Isaiah’s Prophecy of a Suffering Servant

In the last few days we have been thinking on the fact that the Lord God, the creator of the Universe, knows ahead of time what is going to happen, and to prove that He alone is God, He tells us specific things that He is going to do, before it happens. Let’s look at another one today. The prophet Isaiah ministered for over forty years (740-697 B.C.) and spoke about a time when God would send a suffering servant to the nation of Israel. This servant of God would be humiliated, persecuted, spat upon, mocked, the hair from His beard would be pulled out, and His back would be whipped:

6I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; 
I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting (Isaiah 50:6).

Isaiah went on to prophesy about this suffering servant, that He would be despised, rejected and killed, but in this act of suffering He would carry our transgressions, iniquities (immoral or grossly unfair behavior) and our infirmities (physical or mental weaknesses) out from between us and God:

3He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, 
yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 
5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; 
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 
6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; 
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:4-6).

Continue reading

The “At Any Moment” Doctrine.

Is the doctrine of immanence valid? Is it Biblical? This doctrine says that at any moment Jesus could come. The urgency to be ready for the return of Christ is pressed upon those that are without Christ. I wholeheartedly agree that the Church should preach that those without Christ should repent (turn from sin toward obedience to Christ) and get their lives right with God, but it is not Biblical to tell people that Jesus Christ could come today. Jesus Himself said that He would send forth His angels and snatch away His church, only after the great distress (KJV Tribulation, The Greek Word is Thlipsis), but yet before the wrath of God. Twice in Matthew 24 He tells us that His church will endure persecution:

9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted (Thlipsis) and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me (Matthew 24:9).

21For then there will be great distress (Thlipsis), unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again (Matthew 24:21).

Jesus said that we won’t know the day or the hour of His coming (Matthew 24:36), but those that are born-again and spiritually renewed or regenerated by the Spirit of God will know the season of time as it approaches—and it is approaching! If it could come at any moment, why would Jesus tell us to watch? (Verses 42-44). The Lord shared a lesson from the fig tree, that when it’s leaves come out and it’s twigs get tender you’ll know that summer (the return of Christ) is near. He explained that there would be certain signs that will indicate the season, “when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door” (Matthew 24:33). The question is asked, “What signs are we to look for?” How are we to take this? The signs are those that He has mentioned earlier in the chapter—the rise of the Antichrist, the peace covenant in the Middle East (Daniel 9:27), the Abomination of Desolation (v.15), and the persecution of the saints (vs. 9, 21). Paul the Apostle talked about three things that must happen before the gathering together of the saints. He shared the three things in his second letter to the Thessalonian church, chapter two. We’ll focus on them tomorrow.

It is only at some point after the signs of the times that we can expect the snatching up (rapture) of the saints. We will know the season because of the signs happening, but we will not know which day it will happen or what hour. The time that we are in at the moment is a time for the church to spiritually prepare for the difficult time ahead—it is time to get close to the Lord, learn to hear His voice, and if you are not yet right with God, it’s time to cry out to Him for His full and complete salvation to come to you. It is not earned, but a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9) when you are ready to turn your life over into His hands:

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).

Keith Thomas

What is the Day of the Lord?

6Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. 7Because of this, all hands will go limp, every heart will melt with fear. 
8Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame. 9See, the day of the LORD is coming—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.10The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. 
The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. 
11I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. 
I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. 
12I will make people scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir. 
13Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place 
at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the day of his burning anger (Isaiah 13:6-13).

After reading this description of the Day of the Lord, who can doubt that this is the wrath of God? It actually says to us that the Day of the Lord is the day of His wrath (verse 13). How then can some say that this time of God’s wrath is going to last seven years, and that the rapture is before this time of seven years? If this time that is written about above lasts for seven years, how come Antichrist will be able to exercise his authority for 42 months (Revelation 13:5) and make war on the saints? (Revelation 13:7) all at a time some believe to be when the wrath of God is going on. The Day of the Lord and the wrath of God is the same thing, the same event, and the church will be taken up, caught up, raptured before the Day of the Lord begins. It is not before the seven-year period starts—we have to prepare for and endure the tribulation first. The tribulation is not the wrath of God; it is the persecution of God’s people by the Antichrist. Continue reading

What is the Rapture of the Saints?

13Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

There are some Christians who do not believe that there will be a rapture of the saints. I don’t know how they get around the plain understanding of these verses. Sure, I agree with them that the word rapture is not found in the Bible. The word Rapture is a word we use to describe the church, the people of God, being caught up to heaven. The English word comes from the Latin word rapere, meaning rapid. The Latin word rapere is from the original Greek word harpazō, translated as “caught up” in the New International Version and King James Bible, as in the passage above. Harpazō means: “to strip, spoil, snatch. To seize upon with force; to rob. It is an open act of confiscatory violence…to snatch or tear away, yank away, pluck out of, remove by swiftly and aggressively grasping.”[1] There is coming a time when the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout (how those that have refused and scorned His grace and act of love will tremble), and at that instant we will be snatched from this earth and changed as we are gathered together to be forever with Him. It goes along with what Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the change in our nature: Continue reading

What Happened the Day Noah Entered the Ark?

26“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. 28“It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30“It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:26-30).

I lead and teach six groups and one in-depth Bible training/equipping class. The groups are designed to be more relational—I teach and intersperse the talk with questions designed to help people to process the various scriptures that we look at. The questions are designed to make one think about what is the clear Biblical thought that is being expressed in the passage. One of my favorites to ask is, “if you had your 10 ten year old son or daughter ask you what this passage means, what would you tell him/her?” So let me ask you, dear reader, what is Jesus clearly communicating in the passage above? Sometimes we can put a lens of some pastor’s teaching over our eyes and read into a passage what that person has taught. But that is not how we are to read scripture. We must ask ourselves what are we to understand from what Jesus is saying? Let me tell you what I see:

Jesus shares two examples from history. Two times when there was unrestrained evil, one in a local area, and one that was worldwide. At both times in our examples, life was going on seemingly as normal, people were eating and drinking, there was long term planning, as in planting for a harvest, building homes, marriages being planned, etc. But all of a sudden there was a day when Lot and his family disappeared with a couple of angels, and Noah and his family got into his boat and the door was locked. Guess what happened next? Continue reading