The Temple Part 1

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When Israel can resolve its conflict with Islam and build a temple, the Lord’s return will be close.

The Prophecy

The building of a temple upon Mt. Zion is a sign of the Lord’s eminent return. Jesus said in Matthew;

Mat_24:15  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

It is understood that the Holy Place means the Holy of Holies which was the center of the Temple.  In order for this prophecy to come to pass it is necessary for a temple to be built first.  In Mark we see the additional comment that those who are  in Judea at that time are urged to flee.

Mar_13:14  But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

The Daniel prophecy reads thus:

Dan 11:31  And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

There are scholars who believe the Daniel prophecy had already been fulfilled, As Albert Barnes says;

From this verse, however, to the end of the chapter, there is no little diversity of opinion. One portion suppose that the description of Antiochus and his deeds continues still to be the design of the prophet; another, that the Romans are here introduced, and that a part of the predictions in the remainder of this chapter are yet to be fulfilled;

The book of Maccabees tells us that Antiochus Epiphanes did, indeed, slaughter a pig on the altar, which is considered an abomination.  Likewise, when Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 AD he set up an altar in the place of the temple to Zeus.  But Jesus came after these events, and he speaks of a future time when he returns, so another temple needs to be built.

Theology: Knowing God

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Knowing God is a process of prayer, listening to the Spirit, study and hindsight review of obedience decisions.

If you are truly born-again, then you have to be an theologian. The Apostle Paul said in the chapter on strong and weak faith, Romans 14, “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” (v.5). There are many who preach who claim that they are not theologians, and that is a lie, plain and simple. If you talk about God in any fashion, you are a theologian. The only question that remains is, “How knowledgeable of a theologian are you?

Theology means the study of God. You can not walk with God if you do not know Him, which means you must study about Him, and meditate upon His activities in your life. Theology has two parts: 1) to learn about God and 2) to try the spirits to see if you are really hearing God. If you are doing these things, then you are a theologian.

Hermeneutics are the rules for studying the Bible in one’s quest to know God. It is a commonly accepted rule that “Scripture interprets Scripture”. In practical theology, I would add another rule: “The Scriptures interpret the Spirit, and the Spirit interprets the Scriptures.” The two go hand in hand. You can not know God without knowing the Bible. Neither can you know God without knowing the Scriptures. This is the purpose of theology.

The Influence of the World on the Church

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Church governments are modeled on the world system, not the Kingdom of God.

I have been trying to sort out the influence of the world on the body of Christ. Many believers have abandoned the professional congregations, called the Institutional Church, for smaller house church groups called, Simple Church. Often, however, they do not fully understand the influence of the world on both the IC or the SC. Neither do they really comprehend what it means to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God.

So what I have here, is an attempt to catalog those characteristics of the world in contrast to the kingdom of God to see where and how much one influences another. It should be noted that this is a backward approach. For the Kingdom of God has always been preeminent over the world system. But since we are within the world it is easier to understand it from this point of view.

Being Prepared

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No one knows the time of the Lord’s return. Be ready.

Story of the 10 Virgins

Mat 25:1  Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Mat 25:2  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

Mat 25:3  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

Mat 25:4  But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

Mat 25:6  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

Mat 25:13  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

This story has a simple meaning, in my opinion. Ten virgins means pious or religious women. The first five do not have oil in their lamps, which represents the presence of God in their hearts through the new birth, and are religious by works. The second five, who have oil in their lamps, have the new birth and know the Lord in their hearts.

Midnight, when the cry is made, is the moment of death when it is too late  for salvation and the second coming of the Lord.   Most believers assume the story is only about the His second coming, but why give a message that only applies to one generation? When we die, we meet our maker.  So the very first act of preparation is salvation.

Spiritual Discernment

Above all else, we need to stay close to the Lord in our sensitivity to his Spirit.  The more we put our mind on the world, the more insensitive we become to the still small voice of the Lord.

Spirit Led Friendships

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Old friends
Old friends
Sat on their park bench
Like bookends
A newspaper blown through the grass
Falls on the round toes
On the high shoes
Of the old friends

Old friends
Winter companions
The old men
Lost in their overcoats
Waiting for the sunset
The sounds of the city
Sifting through trees
Settle like dust

Friendships that last a lifetime come from the Lord. These are the friends that make up the community of God and the body of Christ.

Ps 127:1
1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. (KJV)

This famous psalm is clearly understood to mean that it is God who builds the family and home. This is understood by the following verses:

Spiritual Gifts

The Gift is The Holy Spirit

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The Holy Spirit moves through believers

Three Different Giftings

There are 9 spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, and 5 “ministry” gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11, and 7 motivational gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8. However it is a little misleading to think in terms of spiritual gifts as something separate from the one gift of the Holy Ghost through whom all gifts have their source. It is the Holy Spirit who does, ordain, or endow our abilities to be used by Him. We are capable of being used by Him in anything if He so needs, but have particular gifts that we are specifically intended to use.

This article briefly outlines all of these gifts.  The motivational gifts are given in more detail elsewhere. Paul outlines these 3 broad categories -motivational, ministry & spiritual – in the beginning of 1 Corinthians 12

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.(1 Cor 12:1 KJV)

Clearly we are to understand the gifts so that we may benefit the body of Christ.

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. (1 Cor 12:4 KJV)

The diversities of gifts referred to here are the Motivational Gifts of Romans 12:6-8. These gifts are given to us at birth and are our natural tendencies to do. They are used by believers and pagans alike. Knowing your natural gifts makes it easier to know how God will use you.

And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. (1 Cor 12:5 KJV)

The differences of administrations referred to here are the “Ministry Functions” described in Ephesians 4:11. These function temporarily for a season and  are aid and encouragement of other believers into  maturity in Christ. Later, through selfish ambition, these functions became paid offices.

And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.(1 Cor 12:6 KJV)

The diversities of operations referred to here are the Spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit moving through believers demonstrating the power of God to the body of Christ and to the lost in evangelism to confirm His Word. These are the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. (1 Cor 12:7 KJV)

These are spontaneous movements of the Holy Spirit for the time.

Marriage Is the Organic Church

The Institution

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The organic church created by God is marriage. It remains the core of all Christian body life.

“We need to save the institution of Marriage!” “Attacks abound everywhere, we need a marriage amendment to the constitution!” Or so say so many Christians and moral family members throughout the country. Contrary to popular opinion, we do not need to save the institution of marriage, nor have an amendment to the constitution. Marriage is not an institution, nor is the constitution written to control people, rather it is to control the government.

An institution is something that has been set up and established. Marriage is usually considered an institution because it is believed that God instituted the first marriage with Adam and Eve. It is true that God created Eve for Adam as a life companion, but the language of the Bible never uses such expressions as an institution. Institutions are created by men, not God. God creates biology. Universities, governments, corporations, religions and such are institutions. And marriage as an institution is just as much a man made establishment. If your marriage is based upon the institution, then the strength of your marriage is weak and easily dissolved. Just like salvation, if a man can persuade someone to become a Christian, then another man can dissuade that person to leave Christianity. Couples who enter marriage thinking it is just a contract between two people can just as easily break that contract.

Israel: the Canary in the Coal Mine

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Israel is at the center of the prophetic clock.

Most biblical Christians realize that Israel is a significant marker in the Lord’s second coming.  The creation of the state of Israel is believed to be a fulfillment of prophecy regarding the return of the Lord.  Why? Because of the Lord’s answer to their question:

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

Jesus said,

Mat 24:15  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

In order for this “abomination of desolation” to “stand in the holy place” there has to be another temple built.  There are those who say that this passage of Daniel:

Dan 11:31  And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

Has already been fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes. Presbyterian Albert Barnes explains it this way:

Root in One’s Self

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Having root in one’s self

Jesus said in the story of the sower and the seed:

16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. (Mark 4:16-17 KJV)

In a recent discussion on theology as the problem of the Church, I came to a realization of what is the real problem in the American Church. The discussion I was in blamed theology as the barrier to a personal relationship with God in the heart. I disagreed and made the case that we need both a mental theological understanding of God as well as a heart sensitive relationship with God. The people in the discussion are the “gratefully disillusioned” who have left organized religion, and blame the professional clergy for telling them that they were to live by biblical principles. They are now “liberated” and living in a “Spirit-led” relationship with Father. Even though I have placed quotes around “Spirit-led” I do believe that many of them are truly experiencing a fresh relationship with God. The reason for the quotes, however, is that I know from personal experience that what we think is God can sometimes be our own imagination, or even demonic, if we do not test the spirits against the Scriptures.

Romans 13 Exhorts Trusting Mature Believers not Obeying Civil Government

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Romans 13 is the bedrock verse to obey civil governments, when it actually exhorts trusting mature believers

Romans 12: 1 & 2 says:

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1 & 2

We are all influenced by the world and the way of thinking of the world. For many Americans this is the result of government education, corporate advertising, media propaganda and the various disciplines of science that has established themselves as the gods of our age. Therefore our reading of the Bible tends to be influenced by these worldly influences and it takes deliberate effort to discern the truth of Scripture. Reading the Bible alone will not transform your mind. There are thousands of Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons who do not know Christ.  Renewing our minds come from reading the Bible by spiritual discernment.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.   But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.(1Co 2:14  & 15)

Legalism is the heart of natural thinking. Legalism is the means of self-justification. James tells us that if we break one commandment we have broken them all (James 2:10). But legalism tells us that if we do one good thing, we are good in all things. Through our narrow definition of goodness, we judge others according to our own standard. If we see others fail in one thing, we condemn them as utterly worthless. How unlike our King who believes we are worth saving no matter what we have done. Legalism turns us into hypocrites.

Legalism makes right and wrong a game. Lawyers are a prime example of what I mean. They do not care about what is right or wrong, only what is legal. Natural thinking seeks only for the benefit of self. We are awash in our culture in this kind of thinking.

The influence of natural thinking distorts both our reading of Scriptures and affects the way godly men translate the Scriptures. We need to read the Bible through the eyes of Christ.  Since He is the King, we assume he is like a worldly king, and he is not. Jesus does not “rule” by force. He rules by example and is the standard we are to compare ourselves by. Jesus changes us just as a good marriage changes both partners. We love one another in marriage, so defer to one another. We love Jesus and defer to his good example because we want to please him and to be like him.