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SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 118A
May 3, 2003
To “Watch” for His Coming
Mark 13:32 – But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
This verse is often quoted when someone wants to make the point that we cannot have the faintest notion when the coming of the Lord is near. It is certainly true that we cannot know specifically the hour, the day, the month, the season of the year (Summer, Fall, Winter, or Spring) when Jesus is coming. And, even though it does not state it, I doubt if anyone can tell the year. This has led to the assumption that speculation of any kind, which states that a prophetic event is likely to occur within a period of time, is terribly wrong. But Paul indicated, immediately after his discourse on the rapture in I Thessalonians 4:16-18, that God’s children were supposed to have a general awareness when Christ’s coming was near.
I Thessalonians 5:3-5 – For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
Romans 11:32 - For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
When we, the children of light, see Israel, who God has concluded to be in the darkness of unbelief along with all unbelievers, saying it finally has a condition of “Peace and safety” in the Middle East, then we can know we only have a few years left before the final battle of Armageddon. The nation of Israel has known no “Peace and safety” since 70 A.D., but soon it will believe it has security in its own land. Then the countdown to the battle of Armageddon can begin in earnest.
I speculate that this peace is likely to come at some point in time within the next 18 months, and I speculate that the initial attack of the antichrist against Israel will occur at some point in time prior to 2008. Could I be wrong? Certainly? It is not wrong to speculate! It is very wrong to fix a definite hour, day, month, season, or year as the time of his coming. This is what a genuine time setter does, and I have never been guilty of this. I have speculated, and will continue to do so, as to the probable occurrence of an event with a span of years, but speculating is not setting a specific time – It is speculation, no more and no less, and, as such, is not setting a time.
I am convinced that the rapture will occur on the sounding of the seventh trumpet, but I do not know exactly “when” it will sound. I know it blows at some point in time during the last three and one-half years before the final battle of Armageddon, but I do not know the hour, day, month, season, or year it will sound. I speculate the last three and one-half years before Armageddon will begin before 2008, but that is speculation, and I freely admit it. But even after the antichrist attacks Israel, I still will not know the hour, day, month, season, or year that the seventh trumpet will sound. So, for the last 29 years, I have attempted to practice the verse that follows Mark 13:32.
Mark 13:33 – Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
And I see no reason to fail to continue this practice. Even if I am alive in this physical body when the antichrist attacks Israel, I still will not know exactly when the seventh trumpet will sound. However, when the events of the first 6 trumpets begin to unfurl, then I will know that it’s sounding is drawing closer and closer, and will most assuredly be in a heightened state of watching and praying.
SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 118B
May 5, 2003
To “Watch” for His Coming
Mark 13:37 – And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
The word translated as “Watch” in the context of this discourse, means to be spiritually awake, such that your soul will not be surprised at the time of Christ’s coming. In context, it means to be in fellowship with him when he comes for you, regardless of when it occurs. The only way a saved man or woman can be sure of being found in this state is to stay continually in fellowship by practicing I John 1:8,9 on an hour to hour basis. To “Watch” is to stay in fellowship daily.
I John 1:8,9 – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Salvation, once obtained by the soul through the new birth, will never be lost – We cannot lose our salvation position in Christ – it is eternal and secure in the works of Christ, but we can lose our fellowship with Christ through willful disobedience without repentance.
John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Mark 13:37 is a call to believers to stay in fellowship by “watching,” by staying in spiritual fellowship in a daily walk for Christ. Children of God, even though they are not, and can never again become children of darkness, can be found spiritually asleep when Jesus returns for them at the rapture or, for that matter, when he comes for them at the time of a fatal heart attack – a point made by the verse preceding Mark 13:37.
Mark 13:36 – Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
Paul makes it very clear that children of God, even though they are not children of darkness, can be caught spiritually asleep when Jesus comes at the rapture.
I Thessalonians 5:4-6 – But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
Paul would not warn them of being found sleeping if they were incapable of being found in that state. A state of being found spiritually awake is described following his rapture discourse in I Corinthians. Jesus had already given them the spiritual resurrection of the new birth, but they needed to be spiritual awake in his labor at his coming.
I Corinthians 15:52,57,58 – In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
We, as God’s children, will reap for rewards what we have spiritually sown in this life at the judgment seat of Christ – immediately after the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Revelation 11:15,18 – And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.  And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
Galatians 6:9 – And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 118C
May 6, 2003
Watching Until He Comes
In Update 118A we covered Mark 13:32,33. In Update 118B we covered Mark 13:36,37. Now, in this Update, we will cover Mark 13:34.
Mark 13:34 – For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
He tells them in verses 33, 35, and 37 to “watch.” He is of course making reference to the time we refer to as the “rapture,” the first resurrection, the time of which no man knows the day and hour, as testified by verse 32. The Feast of Passover occurred two days after his statement, the time when the priests and scribes would seek how they might put him to death. He, knowing that they would, but that he would thereafter rise from the dead, advised his first church of their coming responsibility in the teaching of a parable in verse 34.
He, the Son of God and the Son of man, was about to take a far journey through death and eternal resurrection. He was preparing to leave his church, which was his local earthly body and called out assembly, which he had organized into a local, visible body after they had received John’s baptism of repentance in the Jordan River. They had followed him as a completed local church, an ekklesia, for more than three years, and his presence among them had been the source of their power as his first local church. He knew his Holy Spirit would return some 50 days after his resurrection, during the Feast of Pentecost, and empower them. And the baptism in his Spirit at Pentecost has been extended to include all his local churches that have followed up to the present, and it has been for the purpose of accomplishing their assignment as his churches.
“His house” was the church he had called out, led, and organized, during his earthly ministry. And all churches, that are pillars and grounds for the truths he taught in the New Testament, are his churches of today.
I Timothy 3:14,15 – These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:  But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
“And gave authority to his servants” was stated directly to his servants that made up the first church to whom he spoke these words. Each local church that Jesus looks upon as the pillar and ground of the truth once delivered to his church, has the same authority he gave to the first body he had taught for more than three years.
The word “man” in the phrase, “And to every man his own work,” uses the word “anthropos, which can be used for male or female and, even though the context here portrays an all male audience of his disciples, he probably used this word to insure our understanding that the authority did not rest in the sex, but in the service. Every member of each of his New Testament churches has a work to perform in that body as a part of the body. The same Spirit of Christ wrote the following to a local, visible body at Corinth, likening them to a human body. There is a work for each member of one of the Lord’s churches.
I Corinthians 12:14-27 – For the body is not one member, but many.  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where were the body?  But now are they many members, yet but one body.  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:  And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.  For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:  That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
The word used for “porter” in the phrase, “And commanded the porter to watch,” is “thouroros,” which means a doorkeeper, male or female. It is also found in John 18:16,17.
John 18:16,17 – But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.  Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not.
Each member of one of his local churches, male or female, is supposed to guard the door of their heart against complacency in his service as a part of that body. Each one is the porter of his or her own daily relationship with Christ. The main contextual thrust of Mark 13:32 to 37 is found in a single word – WATCH! A porter’s assignment is to watch for anything that would close the doors of his or her heart from daily, close, personal, fellowship with Christ. This is what had happened to the hearts of the church members of the ekklesia, the church at Laodicea. They became so materialistically inclined in their paying others to do all the work, that they stopped “watching,” and closed the doors of their hearts to a warm, close, personal, intimate, service relationship with Christ. The “door” upon which Jesus is knocking is the door an individual heart, and each church member, as the porter of his or her own heart, is asked to open it by an act of repentance for not “watching.” The overcomer is a church member who, when convicted by God’s word, sees his or her own need to daily repent, and maintain a service relationship with Jesus. Revelation 3:17 shows the condition of a church out of fellowship, while verses 19 to 22 show the heart condition of it’s individual members, and what needs to be done to restore fellowship with Christ. Individual repentance opens the door for him to restore fellowship. It is impossible for a saved man or woman to lose their salvation, but they will lose their fellowship with Christ through a non-obedient or complacent attitude, and only an act of repentance will restore it.
Revelation 3:17 – Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Revelation 3:19-22 – As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 118D
May 7, 2003
“Watching” for His Coming
Mark 13:32-37 – But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.  Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.  For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.  Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:  Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.  And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
In Update Number 118A we covered Mark 13:32,33. In Update 118B we covered Mark 13:36,37. In Update 118C we covered Mark 13:34. And now, in Update 118D we will finish this four part series with Mark 13:35.
Jesus used something his disciples were very familiar with concerning the house of God, the temple of his day in Jerusalem. Each one of his local churches of today represents a local temple in which his Spirit dwells, just as in the tabernacle, and then in the temple of Solomon.
Ephesians 2:22 – In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
I Timothy 3:13,14 – These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:  But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
The first church, to whom he was speaking in Mark 13:35, knew that the temple priests did not know the time the High Priest would come to the temple during the period from sunset to sunrise. Sometimes he would come between sunset and mid-night, sometimes at midnight, sometimes at first light when the roosters commonly crowed, and sometimes when the sun itself was visible or shortly thereafter. Because they never knew precisely when he would come, if they desired to be ready when he came, then it was necessary for them to stay awake, and to have performed all the personal rituals of the law prior to his arrival that would allow them to be in a state of ritual cleanliness at his arrival. One of those rituals that had to be performed before his arrival was not pleasant to the flesh. The priests were required to go down a flight of stairs under the temple each night and completely immerse themselves in cold spring water prior to his coming. But the real problem was this – Any time a priest urinated or had a bowel movement, he was required to exit the temple mound by way of the dung gate behind the temple. And, upon his return, he was required to go back under the temple and again completely immerse in the cold spring water. So it is easy to understand why many would play the odds of when he would appear. Only the most diligent would proceed down the stairs before midnight, and some would even dare to wait until first light. Most of the time they got away with it, but occasionally he would come and catch those who had waited until midnight or after to be ready for his coming. The penalty for getting caught unclean upon his arrival was very embarrassing. They would be stripped of their outer garment and, clothed only in their undergarment, which the Jews called “naked,” made to stand at the Susa Gate in full view of all who passed through this eastern gate.
All those found in a “clean” state on his arrival would participate in the sacrifice-connected events of that day. And, from among them, three would be chosen by lots to sit with the High Priest in his officiating chair at the three main sacrifices of the day. They believed that God oversaw the lots in such a way that the ones he considered the most worthy would be chosen. And I believe God did!
When Jesus, the High Priest of each local church comes, he will judge the individual members of each church based on how well they kept his commandments he left it, and on what state of cleanliness in which they are found at the time of his rapture arrival. The manner of “quickness” exhibited in the split second of an eye blink, will catch us in our existing state, with no time left to change. The following scriptures were written to church members.
Revelation 22:11-14 – He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.  And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.  Blessed are they that do his command-ments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Revelation 22:16 – I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
Revelation 16:15,16 – Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.  And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Revelation 3:4,5 – Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
A born again believer cannot lose salvation, but can lose the rewards that exist in heaven for those who obey the commandments of Christ after the experience of salvation.