The "seven spirits of God" is ONE (1) Spirit given in seven portions to the saints through Seven Church Ages. As we receive the Word we receive the Spirit. So the portion of Spirit increased as the Light of the Reformation shone brighter. What gave the new birth to the saints in say, Wesley's Age would not work in Laodicea, and what gave the new birth to the Pentecostals will not work today.
Can you see the futility of the man-made denominational systems? Full of good intentions but trying to do God a service without it being His will. Like the Law they are taking what was ordained to Life and producing death.
Christ recognized the faith for the Age, placing their ignorance "under the Blood" and those individuals went into the Body or were born again in spite of their PART faith. Once He sent the next "angel" to rebuke and correct the error then present further revelation for the next Age, the faith of the previous Age was no longer sufficient for the new birth. Through all Ages, it was necessary to walk in the Light God was shining for that hour.
God has never left Himself without a witness, Christ was Mediator in order that there could be saints throughout all Seven Church Ages. As the Book was Sealed until the Church Ages had ended, and the Devil had perverted the Truth, but Christ was a Mediator to bring agreement between the elect and God.
By way of illustration: the elect would testify Jesus as Kinsman Redeemer, born of a virgin, etc., Oh, God just loved that! They believed the Bible, they knew there was no good in themselves and it was by grace through faith alone they were saved. God loved that! They testified God was a trinity and were sprinkled or poured in the Titles Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. God hated that, it was pagan and had brought a curse upon the heathen for 4,000 years. But the Truth had been lost, so He received the Word for the Age, placed this ignorance under the Blood, and the soul was regenerated.
But most folk walk with their hand in the hand of mother, or father, their pastor or friends and NOT in the Hand of Christ. Ever so sincere, they can not be born again because they are impersonating the imperfect faith of an Age gone by. So we have foolish virgin in every Age, godly folk who were slothful or never heard the Word for their hour and could NOT come under the Blood and be baptized into the Body of Christ. They could NOT inherit the Promise.
Now according to Revelation 10:7, the seventh or last angel finished the mystery of God and restored the faith once delivered to the apostolic saints. This was accomplished through the revelation of the Seven Sealed Book which IS the Revelation of Jesus Christ—Who He is, not one of three or three in one; who constitute His Body through the Ages, and How they were redeemed. This revelation alone places the Bride in Her part of the Body and prepares her for the rapture and the first Resurrection. This is the Bride's Message, Revelation 10:1-7 is the only way into the Body today. Christ is NOT a Mediator, He is no longer in the Office of Son of God but Son of Man, King of Kings, and Judge.
When the elect get the TRUE REVELATION OF THE TRUE CHURCH and what she is, what she stands for and that SHE CAN DO THE GREATER WORKS, she will be an invincible army. If they get the revelation of the two spirits within the framework of the Christian church and by God's Spirit discern and withstand the Antichrist spirit, Satan will be powerless before her. Satan hates revelation but with true revelation in our lives, the gates of hell cannot prevail against us, but we will prevail over them.
Now I realize that is an awful lot to just drop in your lap so to speak, but by His Grace, and as we go through the Scriptures, He will reveal these truths to us so we know what Jesus is doing NOW. Please be patient and pray for this ministry. Are you enjoying the services we are having together? Let's quickly review.
In every Age, God has sent His "angel." Revelation 1:20:
"The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which you saw are the Seven Church [Ages]".
Each "angel" had a Message to the "churches" (plural). That Message was the Light God was walking in for that Age and "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." To the True Church It was Light and Life, the new birth; to the nominal church, condemnation or even Death.
Since the Seven Seals were opened and "the mystery of God was finished in the days of the voice of the Seventh Angel," the prophet-messenger to Laodicea, Christ is no longer a mediator for we now have "the true sayings of God" (I Corinthians 13:10; Revelation 19:7; 22:6-21.)
Brethren, we must at all costs apprehend the Message of this angel to the Seventh Church Age for that Message IS Christ. The Seventh Seal brought Him back to earth in W_O_R_D form. His second Coming is in the Office of Son of Man, the prophetic W_O_R_D, NOT a man. The third Coming is the Man Jesus with the glorified saints of all ages, this second PHYSICAL Coming is when He steps out on the ashes of the wicked for the millennium after the atomic has destroyed all life. That's what the blind leaders of the blind look for, but they'll be too late.
Despite all their scholarship in the original tongues, they are trying to understand the Bible by colloquial English. They would do well to study what Luther, Wesley, Chambers, Bengal and other renowned scholars understood and taught by faith mixed with their learning. The Greek is a far richer language than English; its more explicit vocabulary offers finer definitions in meaning. The New Testament Greek employs several words our English Bibles translate as one word, "come" or "coming," disregarding the distinctions in meaning. The most commonly used word, 'erchomai' is appropriately translated come—but the word 'parousia' which is applied to the second Coming of the Lord in the Office of Son of Man, means "arrival and subsequent presence."
The second Coming is a UNIVERSAL phenomenon. It can hardly be the physical return of the Man from Galilee and be UNIVERSAL can it? Read what Jesus says in Matthew 24:22-30, Acts 1:9-11, and Revelation 1:7.
Revelations 1:7 says, "Behold He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also who pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him." This is His 'parousia,' first BY FAITH to the end-time Bride. Secondly, and three and one half years after our translation, BY FAITH to "those which pierced Him"—the 144,000 elect of the twelve tribes of Israel (Zechariah 12:10). Finally the foolish virgin will "see Him" when they realize they have missed the full atonement, and must be martyred in order to retain their names in the Book of Life and salvation. Three different groups at three different points in time.
See how Matthew speaks of this UNIVERSAL coming or 'parousia?' For the sake of the elect the days are shortened, otherwise there would be no flesh saved for the rapture. This "shortening of the days" is NOW, in the holy convocation of the fiftieth day at the end of the Pentecostal Feast, after the seven rests or Church Ages have ended. In this time "If any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ, or, there; believe it not . . . for as the Gospel Light shone out of the East and shines even unto the West, so shall also the 'parousia' of the Son of man (NOT Son of God) be." The second Coming or 'parousia' is NOT a Man, It is Light on the Word—revelation.
"It shall be Light in the evening time" (Zechariah 14:7.) The SAME Word, the SAME revelation once delivered unto the saints at Pentecost is RESTORED by the prophet of Malachi 4:5-6 and Revelation 10:7 in the end-time to call a Bride out of every denomination into the fullness of the Word.
The second Coming is the W_O_R_D and It comes through the mouth of a prophet. Don't look for Jesus of Nazareth to appear in the skies. That could hardly be UNIVERSAL, half the world would be in darkness, and if "every eye" is to physically see Him, the underground miners and subway employees would have to quit work. Let's be Spiritually-minded for the carnal are enmity with God.
His second Coming is "as a thief in the night," in other words, it is a secret Coming recognized or "seen" only by the eyes of faith in His elected. He incarnates His Bride BY FAITH during this "shortening of the days," manifesting to them (alone) that they are the sons of God, to lift their faith for the translation, whilst the sleeping New Testament saints are resurrected, then the whole glorified Body will go to the Wedding Supper and the church world which knows nothing about it will go into the tribulation.
We must, by God's Grace, have faith or understanding of the Word of God. We cannot trust our knowledge of grammar or rely on some church creed to put us in the rapture. We must go without the camp to meet the rejected One (Revelation 3:20). The "rapture" is a process of revelation, the rapture is NOW, it has been going on since the Seals were opened and climaxes in the body change at the end of this shortening of the days.
Let's look briefly at the resurrection or body change before closing. It is by faith, God's Word only operates by faith. Paul said, "the mighty resurrection power which God wrought in Jesus when He raised Him from the dead" will only respond to faith. Death came by unbelief when one word was misplaced, Life can only come by the faith in the pure Word—nothing added or taken away, "the true sayings of God" (Matthew 4:4; Revelation 19:7).
The Word of God is creative and will produce what was said providing it is spoken under preeminence. It must be in Its season, in context, and under inspiration to manifest what was said. Faith is KNOWING. Faith is a clear understanding of WHAT GOD'S WORD MEANS AND WHAT HE WANTS US TO DO WITH IT. Faith is not guesswork.
I recently attended a "charismatic" Baptist church. After service one very fine Brother assured me he knew of Roman Catholics who were Christians. How could a man speaking by the Spirit of God be so blind. His folly and his own nakedness were made manifest; unless he's marvelously converted, there is no way he will be in the Meeting in the Air. He is trusting his pastor without faith.
Good intentions, and "hail fellow well met" might make for good community relations, particularly in our failed "multi-cultural experiment." Yet God cursed this in Genesis 1 and 6. We must allow every man his view because God placed all on the basis of free moral agency, then sent His Word to hew out a people for His Name among those of understanding. He is not known by guesswork and a wink of the eye, but faith which separates father from mother, mother from daughter, and father from son.
Can't we see it was FAITH which separated Luther from Romanism, FAITH which separated Wesley from the Luther's group, FAITH which separated the Pentecostals from Wesley's dispensation, and FAITH is now calling Christ's Bride out from every man-made system? God's "love" is the Greek word 'agape,' as distinct from human love which is 'phileo,' another word the church readily confuses.
Read Luke 12:49-57 and also Matthew 12:46-50: Jesus counts relationship according to faith "but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him." The mere association of kind hearted people with the true believer might well bring death in return for their kindness (Hebrews 10:32-38; II Peter 2:20-22.)
John the Baptist had faith. John KNEW who he was and could identify his position in the Word, read John 1:19-27. He could identify Himself in the Scriptures. God vindicated John's faith, identifying Messiah with the sign of the Shekinah in the form of a dove. John had his part in the resurrection of the Old Testament saints because of his faith.
In Psalms 16:10, the Holy Spirit prophesied through David, "For You will not leave My soul in hell; neither will You suffer Your Holy One to see corruption." Jesus KNEW Who He was, He knew He was the One of Whom David spoke. He also knew that corruption sets into the body within three days of death, so when the Jews contended with Him He boldly said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19.) Again in Luke 11:29-36 He said, "There shall be no sign given to this generation but the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation." But He made no attempt to explain these sayings to His inquisitors who were so sure they were true believers and servants of God but in point of fact they were not in the economy of God BECAUSE they knew not who they were (Matthew 11:25-27).
Remember, Jesus didn't have to go to Calvary. He could have married Mary and established Himself in the carpentry business; He was on free moral agency the same as you or I. KNOWING He was the "Holy One," He went to Calvary by faith. His faith alone caused God's creative Word to manifest His Resurrection. Had Jesus not had faith; had He not been in perfect agreement with the Word, He could not have resurrected.
He was and is the Word. The end-time Bride is the Word manifested for this age and KNOWS who She is. If we think we can belong to denominations in this day and be His Bride who will not see death, we are deceived and none of His. The Rapture is a revelation, a process of coming into the unity of the faith as Jesus prayed (John 17:21-23; Ephesians 4:13.) The manifestation of the sons of God and the body change are not psychology. In this hour the folly of denominational error is being made manifest to the Bride by Her perfect faith. Those with whom It is shared and who reject it, like Jannes and Jambres, are reprobate concerning the faith, rejecting Christ and Eternal Life.
This is a perilous time in which we live, an hour of separation. The two-edged Sword of God's Word is separating His people. Matthew 24: taking one and leaving one. God's eagles are gathering around the Living Body Word of the Lord Jesus Christ, not some denominational left overs. This is NOT, as the blind leaders of the blind would have you to believe, the translation, "wheresoever the Carcass is, THERE the eagles will be gathered together." This is Revelation 18:4, He is gathering us into the Fullness of the Living Body-Word of the Lord Jesus. Remember, God sends fresh Manna EVERY day. The Seventh Seal was NOT another Gospel, but the RESTORATION of what He has once delivered to the saints, what the Reformers did not complete.
The "rapture" is our catching-up into the revelation of God's Word. It is a process by which Christ's Bride comes OUT of all man-made systems and IN to the unity of the faith for the manifestation of the sons of God and the great translation.