Monthly Archives: September 2021

Church And Politics

For our [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (Philippians 3:20)

I am at the end of my three-year term as a member of the personnel committee of my church. One of the final tasks of my term is to bring in a new ministerial staff member. This week the personnel committee met with the candidate for an interview by the entire committee. In the process of the interview one of the committee members asked the candidate how he felt about politics in the church. He gave what I thought was an appropriate answer. Basically, he said that the church is not about politics but rather about accomplishing the Great Commission.[1] He said that if we teach the Bible correctly, politics will take care of itself. He pointed out that Jesus is neither Democrat nor Republican (nor was He a Pharisee or a Sadducee). As our lead verse (above) states, we are citizens of heaven, not of this world. This world is passing away, but our eternal home in heaven is without end.

I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment. The primary focus of the Church – the Bride of Christ – is to enlarge His kingdom, not the kingdoms of this world. That said, the Church, whether it wants to be or not, is involved in politics and must be active in politics. While the Church is not of this world, yet we are in the world for the purpose of being salt and light in the world.[2] That does not mean that the Church must choose one political party or the other, but those parties, that direct our government make laws that either confirm or deny the Word of God. The Church must stand firmly on the Word of God in the world.

When Jesus said, “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18), He did not mean that the gates of hell would attack the Church and somehow the Church would survive. Rather, He meant that the Church would storm the gates of hell and the gates of hell would not withstand the assault. However, it seems to me that the Church is not doing much assaulting lately, rather it seems to be in retreat.

Again, this does not have anything to do with picking a political party. In many ways, they are equally corrupt. However, the Church must stand against ungodliness regardless of the party that promotes it. To do that, the Church must get involved in politics, not partisanism.

Abortion is murder. It is the destruction of the image of God. Child sacrifice is an abomination to God; therefore, the Church must stand up against it with all the resources it can muster. Because politicians take tax dollars to fund Planned Parenthood, and make laws that protect the abortionists, the issue has become political and the Church must get involved.

The gay-rights alphabet movement tirelessly works to promote their perverted lifestyle onto the general public in an effort to “normalize” their perversion. They are not content to impose their aberration on the adult population; that is not enough. They go beyond and seek to corrupt little children with their deviance. This too, is an abomination to God, and He makes that very clear in His Word. Here again, politicians enthusiastically make laws to “protect” the twisted “rights” of sodomites. The Church must fight against such perversion, and that means getting involved in politics.

There are many other ungodly legislations that could be addressed. The crisis on our southern border for example, is a cesspool of human and drug trafficking. It is all an affront to God and His Word. If the Church is going to storm the gates of hell, it must get involved in politics.

How do we do this? Unless you are living under a rock, the evidence is all around us.  The news media (as far as it can be trusted) tells us it is taking place. There are other independent news outlets that can inform us on what the mainstream media withholds. There are many other Christian resources on platforms such as YouTube, Rumble and others that tell you what the mainstream media does not want you to hear. It takes effort, but God does not have us here in this world sit on our blessed assurance, watching the world go by on the way to hell. Pastors should be reading the new media almost as much as the Bible so that they can identify sinful legislation and those promoting it, regardless of political party, and call on the church to get involved in fighting it.

Just because the Church is non-partisan does not mean that it should not engage in politics. One way or another, the Church is involved in politics. It can either fight for righteousness or allow itself to be overcome by wickedness.

Notes:


[1]  Matthew 28:18-20

[2]  Matthew 5:13-16

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I’ve Got A Mansion

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2-3)

An old Gospel song that goes by the same title talks about “a mansion just over the hilltop in that bright land where we’ll never grow old.”[1] The singer dreams of having a “gold one that is silver lined.” Does that not seem somewhat esurient to covet the riches of heaven? I admit that the thought did not occur to me until recently.

When I think of a mansion, I imagine the $5 million (or more) homes of the super-rich or the palaces of royalty. Somehow, I do not think that is exactly to what Jesus referred when He spoke the words of our beginning verse above.

Consider this. “Heaven” as described in Revelation 21-22 enjoys a perfect environment much like that of the Garden of Eden[2] that God originally created. So perfect was that environment, that the first couple could run around naked[3] and not worry about getting sunburned, rained on, or frost bitten. Furthermore, all their nutritional needs were provided. It was a perfect place. Their only shelter were the stars above (and oh, how the stars must have sparkled at night in the pollution-free sky!). There was no need for any kind of building for shelter, much less a mansion.

Heaven will be like that, I think. No mansions of gold with silver trim. Before ending His earthly ministry, Jesus promised that in His Father’s house – only ONE house – are many mansions. That word in the Greek is monē, which means “a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode.” If Jesus meant some kind of building, He could have used the word “castle” – Greek parembolē meaning something like a fortress. Or, He could have used the word “palace” – Greek aulē, meaning “a yard (as open to the wind); by implication a mansion: – court, ([sheep-]) fold, hall, palace.”[4] However, Jesus used the word monē promising that we would have a place to stay and He has many places to stay and dwell for those who follow Him.

Sadly, we too often derive our “theology” from the songs we sing rather than from the Word of God. Next time you hear that old Gospel song, put that golden mansion out of your mind and be happy that Jesus has given you a place in His Father’s house.

Reader, if you are unsure of your eternal abode, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.” Jesus has a reservation for you in His Father’s house, but you have to take Him up on His invitation.

Notes:


[1]  “Mansion Over the Hilltop” by Ira Stanphill, 1949.

[2] Genesis 2:5-9

[3]  Genesis 2:25

[4]  Strong’s G833 definition.

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Still Coming

… and said unto them, Occupy till I come.  (Luke 19:13)

As I wrote last week, “For many years now, I come to this time of year with a heightened sense of expectation.” More than ten years ago, I learned about the Feasts of the Lord.[1] By His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus fulfilled first three spring feasts, and Pentecost fulfilled the fourth feast. The last three fall feasts remain unfulfilled, and the Feast of Trumpets comes first in that series. The Feast of Trumpets is significant because it heralds the new year. It is also a holy convocation announced by the blowing of trumpets that summons the people to the Temple.

The connection with the Feast of Trumpets and the Rapture of the Church comes by way of deduction derived from 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; and Revelation 4:1. These passages speak of the sound of a trumpet preceding the Rapture of the Church, so it seems logical that the call could come at the first fall feast that remains unfulfilled.

Although it might seem like a reasonable conclusion, the fact remains that nothing in Scripture tells us when the Rapture will take place. The Bible gives no signs to signal the Rapture. Instead, the Bible (the New Testament) teaches that the Rapture is imminent; it can happen at any time without warning. Jesus said, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matthew 24:44-46, emphasis mine).

In a different place, Jesus relayed a parable of a “A certain nobleman [representing Himself] went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:12-13, emphasis mine). Our “nobleman,” Jesus Christ, has gone to receive His kingdom and He has promised to return (John 14:1-3). We do not know when. In the meantime, He has commanded, “Occupy till I come.”

Another Rosh HaShanah, the Feast of Trumpets, came and went again, and the trumpet did not sound to call us home, but Jesus did not tell us when He would return. He just told us to watch, wait, and occupy until He comes. When He does come for us, He expects to find us taking care of His business. What will He find us doing?

The Rapture is imminent. It comes without warning and without signs. However, the Second Coming does have signs, and we see many of the signs falling into place. The greatest of these signs is the miraculous rebirth of the nation of Israel. As the signs of the last days[2] increase in number and intensity, we know the time is near, and if the Second Coming of Christ is near, the Rapture is closer. Are you ready? Are you occupied in the task He has given you or are you distracted by the cares of the world? He did not come last Tuesday, or Wednesday, but He may come today. How will He find you?

Reader, if you do not know the Savior, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1] “Rosh HaShanah” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2016/10/03/rosh-hashanah/

[2]  Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21

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The Rapture

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. (1Corinthians 15:51-52)

We hear a lot about the Rapture lately, but a lot of confusion exists about what the Rapture is and when it is supposed to take place. Some critics deny the Rapture claiming, that the word “rapture” is not in the Bible. However, the word “Bible” is not in the Bible, nor is the word “Trinity,” yet no Christian would deny these terms. To be clear, while the English word “Rapture” cannot be found in the Bible, its Greek root is. “To the church in Thessalonica, [Paul] wrote: ‘For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [i.e., “go before”] them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, emphasis mine). The Greek word translated ‘caught up’ is harpazō, which means ‘to seize, carry off by force’ or ‘to snatch out or away.’ That word is further translated into Latin as rapturo [rapiemur] from which we get our word ‘rapture.’”[1]

Paul also describes the purpose of the Rapture to the Corinthians when he says, “that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:50). Our corrupt and sinful bodies cannot enter into heaven; therefore, they must be changed into incorruptible, sinless bodies. “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep [i.e., “die”], but we shall all be changed, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53, emphasis mine).

Jesus promised the Rapture. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3). About 60 years after His ascension, Jesus dictated seven letters to John, the last living of His apostles. The sixth letter was addressed to the Church of Philadelphia to whom Jesus said, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10). Many scholars see the seven churches (real churches existing in John’s time) as representative of the characteristics of the Church throughout different epochs in church history. The Philadelphian Church represents the “evangelical” church that sprang up around the end of the 18th century and will continue to the Rapture. The Rapture will fulfill Jesus’ promise to keep them “from the hour of temptation – i.e., trial, testing, tribulation – that is to come upon all the earth”

So, the concept of the Rapture finds solid support in Scripture although some will still try to explain it away.

Some still conflate the Rapture with the Second coming. These are two separate events. The Rapture takes place before the seven-year Tribulation;[2] the Second Coming is when Jesus returns to establish His Kingdom on earth[3] at the end of the Tribulation. At the Rapture, the Church is taken to meet Jesus in the air;[4] at the Second Coming, Jesus will set His feet on Planet Earth.[5]

Many signs accompany the Second Coming: wars, rumors of wars, pestilences, famines, earthquakes, etc.[6] Perhaps the greatest sign of all is the miraculous revival of the nation of Israel as predicted by the Old Testament prophets, but particularly by Ezekiel in his vision of the valley of dry bones.[7] This prophecy came true on May 14, 1948 when Jews from all over the world returned to the land promised to them by God to became a nation once again.

However, there are no signs for the Rapture. About the Rapture, Jesus said. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). However, as His Second Coming approaches we observe those signs rapidly increasing in frequency and intensity. America is rapidly vanishing from the scene as a superpower. That means that Israel is losing her strongest ally, and she will be left to face her enemies alone. Again, the Prophet Ezekiel predicts an invasion of Israel from a confederation of nations on her northern border.[8] Already, those armies are staging in Syria – Russia, Turkey, Iran and their allies. With the USA out of the way, nothing will stop them from falling into God’s trap. Ezekiel foretells that Israel, left alone, will be defenseless against the invasion; however, God will intervene in such a way that no one, especially Israel, will doubt the power of God.

The Gog of Magog war described above will probably take place after the Rapture, but because we see the stage already being set, we can infer that the Rapture is not too far off. Consider the weakened condition of the USA. Then think about millions of American Christians suddenly vanishing. The majority of Christians are solid citizens who work and pay taxes contributing to the national economy. Think of the impact to the economy when these millions are suddenly gone! Many Christians serve in the military and in police forces. What happens when they disappear? What about healthcare workers, nurses, doctors, medical technicians? With the plandemic already stressing hospital staffing, what happens when many more of these are gone? There are also many solid Christians in positions of leadership at different levels of government. Imagine what will happen when all these people are taken out in the Rapture! Our already weak America will be in total chaos and capable of only making a weak protest, “Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?” (Ezekiel 38:13).

We are very near that point now. For many years now I come to this time of year with a heightened sense of expectation. Monday evening, September 6 begins Rosh HaShanah,[9] the Feast of Trumpets.[10] Jesus fulfilled the first four “Feasts of the Lord” – Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost – at His First Coming. The last three fall feasts have not been fulfilled. The next one is the Feast of Trumpets; therefore, I believe (and I could be wrong) that the Rapture will take place at Rosh HaShanah. At that feast, trumpets were blown calling all the congregation of Israel to assemble. So, it is a “calling in” or a “gathering” of the congregation. Earlier I cited 1 Thessalonians 4:16, where “the trump of God” will sound, and we shall be gathered to Him in the air. The Feast of Trumpets is also known as the feast where “no man knows the day or the hour.” That is because it is based on the first sighting of the new moon; therefore, it is observed over two days because it is not known exactly when the new moon will appear. For those reasons, it makes sense to me that the Rapture can take place during the Feast of Trumpets.

Given the sudden and rapid decline of the USA, the general turmoil around the world, the rise of globalists seeking to rebuild the Tower of Babel (metaphorically speaking), and the increase in end-times signs, I feel this week (Monday evening to Wednesday evening) would be a good time for the Rapture to take place. I am not making any predictions; I am only saying that it seems like a good time for it, in my opinion.

How about you reader? If Jesus were to call His children home, would you be ready? If you are not sure, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Other Articles On This Topic: 

End-Times 101

End-Times 102

Coming Soon!

Not Expecting to Die

When I Disappear

Notes:


[1]  “End-Times 101 – https://erniecarrasco.com/2018/06/10/end-times-101/

[2]  Revelation 6-19

[3]  Revelation 19

[4]  1 Thessalonians 4:17

[5]  Zechariah 14:4; Revelation 19:11-21

[6]  Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21

[7]  Ezekiel 37:1-14

[8]  Ezekiel 38-39

[9]  “Rosh HaShanah” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2016/10/03/rosh-hashanah/

[10]  “Trumpets” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/09/20/trumpets/

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Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Current Events, End Times, Eschatology, Feasts of the Lord, Heaven, Rapture, Religion, Resurrection, Salvation, Second Coming of Christ, Theology