The Saints Suffering for Their Saviour

Monday, July 9, 2012

“For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing” (1 Peter 3:17 KJV).

Today’s Scripture declares: it is better to suffer for God than to suffer for self.

Read today’s Scripture with its context: “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing” (verses 14-17).

When we use dispensational Bible study, we learn that the Apostle Peter is encouraging Jewish believers enduring the seven-year Tribulation (which is yet future from us). During that period, the wicked antichrist will establish a peace treaty with Israel (and perhaps with other Middle Eastern nations). About halfway through those seven years, the antichrist will terminate that peace treaty, and begin persecuting and killing Jews who reject his satanic agenda and who obey God’s Word (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 10:16-23; Matthew 24:9,10; Revelation 13:5-10; et al.). Compare Matthew 10:16-23 with 1 Peter 3:14-17.

The believing Jews of the Tribulation will follow God’s Word (especially Hebrews through Revelation), causing them to reject the antichrist’s satanic agenda and religion. God has spiritually blinded the Jewish unbelievers, who eagerly worship the antichrist as if he were Jesus Christ (see Revelation 19:20; cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12). Ironically, unbelieving Jews will thus view believing Jews as “evildoers!” These Jewish kingdom saints will “suffer for righteousness’ sake:” their declaration that the antichrist is the counterfeit Jesus Christ will be punishable by death!

Saints, ye shall suffer, but as Peter comforted his brethren who will endure the Tribulation, suffer for “well doing” (following God’s Word) rather than for “evil doing” (disobeying God’s Word).

The LORD is On My Side #1

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5,6 KJV).

Although today’s Scripture is God’s Word to the nation Israel, we appreciate this doctrine and take comfort in it as its writer urged Israel to do.

Our human bodies are limited and frail; Satan’s evil world system is mighty. For centuries wicked men have imprisoned and killed Christians! As one would squeeze fruit to produce juice, so the daily struggles of life in this evil world continually batter us Christians, seemingly squeezing us until our strength is diminished and we are vanquished.

While Satan’s evil world system prevails today, it will manifest itself more fully once our Dispensation of Grace closes. It will become increasingly difficult for the nation Israel to exist once we (the Church the Body of Christ) are raptured from this earth. This horrible period following the rapture, the seven-year Tribulation, is the context of today’s Scripture.

Especially during the latter half of the Tribulation, God’s people (Israel’s believing remnant) will endure great oppression. The antichrist will persecute Israel (Matthew 10:16-33; cf. Revelation 13:10-17), even killing the Jews who disobey him by following Jesus Christ (Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 13:4-15).

In that time, the worst period of human history, God will comfort His people, Israel, using today’s Scripture: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” This is actually quoting Deuteronomy 31:6-8, when Moses encouraged Israel not to fear her enemies as they prepared to enter Canaan under Joshua’s leadership (cf. Joshua 1:5). Psalm 118:6 is also quoted: The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”

Brethren, despite our persecution in this life, Israel’s faithful God is our faithful God and He will never leave us either (Romans 8:31-39)!

Peace and Safety… Or Not!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

“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” (1 Thessalonians 5:3 KJV).

For millennia, religious and political leaders have unsuccessfully attempted to achieve world peace, especially in the Middle East (the focus of Arab, Palestinian, and Israeli conflict). One day, two men will establish world peace: first, the antichrist, and then, Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, the world will be deceived into thinking the antichrist’s peace is that which Jesus Christ will establish years later.

Daniel 9:27 explains, “he [the antichrist] will confirm the covenant with many for one week.” The book of Revelation tells us this “one week” is a week of years—that is, seven years (two periods of 1,260 days each; Revelation 11:3; Revelation 12:6). The seven years begin once Satan uses the antichrist to sign a Middle Eastern peace treaty, causing Israel and her enemies to cease hostility.

Israel, wrongly believing that the antichrist is Jesus Christ, will relax, led to conclude that she is living in the peaceful earthly kingdom prophesied in the Old Testament. Jeremiah 23:5,6 says that when Israel’s Messiah-King comes, “Israel shall dwell safely.” Israel will apply this to the antichrist (when it was actually speaking of Jesus!). Remember what Jesus said to Israel? “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive (John 5:43). Jesus was speaking of the antichrist!

Halfway into the seven years, the antichrist’s flattery will vanish. His true motives now exposed by his breaking that covenant and desecrating Israel’s rebuilt temple (Daniel 9:27), and persecuting God’s people (believing Israel) by instituting capital punishment (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; Revelation 13:1-18). Israel will then realize (Isaiah 28:15), “We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement!”

As Paul wrote in today’s Scripture, For when they shall say, Peace and safety; sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” Notice the pronoun “they”—we, the Body of Christ, are not in the Tribulation.

The Unholy Trinity

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

“And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority” (Revelation 13:2 KJV).

Satan is the master counterfeiter. Before his fall from heaven, he declared: “I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). Satan mimics everything that God does, thereby getting man to focus on the counterfeits rather than paying attention to God’s original. Take, for instance, the unholy trinity, which will manifest itself after our dispensation closes. The Bible, in Revelation chapter 13, describes the “unholy trinity.” Just as God exists in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 John 5:7)—the devil has his “trinity.”

In today’s Scripture, we see two of the members of the “unholy trinity.” The first is a dragon, a metaphor for Satan (cf. Revelation 12:9). Next is the antichrist, the world ruler of the future seven-year Tribulation, who is described as a “beast” (not a literal animal, but a man with a bestial, or cruel, nature). In Revelation 13:11, we read of “another beast,” an additional bestial (vicious) man, “the false prophet,” a religious leader who will perform satanic miracles and serve as the antichrist’s assistant (Revelation 19:20).

God’s Word tells us in today’s Scripture that the dragon (Satan) will give power to the beast (antichrist). Just as God the Father will give the earth’s kingdoms to Jesus Christ one day (Psalm 2:6-9; Daniel 7:13,14; Revelation 11:15)—which will occur after the seven-year Tribulation—Satan will first give them to the antichrist. See how that mimics God’s program? Did you notice how Satan will mimic God the Father?

The antichrist will pretend to be Jesus Christ, thus he will mimic Him (Revelation 6:2; cf. Revelation 19:11-13). According to Revelation 13:11-15, just as the Holy Ghost directs worship to Jesus Christ (John 16:13), the false prophet (the counterfeit Holy Ghost) will direct worship to the antichrist (the counterfeit Jesus Christ). That unholy trinity, like Satan today, will deceive the masses during Daniel’s 70th week.