“Behold, I have given you authority to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you..” ~ Luke 10:19, TLV
All believers will not automatically receive the Baptism of the Ruach HaKodesh (a.k.a., the Holy Spirit). As a result, there are too many believers in Yeshua who are living without their portions of the Lord’s Dunamis (Power) and Exousia (Authority) – they are living without having any of the Kingdom power and Kingdom authority YeHoVaH reserved for them so that they would be able to perform the kinds of miraculous and spiritual works their portions of the Lord’s Dunamis and Exousia would help them do. For this reason, believers in Yeshua need to know and understand that without the Filling of the Ruach HaKodesh (the Baptism of the Holy Spirit), they never will be able to defeat the works of Satan, the works of his minions, or the works of their own fleshly and soulish desires.
For us to have enough Kingdom power and Kingdom authority to kick Satan and his minions’ trifling derrières, or to heal the sick and to raise the dead, we first must be filled with the Ruach HaKodesh. His Filling is the only way we can be empowered and endowed to do the kind of works Yeshua did. Furthermore, if the Ruach HaKodesh is not transforming us (progressively changing us) into the likeness of Yeshua via the Ruach HaKodesh’s Sanctification Process, we won’t be ready to receive any Kingdom power or Kingdom authority and, thus, won’t be able to function as empowered and endowed believers in Yeshua.
Even though we claim Yeshua as our personal Savior, if we do not have the Ruach HaKodesh’s Filling we either will backslide again and again or we will remain as spiritually immature babes in Yeshua who are on milk instead of on the Word’s meat. Moreover, without the Filling of the Ruach HaKodesh, we also could experience the big FALL – the prophesied end times’ falling away from the Faith (apostasy). This fall also would cause us to blaspheme the Ruach HaKodesh.
We must be filled and refilled with the Ruach HaKodesh so that we can receive the Kingdom power and Kingdom authority that will keep us safe from accepting false teaching and/or developing disbelief, which could cause us to fall away from the Faith. YeHoVaH wants to provide our escape. He wants to give us the same Kingdom power and Kingdom authority that is in Yeshua. This Kingdom power and Kingdom authority are needed so that we will be able to kick Satan and his demons’ trifling derrières. This Kingdom power and Kingdom authority also are needed so that we will be able to overcome the world and our flesh. Shalom.
11 Then [YeHoVaH] said, “Let the land sprout grass, green plants yielding seed, fruit trees making fruit, each according to its species with seed in it, upon the land.” And it happened so. 12 The land brought forth grass, green plants yielding seed, each according to its species, and trees making fruit with the seed in it, each according to its species. And [YeHoVaH] saw that it was good. – Genesis 1:11-12, TLV; the bracketed words are my emphasis
3 to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of [YeHoVaH], that He may be glorified. – Isaiah 61:3, TLV; the bracketed word is my emphasis
3 And He told them many things in parables, saying, “Behold, a sower went out to spread some seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some seeds fell by the road; and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they didn’t have much soil. They sprang up immediately, because the soil wasn’t deep. 6 But when the sun came up, they were scorched; and because they had no roots, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew and choked them out. 8 But others fell on good soil and were producing fruit. They yielded a crop—some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”
23 “Now the one sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands. He indeed bears fruit, yielding a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty times what was sown.” – Matthew 13:3-9 and 23, TLV
22 But the fruit of the Ruach is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control—against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23, TLV
The gifts of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), which are given to born again, saved, justified, Spirit-filled, and being sanctified Yeshua believers, empower them for service – they (the spiritual gifts) give Yeshua’s believers spiritual Power that enables them to do ministry work. Without a doubt, YeHoVaH makes it clear in Genesis chapter one that the service Yeshua’s believers are called to do is symbolized by YeHoVaH’s planted, cultivated, and harvested seed that makes fruit according to its species. For sure, some of the ministry works Yeshua’s believers are called to do are as follows: function as evangelists, participate in missionary activities, minister to the needy, teach Bible classes, and so forth.
Again, in Genesis chapter one, YeHoVaH says that every fruit tree makes “fruit, each according to its species with seed in it,” and Yeshua says that a tree is known by its fruit – either good or bad (see Luke 6:43-45). What the Father and the Son say about fruit-bearing trees are why it important for Yeshua’s believers to understand that it is the Work of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) that empowers them with spiritual gifts that make it possible for them to function as evangelists, participate in missionary activities, minister to the needy, teach Bible classes, and so on. Furthermore, it is the Work of the Ruach HaKodesh that yields the following fruit in Yeshua’s believers: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Recently, some Christians commented on my Facebook posting about evangelism being the central work of Yeshua’s believers that evangelism isn’t the chief work believers are called to do. These Christians either claimed that love or worship is the principal work of Yeshua’s believers. I responded by telling them that neither godly Love nor godly Worship is WORK. I added that godly Love is a FRUIT of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirt), and I declared that this kind of Love originally/initially comes from a SEED humans did not plant, did not cultivate, and did not harvest.
The Divine Truth, where each Yeshua believer is concerned, is that it is Yeshua who Plants a SEED in “good soil” (every born again and saved spirit that hears the sown Word and understands It). After Yeshua plants the SEED, it is Yeshua’s Ruach HaKodesh who cultivates that SEED until it matures – grows into a tree of righteousness, which spiritually means that each Yeshua believer is spiritually being transformed into the image of Yeshua who is symbolized as the Vine or the Tree from which spiritually mature/healthy branches (believers) not only sprout but also bear much fruit (see John 15:1-3).
Once there is fruit on a tree of righteousness, it is the Lord’s Ruach HaKodesh who harvests that fruit from each branch – gathers the fruit which has a seed within it. Spiritually speaking, Yeshua’s fruit-bearing believers won’t initially be gathered until the time of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Nevertheless, the spiritual point here is that the fruit of the Ruach HaKodesh is every Yeshua believer’s transformed spirit, and the harvest is that of saved, justified, Spirit-filled, and sanctified living souls – both the living souls who are dead and alive in Yeshua. Put differently, Yeshua’s believers on earth who bear much fruit only do so because of the Ruach HaKodesh’s progressive Work that is happening in their spirits (good soils). This ongoing sanctification Work of the Ruach HaKodesh results in the spirits (good soils) of Yeshua’s believers yielding, again and again, much fruit, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. They continue to bear fruit until they have been transformed into Yeshua and become overcomers who are ready to receive their glorified bodies.
Secondly, where the kind of godly Worship YeHoVaH expects is concerned, this kind of worship is done in Spirit and in Truth (see John 4:24). Without a doubt, the Spirit part of godly Worship refers to the Work of the Ruach HaKodesh. He stirs within good soils the holy desire to celebrate YeHoVaH, as well as the holy desires to rejoice in YeHoVaH and to give thanks to YeHoVaH. This worship of YeHoVaH in Spirit happens after the Ruach HaKodesh awakens in the spirits of Yeshua’s believers a spiritual awareness of YeHoVaH’s Glory, Beauty, and Power. Moreover, this worship of YeHoVaH in Spirit also happens after the Ruach HaKodesh opens the spiritual eyes of understanding within Yeshua’s believers and then empowers their spirits so that they are able to show YeHoVaH how much they comprehend and appreciate everything – all the Godhead’s treasures – YeHoVaH has made available to them through His Son, Yeshua. Again, the spirits of Yeshua’s believers only pertains to the born again, saved, justified, Spirit-filled, and being sanctified spirits that hear the sown Word and understand It.
Now, as far as the Truth part of godly Worship is concerned, this part also refers to the Work of the Ruach HaKodesh because He is the only One who knows all of YeHoVaH’s Truths, as well as knows ALL truths. Only the Ruach HaKodesh can teach, explain, inform, and reveal YeHoVaH’s Scriptural Truths, and only the Ruach HaKodesh can teach, explain, inform, and reveal YeHoVaH’s Scriptural Truths to Yeshua’s born again, saved, justified, Spirit-filled, and being sanctified (transformed) believers’ spirits. Since human interpretations and opinions do not create the atmosphere in which YeHoVaH-exalting worship takes place, this Divine Truth is why the said believers’ godly worship in Truth not only must be informed and conformed by the Ruach HaKodesh’s Knowledge, Wisdom, and Understanding of YeHoVaH’s Scriptural Truths but also must be founded, embedded, and focused on the Ruach HaKodesh’s Scriptural Revelations of the Truths about YeHoVaH and Yeshua. In other words, the spirits of Yeshua’s believers who are worshipping YeHoVaH in Truth can not do so if their worship is based on the traditions of men or on erroneous human interpretations or opinions about YeHoVaH’s Scriptural Truths.
So again, godly Love and godly Worship are the Works of the Ruach HaKodesh – not our works. Furthermore, the uncomfortable Divine Truth is that we do the work of an evangelist, and all the other ministerial services we are called to do, because we love YeHoVaH and Yeshua enough to want to obey their Commands, as well as love YeHoVaH enough to desire to Worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth. However, we must realize that we only can do the work of an evangelist; love YeHoVaH, Yeshua, and our fellow human beings; or worship YeHoVaH in Spirit and in Truth when the Ruach HaKodesh’s Work makes it possible for us to have the spiritual power, will, fruit, and gifts to do so. Shalom . . . .
20 But you, loved ones, continue building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 21 Keep yourselves in the love of [YeHoVaH], eagerly waiting for the mercy of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who are wavering— 23 save them by snatching them out of the fire; but on others have mercy with fear—hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. – Jude vv. 20-23, TLV (the bracketed word is my emphasis)
I used to be unable to understand how apostates could creep in anywhere unaware. That changed while I was evangelizing in South Korea.
Sadly, at the South Korean Christian school where I taught English, there were professed Christians who, as Jude describes, were “…bellyaching grumblers, following after their own desires. Their mouth speaks grandiose things, showing favoritism for the sake of gain” (Jude v. 16, TLV). They were believers in Yeshua who also possessed knowledge of Yeshua’s Gospel; however, they were way too much like the metaphorical seed that falls on rocky soil and springs up quickly only to wilt when the scorching sun of trouble shines on them or when they are under the roasting pressure of persecution.
For sure, it was their love for more money, larger schools, more curriculum knowledge, and/or better-paying jobs that had caused them to fall away from what they at one time must have believed. Put differently, they were not walking in obedience to Yeshua, as it was evident that, as backsliders, they were following the desires of their flesh.
They were behaving like the kind of apostates Jude says the apostle Paul had warned about – “…theones who cause divisions—worldly-minded, not having the Ruach” (Jude v.19, TLV). Indeed, the people who worked at this school when I was there were definitely spiritually divided – that is to say, those who kept the faith were spiritually separated from those who had sincere doubt. It also didn’t help that the school’s Christian owners also physically separated certain staff members from each other. In other words, the backsliders or those who were wavering — those who had not become committed apostates – were isolated. These segregated backsliding apostates are the ones that Jude advises the overcomers to “…save…by snatching them out of the fire” (Jude v.23a).
At this school, there also was another kind of apostates – those who willfully rejected the Gospel of Yeshua. These were the apostates that not onlydistorted YeHoVaH’s Truths but also denied those spiritual Truths and biblical doctrines that defined the genuinely saved believers in Yeshua. In other words, these apostates were no longer backslidden believers but rather they had become the kind of unbelievers that the writer of Hebrews says cannot be brought back to repentance (see Hebrews 6:4-6).
There were the kind of apostates who had passed the point of no return – those whom Jude describes as the apostates that overcomers should “…have mercy with fear—hating even the garment defiled by the flesh” (Jude v.23b), as they are apostates whose damnation had already been secured (Jude v.4). Additionally, the apostle Peter describes these apostates as the proverbial dogs who return to their own vomit and pigs who return to wallowing in the mire (see 2 Peter 2:22 and Proverbs 26:11).
Now, the reasons why these apostates were able to creep into our churches, our schools, our business, etcetera is because so few of today’s believers in Yeshua are spiritually savvy enough to discern when believers have departed from the faith, or when wolves have joined flocks, or when a backslider’s conscience has been seared, or when so-called Christians have a form of godliness, and so forth. For sure, there are many believers in Yeshua today who are living and/or behaving as the apostates who are described above, BUT far too many professed Christians either are clueless or indifferent about these apostates who clearly neither are clinging to the Holy Spirit nor are controlled by (cooperating with) Him. In other words, these professed Christians have not crucified their own ‘self,’ and they have not been filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit. They, instead, are sensual, which means they live in accordance with their senses because they are too soulish. This truth is why they are walking after their own lusts instead of being in accordance with the Holy Spirit.
Lastly, Jude makes it clear that believers in Yeshua can have victory over apostasy but only as overcomers who stay filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the only One who is able to keep believers in Yeshua from falling away from the faith. He also is the only One who is able to present believers in Yeshua as blameless before their Lord and Savior, but only if they allow Him to change them into overcomers.
Becoming overcomers begins when believers in Yeshua realize their assured victory does not mean that they don’t have to fight to win. Every genuine believer has to contend for the faith – the kind of faith that will help them to become victorious over sin, the world, and their flesh. However, living a holy life will keep those believers who are progressively becoming overcomers on the battlefield. Put differently, there is no way that contending for the faith won’t be dangerous at times. That is why it is important to remember what Yeshua and His apostles taught, which is that those seeking to become overcomers will obediently do the following: 1. Build themselves up on their most holy faith; 2. Pray in the Holy Spirit; and 3.Keep themselves in the Love of YeHoVaH (Jude vv. 20-21). This is how they not only survive apostasy but also how they become victorious over sin, the world, and their flesh. Additionally, this is how they will have the power to snatch backsliders out of the fire – apostates who have NOT passed the point of no return.
Once again, the ultimate solution to apostasy is believers’ proximity to Yeshua, which is achieved through the Holy Spirit. This Divine Truth is why believers in Yeshua must always stay close to Him, and they must always keep preaching His Gospel. By contending for the faith, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, and by staying close – via the Holy Spirit – to the only One who is able to keep believers in Yeshua from falling, Yeshua’s believers will be able not only to survive apostasy but also able to thrive as holy overcomers in spite of the fact that apostasy is everywhere in today’s world. Selah . . .
42 Therefore stay alert; for you do not know what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what time the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and not let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. – Matthew 24:42-44, TLV
What person, who has an idea about the time of day or night that a thief plans to rob him or her, would not watch for the arrival of this thief? A wise person will either wait — fully armed and ready to do battle with the robber — or he or she will alert the police, who will wait in the wise person’s house for the alleged thief so that they can catch him or her in the act of breaking and entering. Any person taking these precautionary measures is the Goodman Yeshua speaks about in His Matthew 24:43-44 Kingdom mini–parable.
Here is the point Yeshua is making: If non-believers and carnal unbelievers are smart enough to keep watch over their homes to prevent someone from breaking in, robbing, and/or harming their families, then certainly born again and saved spiritual believers also are smart enough to be like Yeshua’s Goodman. Even though Yeshua’s Bride will not be aware of the actual day and time when Her Bridegroom will return, She has the gift of spiritual discernment. Spiritual discernment helps Yeshua’s Bride know and recognize the signs of the time that will lead to Her Pre–Tribulation Rapture.
Yeshua tells His Believers how they can avoid being caught off guard. They have to watch for the Bridegroom’s return, and they also have to do Yehovah’s Perfect Will, which, in this case, means they need to handle their own spiritual responsibilities — they need to make sure their spiritual temples are prepared for the Rapture. Their Lord, Master, King, and Bridegroom’s Return will not surprise them, if they also are filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit so that He can make them ready, willing, and able to present their bodies as living sacrifices — as spiritual overcomers whose lives are holy and acceptable to Yeshua.
Be a “goodman.” Know the signs of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Look for the signs of your Savior’s Return, and be prepared when Yeshua comes for you.
Is the Holy Spirit filling you? Are you allowing the enemy to come into your individual temple and rob you blind? Is Satan stealing anything from you that the Holy Spirit needs to transform you into Yeshua’s image? Shalom.
But know this, that if the master of the house had known what time the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and not let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” – Matthew 24:43-44, TLV
Not everyone who claims to love Yeshua, as well as not everyone who claims to be born again and saved, will be “caught up” on the clouds where he/she will meet Yeshua before the Tribulation Period begins. That’s right! Not everyone who defines him or herself as a follower of Yeshua will be in the pre-Tribulation Rapture. Let there be no doubt about it, regardless if a professed Yeshua believer no longer believes in a pre-Tribulation Rapture, or if he or she never believed in it, the pre-Tribulation Rapture will happen.
In the Holy Bible, more than once, YeHoVaH shows His Children that His Wrath or Judgment cannot come until His Righteous Children are secure/safe. For example, in the Old Testament, only Noah and his family were considered righteous enough to enter the Ark and be secure/safe. Put differently, Noah and his family didn’t have to feel YeHoVaH’s Wrath or Judgment that was poured out upon the entire earth (see Genesis 6:6-7, Genesis 6:13-22; Genesis 7:6-24; The Flood). Similarly, in Genesis 19:22 and Genesis 19:24-25, Lot and his family safely escaped to Zoar before judgment was poured out on Sodom and Gomorrah (Fire and Brimstone). These Scriptures make it clear that only the folks YeHoVaH considered to be unrighteous felt His Wrath or Judgment.
Likewise, in the New Testament, YeHoVaH shows His Children that His Wrath or Judgment will only be poured out on the individuals who are considered to be unrighteous people. This Truth – YeHoVaH’s Wrath or Judgment is not meant for those who are considered to be His righteous Children – is why there will be a pre-Tribulation Rapture. Once again, more than once, YeHoVaH says in His holy Scriptures that His Wrath or Judgment cannot come until His Righteous Children are secure/safe.
The above-stated Truth about who feels YeHoVaH’s Wrath or Judgment is why there will be several types of unrighteous people who will miss the pre-Tribulation Rapture – YeHoVaH’s Ark in the end times. The following are the three groups of unrighteous people who will not enter the pre-Tribulation Rapture:
1. Unbelievers –the people who haven’t accepted Yeshua as Lord and Savior. Specifically, they are the ones who are described in Revelation 21:8; their final judgment, once the Tribulation period is over, will be the Lake of Fire.
2. Unbelieving believers – saved individuals who profess they know Yeshua, yet they don’t believe in what the Scriptures say about becoming overcomers, nor do they believe in what the Scriptures say about the power of YeHoVaH. Unbelieving believers, who are unrighteous because of their unbelief, can’t be raptured. Now, the precise kind of unrighteous unbelieving believers is described in Hebrews 2:1 as the individuals who didn’t pay close attention to what they heard and ended up becoming deceived apostates. These unrighteous unbelieving believers are also described in Hebrews 3:7-8 as the individuals who hardened their hearts to the Holy Spirit’s teachings and then fell away from the Truth; and in Hebrews 6:6, these fallen away from the Truth unrighteous unbelieving believers are devoted apostates who can’t be renewed again to repentance.
3. Unbelieving believers –in their unbelief, they mock the Truth that they hear and claim it will not happen (e.g., those who mock the pre-Tribulation Rapture) [see 2 Peter 3:3-4].
The above-mentioned three groups of unrighteous unbelieving people will miss the pre-Tribulation Rapture; however, the unrighteous unbelieving Yeshua believers will also miss the pre-Tribulation Rapture because they failed to meet Yeshua’s five godly conditions that would allow them to be counted worthy/righteous enough to be raptured. Here are the five godly conditions that must be met in order for believers in Yeshua to be prepared for and worthy to be chosen in the pre-Tribulation Rapture. Believers in Yeshua must be and do the following:
1. Must be an overcomer – Revelation 21:7 (see also Revelation chapters 2 & 3 . . . the one who overcomes references); all Yeshua believers must overcome the world, or the desires of the world; must overcome the flesh; and must overcome the devil
2. Must watch and pray for Yeshua’s thief in the night appearance – Mark 13:33
3. Must pray to be accounted worthy to escape the things that will happen in the end times – Luke 21:36
4. Must look for/anticipate Yeshua’s second appearance – Hebrews 9:28
5. Must cleanse themselves (get rid) of all filthiness so that they can achieve holiness – 2 Corinthians 7:1 (to get rid of every weight and entangling sin) – Hebrews 12:1
To be sure, there are things that only YeHoVaH via His Holy Spirit can cleanse in Yeshua believers. However, there are some things believers in Yeshua can do/can sacrifice to show YeHoVaH how much they hate sinning, how much they love Him, how much they want to be obedient and faithful, and how much they want to be like Yeshua.
Sadly, just as most believers in Yeshua won’t even try to purge themselves of every weight and entangling sin that is within their power to get rid of, there also are far too many professed Yeshua believers who refuse to believe/accept that Yeshua will come for His own like a thief in the night. The latter uses the fact that Yeshua is no sinner as their reason for their disbelief in the Scriptures that use the thief in the night simile. These Yeshua believers fail to understand that the thief in the night simile (image) is 100% figurative language, and, as figurative language, this simile means Yeshua isn’t a literal thief. However, the uncomfortably Truth they miss when they refuse to accept and believe the Scriptures that describe Yeshua as a THIEF is that, like a thief, Yeshua will indeed come secretly for His own.
This thief simile is found in the following biblical verses and found in one verse as a metaphor:
43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what time the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and not let his house be broken into. – Matthew 24:43, TLV
2 For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night. – 1 Thessalonians 5:2, TLV
4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the dark, so that the Day might overtake you like a thief. – 1 Thessalonians 5:4, TLV
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements will melt and disintegrate, and the earth and everything done on it shall be exposed. – 2 Peter 3:10, TLV
3 So remember what you have received and heard—keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you. – Revelation 3:3, TLV
15 “Behold, I am coming like a thief! How fortunate is the one who stays alert and keeps his clothes on, lest he walk around naked and they see his shamefulness.” – Revelation 16:15, TLV
It is in an Olivet Discourse’s mini-parable that Yeshua also compares His Overcomers to a collective Goodman who actually not only is prepared for the Thief but also watches for Him. Once again, Yeshua’s Overcomers are the righteous believers He is coming to get so that He can TAKE them with Him to a safe place before YeHoVaH pours out His Wrath and Judgment upon the entire earth for the very last time.
Now, right before the Goodman mini-parable (see Matthew 24:43-44), Yeshua describes the pre-Tribulation Rapture in two mini-parables. The Lord teaches about an individual who is working in the field and about a person who is grinding at the mill who are TAKEN by Him, while the second field worker and the second grain grinder are left behind (see Matthew 24:40-42). A similar pre-Tribulation Rapture description is also in Luke 17:34. In this mini-parable, Yeshua teaches about one of the two who are in bed is TAKEN, and the other is left behind. This mini-parable in Luke 17 is followed by the mini-parables about the two field workers and, in some translations, the two grain grinders.
In Matthew 24, the two pre-Tribulation Rapture mini-parables end with a warning to believers to be prepared and to stay alert so that they won’t miss the One who comes for them like a thief in the night (see Matthew 24:42). This warning is then restated as a parabolic statement in the Goodman mini-parable (Matthew 24:43-44). The Goodman (homeowner or master of the house) is robbed by a thief all because the Goodman was neither prepared nor on the lookout for the thief’s unannounced coming and, as a result, was not able to prevent the unfavorable outcomes – his house broken into, and his possessions stolen.
Just like the Lord is using the TAKEN righteous field worker and grain grinder as metaphors for His righteous Vineyard Workers or Overcomers, He also is comparing, by contrasting, the Goodman metaphor to His righteous Overcomers – His truly righteous believers. The bottom line is this: Yeshua’s parabolic statement in the Goodman mini-parable is that His Overcomers must stay prepared and stay alert because none of them knows the precise hour when Yeshua will return. In other words, Yeshua’s parabolic statement explains, by contrasting the Goodman in the mini-parable with the righteous Overcomes in the two preceding mini-parables, how serious Yeshua is about His righteous Overcomes being ready/prepared and staying alert so that they will not miss meeting Him in the air when He returns for them.
Now, while the Greek language has different meanings for the verbs to “take” and to “receive,” and these different meanings have different Greek verbs, the Greek verb paralambano is the same to TAKE verb that is used in John 14:3 (“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to Myself, so that where I am you may also be”), in Matthew 24:40 (“Then two men will be in the field, one taken and one left”), in Matthew 24:41 (“Two women will be grinding at the mill, one taken and one left”), and in Luke 17:34 (“I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken along and the other left”). In all four of these verses, paralambano means that the individuals who are TAKEN (snatched away/caught up) are Yeshua’s Overcomers who are saved from YeHoVaH’s Wrath or Judgment. Additionally, in all four of these verses, the folks who are left behind are the ones who receive YeHoVaH’s Judgment – His Wrath. In this case, YeHoVaH’s Judgment or Wrath is the seven-year Tribulation Period.
What is important to mention here is that the righteous Overcomers who are TAKEN in Matthew 24:40-41 (also see Luke 17:35-36) are TAKEN during a daylight moment while they are doing daytime jobs. In contrast, the one TAKEN from the bed who is sleeping(Luke 17:34) is TAKEN during a nighttime moment. It should be evident that these referenced Scriptures show how Yeshua has dealt with the issue of different time zones on this earth – some are rapture during the day (daylight time) and some are rapture in the night.
In Luke 17, some manuscripts add the following verse: “There will be two in the field. One will be taken along, and the other left.” – Luke 17:36
Finally, believers in Yeshua can only receive from YeHoVaH that which they believe He will do for them. Put differently, if believers in Yeshua don’t believe it is possible for something to happen; for example, if they have unbelief about what is presented in certain Scriptures about a pre-Tribulation Rapture, then they will not be in the pre-Tribulation Rapture. They can’t receive that part of salvation because they refuse to believe in it.
So, once again, the reasons why so many who say they are saved, born-again believers of Yeshua will miss the pre-Tribulation Rapture are because they will not take to heart the Scriptures that warn them about their need to get prepared, stay ready, and stay alert – keep looking out for Yeshua’s Return – and because they don’t believe in a pre-Tribulation Rapture. Matthew 13:58 says “And He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Romans 11:20 says “True enough. They were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith….” First Timothy 1:13 says, “even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent man. Yet I was shown mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,” but then Paul says in Hebrews 4:6, “So then it remains for some to enter into it; yet those who formerly had Good News proclaimed to them did not enter because of disobedience.” Lastly, Paul in Hebrews 4:11 says “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through the same pattern of disobedience.” The point here is crucial. If Yeshua believers do not believe in the pre-Tribulation Rapture, their unbelief not only prevents them from being raptured before the Tribulation Period begins but also because their unbelief is a form of disobedience they cannot enter into the Shabbat rest.
It should be clear from the above-cited verses that apostle Paul also describes Yeshua believers’ unbelief as disobedience (see also Hebrews 3:18-19). This unbelief and a lack of trust/faith prevent unrighteous unbelieving believers from entering into eternal rest. Their kind of unbelief is the same as the unbelief that caused many Israelites to perish in the wilderness – to never see the Promised Land. In comparison, just like the unrighteous unbelieving Israelites couldn’t enter the Promised Land of Israel, Yeshua believers with unbelief won’t be able to enter into the Shabbat rest with Yeshua in Heaven (the Promised Land for believers in Yeshua) – see Hebrews 4:9, and see Hebrews 4:1-2). All believers in Yeshua must be Overcomers in order to receive Overcomers’ promises, but they will never be Overcomers if they have any bit of unbelief.
To be sure, not believing that a pre-Tribulation Rapture will happen is indeed unbelief. This unbelief is also the same kind of unbelief that prevented Yeshua from doing any miracles in His hometown synagogue. It is also the kind of unbelief that will prevent Yeshua from TAKING the unrighteous unbelieving believers during the pre-Tribulation Rapture – the only rapture event that no one will know or be able to figure out the day or the hour of Yeshua’s Return.
Any raptures that happen during the Tribulation won’t be hard to figure out, as the Scriptures mention Raptures happening at a particular time during and after the seven-year Tribulation. Therefore, neither the mid-Tribulation nor the post-Tribulation Rapture will happen secretly, so Yeshua will not be returning like a thief in the night for those raptures.
If Yeshua believers think that a pre-Tribulation Rapture is hooey, then they will not be TAKEN (caught-up) in it. Furthermore, their unbelief in a pre-Tribulation Rapture is a form of disobedience, so they also may not enter into Yeshua’s Shabbat rest. It will depend on whether they are able to renew their minds to righteous thinking during the Tribulation Period.
1-2 Note well: God’s
Judgment Day is on the way:
“Plunder will be piled high and handed out.
I’m bringing all the godless nations
to war against Jerusalem—
Half the city taken into exile,
the other half left behind.”
then God will march out
against the godless nations and fight—a great war! That’s the Day he’ll take
his stand on the Mount of Olives, facing Jerusalem from the east. The Mount of
Olives will be split right down the middle, from east to west, leaving a wide
valley. Half the mountain will shift north, the other half south. Then you will
run for your lives down the valley, your escape route that will take you all
the way to Azal. You’ll run for your lives, just as you ran on the day of the
great earthquake in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah. Then my God will arrive and all the holy
angels with him. – Zechariah 14:1-5, MSG
A White Horse and Its Rider
11-16 Then I saw Heaven open wide—and oh! a
white horse and its Rider. The Rider, named Faithful and True, judges and makes
war in pure righteousness. His eyes are a blaze of fire, on his head many
crowns. He has a Name inscribed that’s known only to himself. He is dressed in
a robe soaked with blood, and he is addressed as “Word of God.” The armies of
Heaven, mounted on white horses and dressed in dazzling white linen, follow
him. A sharp sword comes out of his mouth so he can subdue the nations, then
rule them with a rod of iron. He treads the winepress of the raging wrath of
God, the Sovereign-Strong. On his robe and thigh is written, King of kings, Lord of lords. – Revelation
51-52 But let me tell you
something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not
all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end
all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your
eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up
and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the
same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. – 1 Corinthians15:51-52, MSG
15-18 And then this: We can tell you with complete confidence—we
have the Master’s word on it—that when the Master comes again to get us, those
of us who are still alive will not get a jump on the dead and leave them
behind. In actual fact, they’ll be ahead of us. The Master himself will give
the command. Archangel thunder! God’s trumpet blast! He’ll come down from
heaven and the dead in Christ will rise—they’ll go first. Then the rest of us
who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to
meet the Master. Oh, we’ll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge
family reunion with the Master. So reassure one another with these words.
Thessalonians 4:15-18, MSG
1-3 I don’t think, friends, that I need to deal with the question of when all this is going to happen. You know as well as I that the day of the Master’s coming can’t be posted on our calendars. He won’t call ahead and make an appointment any more than a burglar would. About the time everybody’s walking around complacently, congratulating each other—“We’ve sure got it made! Now we can take it easy!”—suddenly everything will fall apart. It’s going to come as suddenly and inescapably as birth pangs to a pregnant woman. – 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, MSG
after three and a half days, the Living Spirit of God will enter them—they’re
on their feet!—and all those gloating spectators will be scared to death.”
12I heard a
strong voice out of Heaven calling, “Come up here!” and up they went to Heaven,
wrapped in a cloud, their enemies watching it all. – Revelation
6 “In the
middle of the night someone yelled out, ‘He’s here! The bride-groom’s here! Go
out and greet him!’
7-8 “The ten
virgins got up and got their lamps ready. The silly virgins said to the smart
ones, ‘Our lamps are going out; lend us some of your oil.’
answered, ‘There might not be enough to go around; go buy your own.’
10 “They did, but while they were out buying oil, the bridegroom arrived. When everyone who was there to greet him had gone into the wedding feast, the door was locked. – Matthew 25:6-10, MSG
Recently, I have been reading several Facebook postings in which some “Christians” declare that the prophesied pre-Tribulation (pre-Trib) Rapture of Christ’s saints (the Bride of Christ) will not be done secretly. These “Christians” claim that every eye will see this Rapture. Now, while many people in the Tribulation may see the mid-Tribulation (mid-Trib) Rapture of the two witnesses who were killed and resurrected from the dead (see Revelation 11:11-12), the mid-Trib Rapture is neither the same as the pre-Trib Rapture of Christ’s Bride (the overcomers/saints) nor the Second Advent (Christ’s prophesied Second Coming).
Christ’s Second Advent (His
Second Coming) happens when His feet touch down on the Mount of Olives and it
splits (see Zechariah 14:4). Every eye will see Him, as Christ returns
to earth with His saints/overcomers (see Revelation 1:7, Revelation
19:11-16). He comes back to bring judgment – God’s poured out Wrath – for those
who have rejected Him (Christ) as their Savior.
This Second-Coming event is
NOT the same as the pre-Trib Rapture of Christ’s Bride (saints/overcomers)
event. Scripture clearly states that during the pre-Trib Rapture – when the
Bride is caught up/taken up in the air (raptured) – Christ (the Bridegroom)
meets His Bride in the air and on a cloud (see 1 Corinthians 15:51-52,
Thessalonians 4:15-18, Matthew 25:6-10).
This pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Bride of Christ (when the dead in Christ
and those who are alive at the time the Bridegroom comes for His Bride are
removed off this earth) is imminent – can happen at any time – and it will happen
in secret because He will come for them like a thief in the night (see 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3). In contrast, His Second
Advent (Christ’s Second Coming) happens near the end of the seven-year
Tribulation, and every person who is alive on earth at the time of Christ’s second
bodily return will see Him coming with His Host of saints.
Once again, The pre-Trib Rapture is the event in which Christ returns to the earth but stays in the air and on a cloud. He will return, at that time and in that manner, because He will be fulfilling God’s Promise to remove all His saints/overcomers from the earth before Father God’s Wrath (the Tribulation Period) begins to pour out on the earth. The Second Coming (the Second Advent) is the event in which Christ returns to the earth (with the clouds – with His Host of raptured saints/the armies of Heaven). Christ will return to earth, at that time and in that manner, because He will be fulling God’s Promise to send the Lion of Judah to the Hebrews/Jewish people. Christ, as the Lion of Judah, will be bringing the Tribulation Period to an end by defeating the Antichrist and his evil world empire in the Battle of Armageddon.
Selah (pause and calmly
think about that). Shalom . . . .
The Master himself will give the command. Archangel
thunder! God’s trumpet blast! He’ll come down from heaven and the dead in
Christ will rise—they’ll go first. Then the rest of us who are still alive at
the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh,
we’ll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with
the Master. So reassure one another with these words. – 1 Thessalonians
…To the one who overcomes I will give access to feast on
the fruit of the Tree of Life that is found in the paradise of God. – Revelation
…To everyone who is victorious I will let him
feast on the hidden manna and give him a shining white
stone. And written upon the white stone is inscribed his new name, known only to
the one who receives it. – Revelation 2:17, TPT
To everyone who is victorious and continues to do my works to
the very end I will give you authority over the nations – Revelation 2:26,
And the one who experiences victory will be
dressed in white robes and I will never, no never erase your name from the Book
of Life. I will acknowledge your name before my Father and his angels. –
Revelation 3:5, TPT
For the one who is
victorious, I will make you to be a pillar in the sanctuary of my God, permanently secure. I will write on you the name
of my God and the name of the city of my God—the New Jerusalem, descending from
my God out of heaven. And I’ll write my own name on you. – Revelation 3:12, TPT
And to the one who conquers I will give the privilege of
sitting with me on my throne, just as I conquered and sat down with my Father
on his throne. – Revelation 3:21, TPT
The Bride of Christ (the
collective Body of His Saints) is the prophesied Barley Harvest of Overcomers (Victorious
Conquerors) – the glorified firstfruits who are raptured before the Tribulation
The Non-overcoming Carnal
Believers are the Tribulation Period’s Wheat because they resemble Tares. These
Wheat believers are the ones whohave not cooperated with the Holy Spirit’s sanctification process (have
not allowed Him to gradually change them into the image of Christ).
Prophetically speaking, the Barley Harvest represents the first of God’s three end-time Harvests and, thus, part of the first resurrection. The Scripture refers to these saints as “overcomers.” Additionally, God’s first three feast days – Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits – spiritually represent the three stages of salvation: 1. justification (Passover), 2. sanctification (Unleavened Bread), and 3. glorification (First Fruits). Just as Jesus Christ was the first holy and saintly Barley Harvest Overcomer to be resurrected from the dead as the Barley First Fruits of the greater Barley Harvest to come, the Bride of Christ also represents the rest of the holy and saintly Barley Harvest of Overcomers.
It is written that only Christ’s
holy and saintly overcomers – the spiritually mature believes who are transformed
into the image of Christ – will either be resurrected from the dead as part of the
first resurrection or raptured alive BOTH happening during the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
These are the saints who will rule and reign on the earth during Jesus Christ’s
millennial reign. Please note that no matter if God is speaking literally or figuratively,
it also is written that the Barley Overcomers (symbolizing the barley grain
that always is planted AFTER the Wheat) is always harvested before the Wheat.
The natural (physical)
and spiritual orders of the grain harvests are why the Wheat Harvest represents
“carnal believers who today are mostly ‘Christian’ churchgoers.” These carnal believers
are the end-time gathered Gentile nations. Indeed, Christ’s Gospels’ description
of the gathered nations is a picture of God’s Wheat Harvest (see Matthew
25:32, Mark 13:27). It is written that all nations will come to know the
Lord and serve Him.
This second harvest speaks of those believers who were justified by faith, but either they did not go through or did not submit to the Holy Spirit’s sanctification process. Many of these carnal believers will also be first resurrection believers, but just barely. They will be saved but have the smell of smoke on them. Furthermore, the alive end-time Wheat (carnal) believers will need to be shifted like wheat in order to become fully sanctified so that they can wear God’s Divine Nature and Character (be glorified). Unfortunately, they will be the beheaded Tribulation martyrs.
Carnal believers who are Wheat still have some rebellion or lawlessness in
their lives that must be purged by the Fire of God (the Holy Spirit). The only
way for this purging to happen is for this Wheat to be exposed to the Antichrist’s
wrath during the prophesied end-time Tribulation. The believers who are part of
the Wheat Harvest will be brought forth in the second resurrection (Tribulation
Period’s Rapture) to be glorified “ yet so as through fire.” The apostle Paul
Remember, there is only one foundation, the one
already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building
materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or
inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and
rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine;
if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely.
– 1 Corinthians 3:11-15, MSG
If Christ’s believers are not saintly overcomers – victorious
over the flesh, the world, and the devil – they are
not Christ’s Barley Bride. It is only with the aid of the Holy Spirit that
saints who become overcomers are able to control their flesh, conquer the
corrupt world systems, and defeat God’s enemy the Devil. Selah (pause and
calmly think about that)!
NOTE: God established that three of His seven commanded appointed times (feast days) would be associated with two different grain harvests and one fruit of the vine harvest that took place annually in Israel. The barley grain ripens first around the time of First Fruits, the wheat grain ripens later around the time of Pentecost, and the grapes from the vine ripen last just prior to the feast of Tabernacles. Moreover, God established that these three crops (barley, wheat, and grapes) would also depict, spiritually speaking, three classes of people. The Barley represents the holy and saintly overcomers, the Wheat represents the carnal believers, and the Grapes mostly represent the unsaved unbelievers.
…I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’ ~ Revelation 21:2-4, NASB
In the above verses, the apostle John describes overcomers’ heavenly state of existence that is achieved only by Christ’s true Bride, who figuratively (metaphorically) is depicted as the New Jerusalem. However, what too many believers fail to understand is that Christ’s Bride is both the New Jerusalem—the place where She will live—and Christ’s adorned Wife who is without spot or blemish.
Biblically speaking, very often a people and a place are presented as interchangeable. When we consider everything the Word of God says about Christ’s Bride, it becomes obvious that who and what the Holy Spirit inspired apostle John to describe in the above verses is the collective Bride of Christ who is the New Jerusalem, as well as the saints who emanate the eternal features of The Father’s glorious and holy heavenly city. In other words, Christ’s Bride is a sacred place and a sacred people.
Because the whole Word of God depicts the Bride of Christ as both a place and a people, it is time for all believers in Christ not only to comprehend but also to accept the following truths that rarely are taught or preached in modern-day churches. These untaught and unpreached truths, which by no means are all-inclusive, are as follows:
ONLY overcomers are saved AND sanctified reborn believers who conquer the flesh, the world’s systems, and Satan (see 1 John 2:15-17 and 1 John 4:1-4 [present world-system], Romans 7:15-25 and Ephesians 2:1-3 [desires of the flesh], 1 Peter 5:8 and James 4:7-10 [Satan]). Put differently, only true believers in Christ—in whom the Holy Spirit lives, fills (baptizes), and is sanctifying—will be the successful overcomers spoken about in the Word of God. The reason this entire statement is true is because all believers in Christ are promised eternal life BUT believing is more than giving intellectual assent to His Existence or His Redemptive Work. Believing also means Christ’s Ekklesia (His One Body of Believers or One Community of Faith Believers) is His collective Bride who uses everything He gave to Her to help Her become His saintly Overcomers. That is why the Word of God describes Christ’s saintly Overcomers as follows:
Overcomers are the saintly believers who receive the right to eat from the Tree of Life in God’s Paradise (Revelation 2:7).
Overcomers are the saintly believers who don’t receive the second death or Lake of Fire final judgment (Revelation 2:11).
Overcomers are the saintly believers who receive some of the hidden manna (Revelation 2:17).
Overcomers are the saintly believers who receive a white stone on which their new names are written—names only overcomers know (Revelation 2:17).
Overcomers are the saintly believers who do deeds that please Christ until the end. They receive authority and power to rule over the nations with Christ (Revelation 2:26).
Overcomers are the saintly believers whose deeds please Christ until the end. They are the ones who also receive the morning star (Revelation 2:28).
Overcomers are the saintly believers who receive white garments, and they are the ones whose names are never erased from The Book of Life (Revelation 3:5).
Overcomers are the saintly believers whose names Christ confesses before Father God and before His angels (Revelation 3:5).
Overcomers are the saintly believers who become pillars in God’s Temple on which Christ writes The Father’s Name and His new Name (Revelation 3:12).
Overcomers are the saintly believers who receive the right to sit with Christ on His Throne (Revelation 3:21).
Overcomers are the saintly believers who inherit a world free of sin, diseases, pain, crying, and mourning. They are God’s people whom He lives among (Revelation 21:3-4).
By now, it should be evident that believers who call themselves Christians, Christ followers, and so on, but are not seeking to obtain the abovementioned overcomers’ heavenly state of existence will not receive everything Christ’s saintly Overcomers are promised. If believers, the ones who call themselves Christians, Christ followers, and so on, are not transforming into The Bride of Christ whose daily saintly living consistently resembles Christ’s lifestyle, they will not receive everything Christ’s saintly Overcomers are promised.
Put differently, ordinary believers—people who are saved, reborn, and justified but who have not, with the help of the Holy Spirit’s progressive sanctification process, conquered the flesh, the world’s systems, and Satan (which are overcomers’ righteous deeds that please Christ)—will not become Christ’s saintly Bride who is adorned for Him (The Bridegroom). Instead, they will be the end-time Tribulation’s surviving Wheat who do not receive glorified bodies.
As the end-time Tribulation’s surviving Wheat, these ordinary believers will not be Christ’s saintly Overcomers who are able to eat the fruit from The Tree of Life. They also will never wear white garments, never receive any manna, never receive their individual white stone upon which each overcomer’s new name is written, never sit with Christ in His Throne, never reign with Christ, never have their names confessed before Father God and His angels, never become pillars, never inherit an uncorrupted everlasting world, and never will always be in Father God’s Presence.
A word to the wise should be sufficient. Shalom . . . . .
Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. ~ Romans 5:6-8, MSG
Looking back can be intimidating, Frightening, discouraging, but the Same is true about looking forward; Since alive in Christ believers get to Start over let’s be ready to face what Lies ahead with high heads, high spirits, High hopes for a victorious life that Overcomes the world, Devil, flesh—a Life that matures spiritually in this New Year.
Stay in the Word of God, stay filled With the Holy Spirit, stay surrendered, Obedient, faithful, and loving children Who trust in the Father for strength, for Power, for authority, for peace, for grace, For the fulfillment of allpromises He says He will do for all Christ followers in this New Year.
Each New Year the Father lets us see is Him sharing His Gift that keeps on giving Us refreshed lives filled with new hope; So, let us press forward grateful for this Chance to become everything He intends For us to be in Christ, settling for nothing Less than courageously, powerfully, godly Living to the fullest the lives He blessed us To have at such a time as this—that’s best Way to thank Him for letting us see this New Year.
They then who had been scattered abroad through the tribulation that took place on the occasion of Stephen, passed through [the country] to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one but to Jews alone. But there were certain of them, Cyprians and Cyrenians, who entering into Antioch spoke to the Greeks also, announcing the glad tidings of the Lord Jesus. And [the] Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. And the report concerning them reached the ears of the assembly which was in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go through as far as Antioch: who, having arrived and seeing the grace of God, rejoiced, and exhorted all with purpose of heart to abidewith the Lord; for he was a good man and full of [the] Holy Spirit and of faith; and a large crowd [of people] were added to the Lord. And he went away to Tarsus to seek out Saul. And having found [him], he brought him to Antioch. And so it was with them that for a whole year they were gathered together in the assembly and taught a large crowd: and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. ~ Acts 11:19-26, DARBY
“Christianity” developed from beliefs that are based on far too many commandments of men taught as doctrines and from the traditions of men that have pagan roots. These reasons are why “Christianity” always has been a dinosaur, which means “Christianity” is and always has been outdated—useless to Christ’s true saints. For the 21st century’s genuine followers of Christ, “Christianity” as an organized religion is, and always has been since its inception (313 A.D., when Emperor Constantine declared “Christianity” the religion of the Roman Empire), an undesirable religion, as well as why the word “Christian” is and always has been an offensive moniker. Since 313 A.D., so many pagan traditions and doctrines have been passed down by The Roman Catholic Church as true and appropriate “Christian” beliefs and practices, including the Christianized belief that claims the word “Christian” is a person who believes in and practices “Christianity.”
The above-stated truths and facts about “Christianity”—a term that is neither indirectly suggested to be the religion of followers of Christ nor directly stated as the religion of followers of Christ. Indeed, the word “Christianity” isn’t even in the New Testament. Moreover, it is the misinterpretations of Christ and His apostles’ first-century teachings and preachings that have so many 21st-century followers of Christ choosing not to adapt to, to surrender to, or to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and His spiritual changes—His sanctification process or progressive transformation—that God says in His Word believers in Christ must undergo so that they might become Christlike. Everything that Christ and His apostles preached and taught is not being preached and taught correctly, if at all, in most of today’s Catholic and Protestants church buildings. They preached and taught about Kingdom of God living; being born again; salvation only in Christ; Christ the ONLY Way; progressive sanctification; godly holiness; the saints as overcomers; the saints, the brethren, and/or the disciples in the assemblies (eklessiae, NOT churches); being baptized with Holy Spirit and Fire; and so forth. Furthermore, apostle Paul addresses his epistles to the saints, the brethren, or the disciples in the assemblies (eklessiae)—not to any “Christians” who practice “Christianity.”
Yet today, in place of what Christ and His apostles preach and teach in the New Testament, what most churchgoers hear from the pulpits is some man-developed religious doctrines and traditions that most pastors are passing off as “Christianity” (an organized man-made religion that, as already mentioned, began with The Roman Catholic Church). As a result, members who attend said pastors’ churches have been practicing “Christianity,” or as I prefer to call it, Churchianity (a word C. S. Lewis coined). My point here is that “Christianity” and Churchianity neither represents the Holy Kingdom of God living nor represents baptized with the Holy Spirit and Fire Christlikeness. It “Christianity” or Churchianity that has been taught to modern-day “Christians”—people who say they are born again, saved, and filled with the Holy Spirit when they really are just people who personify the leafy yet barren fig tree Christ withered from its roots.
Most “Christians” today continue to overlook the fact that the word “Christianity” cannot be found anywhere in the Word of God. Moreover, they continue to overlook another fact, which is that neither Christ’s apostles nor the first-century believers in Christ called themselves “Christians.” Christ’s first-century apostles and all the other believers in Christ called themselves “the disciples,” “the brethren,” “the saints,” “the elect,” “the believers,” and “those of the Way.”
The “Christian” label/nickname originated with the pagans who lived in Antioch of Syria. These pagans first called followers of Christ “Christians,” right after many Gentiles in Antioch converted to the Way and were vocal about their conversion. Many sources tell how, in the beginning, “Christian” was a derogatory pagan word—a sarcastic, mocking, irreverent, and contemptuous pagan term. There, indeed, are more than enough trustworthy sources that were written in or close to the first century that verify “Christian” was the derisive term pagans used to describe Christ’s Disciples.
For sure, “Christian,” as a derisive and an offensive term, is used three times in the Holy Bible (cf. Acts 11:26b; Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). The apostle Peter references the apparent derisive and offensive nature of the word “Christian” in 1 Peter 4:16. There can be no doubt that apostle Peter knew “Christian” was a snide, scornful, disrespectful, insulting, and demeaning pagan term, even though “Christian” has Christ in it. What apostle Peter is doing in 1 Peter 4:16 is encouraging believers in Christ to wear the derogatory and hurtful term “Christian” like a badge of honor—to count it worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake and to God’s Glory, rather than to be made to feel ashamed for suffering as a “Christian,” which was the name of and a people who belonged to Christ whose name the pagans were blaspheming when they mocked and insulted “Christians.” For sure, to the pagans, being a “Christian” was worse than being a murderer, a thief, or an evil criminal (cf. 1 Peter 4:15)
Still, the truth is that neither Christ nor any of His Disciples/apostles declared or implied that believers in Christ are called to be “Christians.” Then too, neither Christ nor any of His Disciples/apostles declared or implied that believers in Christ are called to practice “Christianity.” Indeed, all throughout the New Testament, the words Christ and/or His Disciples use hundreds of times, collectively speaking, are “disciples,” “brethren,” and “saints,” In contrast, as previously mentioned, “Christian” only is used three times—twice in Acts and once in 1 Peter.
Years later, Roman followers of Christ began to call themselves, in Latin, Christiani, which was pronounced Chrestiani and meant they were followers of Chrestus. It is evident that Christiani was a pun that Romans used to give the Christian epithet a new and sweeter significance. Indeed, saying they were followers of Chrestus was the same as saying they were followers of the merciful one; the upright servant. That gave Roman believers in Christ a sense of pride. They were honored to be associated with and/or to suffer for Chrestus.
Over time, in the Roman Empire, “Christian” was considered to be a more splendid and appropriate name than how it originally was used. In other words, the scornful nickname had now become a respectable name. They were honored to have been given the occasion of their persecution and/or death. That occasion was because they were “Christians.”
Nevertheless, since the first-century followers of Christ not only never called themselves “Christians” but also actually went out of their way to avoid speaking that word and constantly declared they were not “Christians,” then we who are 21st-century followers of Christ should do the same. No justified play on words can change what the first-century believers knew was a contemptuous epithet. No men or women, priests/bishops or pastors/bishops, no organized Church, and no organized religion can tell Christ’s Ekklesia or Bride who or what She should call Herself. He and His first-century Disciples turned Apostles called all followers of Christ disciples, saints, brethren, elect, overcomers, believers, and/or those of the Way.
Finally, just as the first-century pagans used the “Christian” epithet, when they were mocking followers of Christ, the “Christian” moniker also is used to mock 21st-century followers of Christ. Thus, all believers in Christ who call themselves “Christians” need to stop calling themselves Christians and, instead, call themselves disciples, saints, brethren, elect, overcomers, believers, and/or followers of the Way. Likewise, all believers in Christ who claim “Christianity” as their religion, faith, or belief should stop and, instead, claim to be in a relationship with God and Christ.