View Full Version : Where God is taking the church

Screaming Eagle
02-18-2010, 08:20 AM
I got this from a friend of mine. After considering his ideas, I'd be interested in hearing your comments on the whole idea. It's part of the 'mystery' that Paul makes reference to in Romans 11 when looked at through a 'big' picture in history that is playing out even now. SE

The virgin birth of Christ means that the 'seed of the woman' is born into the world without the help of man. The same is true of the resurrection of the dead and of creation ‘ex nihilo’ (out of nothing). These are the metaphors that scripture uses to describe regeneration. In all of these examples: creation, birth, and resurrection, the subject is passive. It is not producing the action; it is being acted upon. The salvation of God is everywhere manifest to be a sovereign act of God 'apart from works'.

The work must be God’s alone, because a division in the labor implies a division in the glory. Although the salvation of God is wrought ‘in’ man and manifest ‘through’ man, it is nothing ‘of’ man. This is precisely what sets the faith of Christ apart from all other religious systems. It is what made Paul an enemy not only to his nation but also many within the church. Their quarrel was not with Paul’s high Christology but his monergistic (only one working) soteriology (doctrine of salvation).

Just as the virgin birth was a divine ‘by-pass’ of natural fertility, so is every aspect of the salvation of God. God is supremely jealous for this, because He is supremely jealous that to God alone be all the glory (Soli de Gloria). The cross signifies God’s rejection of all that man is and of anything that man might presume to contribute towards his own salvation. It signifies that the life of the Spirit can only begin at the place of utter death to all natural support ('I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name'). This is why the promised eschatological salvation of Israel is always depicted at the end of their power (Deut 32:36; Lev 26:29; Jer 30:6-7; Dn 12:7).

If this principle is true of Israel in the coming day of the Lord, it is no less true of the church of this age. In fact, that is what makes the church the church. Through the transforming power of the revelation of the gospel, the believer receives the salvation of the coming day in unexpected advance of that day. The church by definition is the first fruits of Israel’s coming salvation. The church is the church only so far as it has received the Spirit that will yet be given to the penitent remnant of Israel at the end of the great tribulation.

We might say that the church is the product of a partially ‘realized’ eschatology. As such, it is NOT the negation of Israel’s eschatology, but as the people of the Spirit through revelation of the messianic secret (Mk 4:11; 8:30; 9:9; Ro 16:25-26; 1Cor 2:7-8; Eph 6:19; 1Pet 1:11-12; Rev 10:7), the church is the first fruits of millennial Israel. Living ‘between the times’, the church is the tribulation people, instructing many (Dn 11:33; 12:3). What then should the church be? What is the church called now to demonstrate before men and angels in anticipation of that day?

Obviously the so-called church of professing ‘Christendom’ falls miserably beneath the standard of God’s declared intention for the church. The divine question, 'Where art thou?' finds most of what calls itself church naked and ashamed. This leaves many to ask, what is the church? Where is the church? The greatness of what God has decreed for the church, particularly in terms of what He had declared He will show forth and vindicate through the church, makes the church to ask with Mary, 'How shall this be?'

I believe we can hear the same promise for the church of our day. 'For with God nothing shall be possible.' There is a sense that the age is waiting on something still to be accomplished in the church, something to which the church could never attain apart from the constraints and inducements that God will bring through the crisis of Israel.

The crisis of Israel, particularly as it concerns the covenant concerning the Land, and the controversy of Jerusalem (Isa 34:8; Zech 12:2) will constitute the final watershed issue that will evoke all the great issues of the faith. In short, God will provoke the nations to provoke Him, since it is when the nations lift themselves up to attack Israel that His fury comes up in face (Ezk 38:18; Joel 3:2), as the ultimate provocation of His wrath. With this great provocation, there is no more delay.

The issue of Israel will be turned into a great test of the heart that will be a plumb line of division, not only among the nations but also in the church, not least because the people that are the occasion for such world turmoil are by no means friends of the gospel. Hence, the issue of Israel will test the hearts of many, particularly since this people, entirely unworthy in themselves, are nonetheless predestined to be made righteous at the set time, as was Paul on the road to Damascus. Thus it is that what the church believes about Israel is very revealing of whether it understands the nature of its own grace.

There is at the present a glorious church that is as much alive and hid with God in Christ as it will ever be. However, God has appointed a day of separation and manifestation through the determinative events and judgments of the tribulation. Of course, the essence of what the church will meet in the final tribulation is not without precedent. It is simply the ultimate intensification and embodiment of the church’s age long conflict. But a dispensation of requirement is at hand that will more clearly manifest the distinction between wheat and tare.

Therefore, the present condition of the church is not the last word. God knows how to get us from here to there. 'He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it' (1Thes 5:24). Hallelujah! That little verse, so big with meaning, says that what God has determined to do for and in His people, He will certainly do. What a word of assurance! When I think of the present state of the church, and, of course, my own state, I think of Jesus’ words to Peter in John 21:18 'Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go."

So what wants and what waits in order for the church to attain to its full eschatological stature before this age can give way to millennial glory? No lesser power than the power that overshadowed Mary is required. That 'holy thing' that is conceived in the church is as holy and apart from the help of man as that 'holy thing' conceived in Mary’s womb. We know also that the working of that power requires a divinely quickened humility of faith that only comes at the end of strength.

To propose a pre tribulation exit for the church, which is 'the pillar and ground of truth' (1Tim 3:15), is to settle for an anti-climax, unworthy and out of keeping with all that scripture reveals concerning the cruciform pattern of God’s ways with His people throughout history ('ought not Christ to have suffered?'). The suffering saints of the tribulation are never depicted as subject to divine wrath, but only the persecution of men. Some are hid and fed (Isa 26:20; Rev 12:6); many are preserved alive to the end.

May we then assume that God is waiting upon the church? Or is the church waiting upon God for the fuller manifestation of His glory? There is a necessary order, but God is no more waiting on the church to come into its place than He is on Israel to come into her place. He is not waiting on the help of man!

If history has shown anything, it has shown that if God were waiting on Israel, He would be waiting forever. No, while the sovereignty of God’s purpose never sets aside human obligation to fulfill the necessary requirements of righteousness, according to the eschatology of Israel, the willingness and obedience of the people awaits a special act of divine power. 'Your people will be willing in the day of your power' (Ps 110:3; Jer 31:18; Gal 1:15). And significantly, that day follows the humbling of the nation through the chastisement of the Antichrist (Isa 10:5; Jer 30:14).

Certainly, the church has already come to this divine enablement in some measure by the gift of the Spirit; else it wouldn’t be the church. However, the power of Pentecost did not happen in a vacuum, and we may be sure that God’s determination to manifest the power of Christ through the church is yet to see a crescendo of glory in a final martyr witness of love and obedience, which will register itself powerfully upon the conscience of Israel, moving some to anger and others to holy emulation. But whether to anger or emulation, a church that has come to its appointed stature is a church that provokes.

Just as the seed did not appear until the 'fullness of time' (Gal 4:4), God’s full purpose for the church has its appointed time, and we believe that time will coincide with 'the time of Jacob’s trouble' (Jer 30:7; Dn 12:1; Mt 24:21). The church needs to understand the time and nature of that time of ultimate crisis, what provokes it and what is at stake in it. We believe that that 'understanding' (Dn 9:25; 11:33; 12:3, 10) is crucial and will prove priceless and transformative for the church. We believe that the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week will have everything to do with crowding the church into position for its final testimony, which not incidentally coincides with the time that Michael casts down Satan to begin the final tribulation, Satan’s ‘short time’ (Dn 12:7; Rev 12:12; 17:10).

Theologically, the church is the corporate seed of the woman through the Spirit of Christ, who has indwelt all the regenerate people of God from the beginning (1Pet 1:11), even as Christ is the personal seed of the woman. Born by miraculous conception of the Word (1Pet 1:23), she is the corporate fullness of Christ in His people through the Spirit. (Eph 1:23; Col 1:18-19). In essence, the church is as miraculously conceived and birthed as her ascended Lord. No less than Christ Himself, the church, and every living stone in her, is born from above, 'not by the will of the flesh or by the will of man, but of God' (Jn 1:13).

If, therefore, the incarnate life of God in the people of God is the standard, many are anxious to see evidence of a corresponding reality in tangible manifestation, particularly in mighty demonstrations of the Holy Spirit’s power. Here we must caution of something very perverse in human nature. It is the spirit of demand. It is also a question of the purity of the motives for seeking powerful evidences for the manifest working of God.

A pure and single passion to see the greater glory of God in the church will learn to reckon on the lowliness and hiddenness of God’s ways among His people. Except for the sake of judgment, God will usually hide the greater manifestations of His power from pride. God makes it a point to bring His 'good thing' out of Nazareth (Jn 1:46), and to conceal His glory underneath badger’s skins. As the Lord, so is the church without form or comeliness in the assessment of the world. Its beauty is a hidden beauty known only to God and to those who are begotten of Him.

The church is only strong when it is weak. It is only full when it is empty. The church demonstrates the wisdom of the cross in its rejection of all false forms of power through a resigned faith in 'the God who raises the dead.' Such a faith cannot be intimidated by any earthly power. It is as free to die as to live. 'If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed' (Jn 8:36). The freedom that is freedom indeed is the freedom of love that casts out fear (1Jn 4:8).

It is much to be observed that only a church that is perfect in love can be bold in the face of death, and this is exactly what the apocalyptic books of Daniel and Revelation depict of the tribulation saints. As Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered, so the church of the last days will be perfected through sufferings. It is an inviolable principle of the faith (Acts 14:22). Whether Joseph or David (and where is the exception?), the afflictions of the sons of God establish the pattern that Christ, the preeminent Son, will fulfill ultimately ('ought not Christ to have suffered?') Even as Israel must and will be brought to the end of their power in preparation for the revelation of Christ, so too the church must and will be brought to an end of its power. 'Judgment must begin at the house of God' (1Pet 4:17).

The question that follows is what does God intend to employ in bringing the church to its predestined fullness? How will He get us from here to there, corporately speaking? Can we believe such ‘manifest’ glory for Israel at the end of their tribulation, and believe less for the church at the end of hers?

If I were a teacher giving a class an assignment, I would love to garner the collective insight concerning what scripture shows that God intends to employ to bring His church to its full eschatological destiny in preparation for Israel’s return.

Note that at the very moment the church is being glorified, Israel is being converted. Israel’s salvation does not happen gradually; it happens suddenly, 'at once' and 'in one day' (Isa 59:21; 66:8, Ezk 39:22; Zech 3:9; 12:10; Mt 23:29; Act 3:21; Ro 11:26; Rev 1:7), at the ‘set time’ (Ps 102:13; Dn 9:24; 11:35). Israel’s salvation at the day of the Lord can be compared to Paul’s sudden divine arrest on the road to Damascus.

Note too how Israel’s salvation is related to the power of Christ’s return and the millennial binding of Satan. Significantly, the finishing of the mystery of God (Rev 10:7) coincides with the destruction of the veil that is spread over all nations (Isa 25:7), as the time of Satan, 'the anointed cherub that covers' is made short by the tribulation, which begins with the revelation of the mystery of iniquity in the incarnation of Satan in the Man of Sin.

What is the church’s role as witness to the prophetic testimony of Jesus in bringing Israel back to God? What will God do to bring the church to its appointed place in the Spirit in order to stand in the gap for Israel in the evil day?

Mad Mick
02-22-2010, 07:39 AM
G'Day Screaming Eagle!
I did a personal study on the term Mystery, which wherever I found the term in the Bible was generally summed up by the revelation Paul reiterated stating that this mystery revealed, was that "The door to Salvation was ALSO opened to the Gentiles as well as the Hebrews, by the love Christ Jesus had shown for the fallen as well as the obedient, through his self sacrifice and the shedding of his blood Once and for always."

This leads to the final MYSTERY in Rev. 17 which I'm about to post in the eschatological section soon, titled "17." Keep your eye's peeled it should spark a few comments and bring something fresh to this agenda.

I'm right behind you on the point of Pre Trib rapture. I don't agree with it, for it can only cause apathy on the part of believers and goes against a pile of scripture which also includes the many references to the perfection of the church through great suffering and persecution. It's unfortunate that so many pussy Christians are out there pushing this point, as well as decent followers like Missler, Laurie the Left Behind Crew and the like.

I'm sure you also realize that many who hold this view are well meaning believers who aren't afraid of death as it may seem, yet just so happen to really believe God wont allow his elect to go through the drama.

This I feel is a deception, one of many, which is divisive and causes confusion which can only keep people in the dark and stay unprepared for what could very well be the opposite.

This is where Pre Trib Rapture serves absolutely no positive purpose and if wrong as I suspect, can only lead people down the path of eventually falling prey to accepting this Mark and allegiance to the Beast.

Hey, I hope for everyones sake I'm WRONG!

But if my understanding of scripture is correct, then there's going to be a lot of so called believers going down!

This is where a plan "B" never hurt anyone
and that is to Stay prepared.

This is where I feel the main body of the church needs to be yet where maybe only 10 to 20% will be capable of not capitulating should the worst case scenario erupt!

I'd rather have a bunker with peace of mind and never be Nuked; than the opposite! ie. Better egg on my face, than no face at all!

I learnt a valuable lesson, which was "When your on a sinking ship, you've not only got to learn how to jump, but most importantly trust your spirit to guide you on How, Where, When and with Whom you should jump SHIP with.

There's no point diving into shark infested waters without protection, nor should you jump on the first boat that comes along, lest they be cannibals.

No I feel many churches aren't prepared including my own. This is where individuals like ourselves really do make a difference. Our churches need us for bringing in these radical views, for constantly challenging it's core beliefs AND most importantly teaching them to stay humble realizing even the elect can get it so wrong, including ourselves.

I'm putting together something on Revelation which isn't quite finished yet, but will post "17" shortly.

Screaming Eagle
02-22-2010, 09:34 AM
Thanks for your comments. I think we only need look at our own lives (speaking for myself now) to see where I have learned my greatest lessons. Through my own lack of understanding, it was through troubling that the silver is refined.
A servant is not greater than his Master. He has done it all and Paul says for us to 'know Him in the power of Hs resurrection, the *fellowship* (koinonia) of His sufferings, being 'conformed to' (only use of this word in scripture) His death. If we have indeed been 'made one' with Him (indeed IN Him) we should expect no less travail.
The difference is in the 'when' part of it. If we deal with the idols in our own hearts (psuche, souls) now, the tribulation part (refining) will be much less because we are IN the Ark of Christ Himself Who floats above the waters that cause others to perish. As in the days of Noah, so shall it be.

Mad Mick
02-22-2010, 11:37 AM
You speak with words of eloquence,
may all be revealed to those who seek the truth
and who persevere!

I've dreamt of tribulation more than any other subject:-
1. seen an asteroid come from the east bout 0.5 to 1km round,
2. saw a third of antarctic ice shelf dissipate
3. saw three different factions overtake my country while a handful of smug celebrities justified their importance from the rest which I rebuked and opted to leave their haven
4. witnessed great treasures hidden in the middle east accessible through a small cavity deep in the sand in which the authorities were killing to hide the truth.
5. found my myself to be the sole member of my family still alive, with very few other people around.

to name just a few of the most predominant recurring subjects.
People can call it what they want, I know differently. Too many of my dreams have come to pass. I know the Lord, he's given me fair warning. I've been semi detached from my very large family for most of my life, these recurring dreams do that to you. I think the worst part is that I know I'll be separated from my children two Girls so far 5 and 2 who just melt me. I've seen this other separation when I was 5 between my wife and I. There's no doubt my wife is this same person. Well a Spirit in the form of an old bearded man takes her out of this life and assures me we'll meet again. At times there's nothing more morbid. I don't envy the future nor desire it to ever happen, yet it's unavoidable and want it over and done with asap.
The most daunting though was the asteroid not comet for I saw glimpses of gunmetal grey as it passed by from the rear between the roaring almost deafening flames . . . . I only hope and pray that my kids will somehow escape or that God may alter what I've seen, so I petition him regularly for my family and friends and try to find solace in Christ. There's still a while to go though enough time to seriously prepare. I can't see Tribulation happening before 2023, but within 17 years, 2027 it should be done. I hate this rotten melancholy frog in my throat feeling I get when I think about this sh!t, but I can't avoid it any longer, it's too close. Sometimes I feel like I just want to be dead, but thats the copout. It's not my road. I was born for this time, how I'd love to be proved wrong. But then how dare I wish to pass this hell upon an unsuspecting generation! Far be it from me or you!
Remember we wont know the day nor the hour yet we will know the season by the signs! There will be no mistake! And no, he's not coming in 2012. I'll post "17" soon.

02-24-2010, 01:47 AM
The presuppositions from which you write are too numerous and in depth to present a simple (or complex) answer to the Title question. There are different ways to look at things than from what you present. Since the 'new covenant' of Christ's blood has been established in physical, historical reality; the former conditional covenant 'nation' of Israel ceased. The 'new covenant' is based on individual accountability with regards to forgiveness of sin against the law, and subsequent blessings; while the former covenant dealt with the hope of corporal continued blessings from keeping the law.

Jacobs (individual Israelites of faith) iniquities and sins (Rom 11: vs 27) were removed at the time of the cross along with all mankind's and generations who are of faith. In verse 26 he is referring to removing an ungodliness which was referenced in Chapter 59 in Isaiah. That ungodliness was the oppressive, twisted, carnal, judicial, social and religious systems that were evident at that time and can still oppress if and when we subordinate to them.

The presupposition of the chilaist millenialism adds further areas of disagreement to be able to offer a answer and response.:yo:

8The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.

9Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.

10We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noon day as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.

11We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.

12For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them;
13In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.

14And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.

15Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.

However, since you mentioned Romans 11 Feel free to check over the post at http://www.biblewheel.com/forum/showpost.php?p=18473&postcount=27 and http://www.biblewheel.com/forum/showpost.php?p=18740&postcount=36 for a different perspective.

Brother Les
02-24-2010, 11:14 AM
'The Church' is not a First Century manifestation. 'The Church' (Assembly/Body/Elect) of YHWH/Messiah has been from the days of Abraham. The 'Mysteries' that the Apostle Paul speaks of is how The Elect (from the foundation of the world) of The Gentiles/Nations were to be brought into Covenant with YHWH/Christ. It was prophecied for Gentiles to come into Covenant with YHWH in the OT. 'The Church' of today is NC 'Israel'. The 'Church' was there at the Covenant of Abraham to the Covenant of Moses to the NC Covenant of Messiah. There has always been a Remnent of The Election with in Israel/Gentiles the should be called The Body of Christ ie. The Church.

Screaming Eagle
02-24-2010, 12:24 PM
That's exactly why Stephen referred to the 'church' (ekklesia) the the wilderness. Noone seemed to question anything he had to say then and they all understood it and even chose Stephen as one of the first ones to send. Note that it was an angel that spoke with him.

Ac 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: