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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

. . . . . . . . . .When the Seals are Opened:

Kay Frances Graves

Word of the Most High God
Historical Scholars

This is a warning from the Word of God--something required to avoid deception--something to remember as worldly events unfold.

The spiritually mandatory question Holy Scripture presents is this:  "Are we able to remember the foundation which the Most High God has provided in order to correctly understand history, so we might also correctly understand current events?"

Remember this.
and shew yourselves men:
bring it again to mind,
O ye transgressors.
-Isaiah 46:8

Because humans, by nature are transgressors--transgressing the Word and Will of God--and tend to go down the wrong road, He tells us in this verse that He has established something especially important to remember.

However, remembering will not be a very pleasant experience.  He intends to shake us from our self-centeredness--our strongest fleshly weakness--in order that our eternal lives may be spared.  He is telling us to stop being cowards, to spiritually "man-up"--to find the courage to think about what He is going to say next, even though it will prick our prideful, inherently sinful nature.

What is so important and yet so painful to remember?  What is it the Creator of the Universe has labeled so imperative?

Remember the former things of old:
for I am God, and there is none else:
I am God, and there is none like me,
-Isaiah 46:9

Here are the four very vital things He commands us to remember in this verse:

1.  Remember the events that have taken place in our own personal history as well as the events that have taken place in world history; because He is the one who created all things, including every aspect of history--which is really "His-Story."

2.  Remember that the Most High God is the only option we really have.  Considering eternal life and our need of a Savior. . .He is IT--all there is.

3.  Remember that the Most High God is like no other god.  He IS preeminent above all other so-called, "gods," which are really only the figments of Satan's wicked imagination projected into the minds of those he has deceived.  Teaching mankind how to steal worship from the true God has always been the priority of the evil one who is merely the (temporary) false "god of this world," whose main desire from the beginning has been to usurp the position of God Almighty.

4.  Remember that God never lies.  He always does everything He says He will do.

Declaring the end from the beginning,
from ancient times 
the things that are not yet done,
My counsel shall stand,
I will do all my pleasure:
-Isaiah 46:10

Here God Almighty, our Creator, establishes that He is the only one qualified to:

1.  declare or speak the Word that is Alpha and Omega, all things from the beginning to the end and vice versa; even the Truth regarding and predicting events that have not yet come to pass.

2.  provide mankind with an absolute, everlasting foundation with which to interpret end times.  He will definitely do all that He has said He will do.

God's counsel/instruction will stand the test of time and in the end we will see that He has done everything according to His perfect will.

So where do some professing "experts" of history stray from this foundation God has provided?

This Word of God targets scholars, that for the most part, have been seeing historical interpretations, regarding the beginning and the end, as being all inclusive and have failed to remember that the Holy Bible is not like any other book on the shelf. . .just as they have failed to remember that the Author of the Bible is not like any other so-called, "god."

With the exception of a few extraordinary believers throughout history, most "scholars" have strayed from the Word of God to follow the opinions of men instead of considering God's method of "generational application and interpretation."

They imagined that early Christians were spiritual giants--somehow scripturally superior to those who came after them and for this reason; God must have bestowed upon them the only correct interpretation of the Word of God.  Therefore they erroneously conclude that we should spend our time studying the opinions and interpretations of early Christians and reject any present day promptings of the Holy Spirit that would motivate us to expand the interpretation to include our present circumstances.  This, of course, goes directly against Acts 2:17:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God,
I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh:
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams: 

The correct definition of the word, "prophesy," means "to interpret and further expound the Word of God."

However, the Scriptures warn that this does not leave room for any "private interpretation" which would change the established fundamental Truth of the Word--so how does legitimate generational interpretation and application take place?

Prophesying takes place as the existing written Word of God is synchronized and applied to events in end times through inspiration, preaching, writing, visions, and dreams.  This is not the same inspiration God gave when the original Scriptures were written, but the inspiration residing in His already established Word, which every genuine believer is granted by the power of the Holy Spirit, who leads us into all Truth, when we are born-again by the Spirit of God.  (See John Chapter 3.)

Inspiration, preaching, and writing are a result of the Holy Spirit, working in the hearts and minds of His people as He magnifies certain portions of His written Word and applies it to the events in their lives as well as the events they are observing in the world around them at that specific time in history.

Visions and dreams are a result of the Holy Spirit working in the hearts and minds of His people in the same manner, except the specific message is usually given to them via the Word stored in their hearts, usually through the use of symbolism when their mind is at rest and not engaged in the type of conscious thought one experiences as he goes about his daily work and activity, but his heart and spirit are free to focus on the Word alone.  This has nothing to do with mysticism nor initiated by the person in any way, but the Spirit of God comes upon the person only as God wills.

(Warning:  Trying to conjure up a vision or dream in any way, is to leave yourself open to harmful spirits.)

God may reveal something regarding a significant event at the moment it is happening on the other side of the globe or even an event that will take place years into the future and the interpretation of the vision can often take time to completely understand.  It is something that we can instantly understand or it can return to our remembrance now and then to be explained after the fact with hind-sight, perhaps when we have acquired additional information from the Word or after further current events unfold.

Inspiration, visions, and dreams may also be used to prepare us or warn us regarding something important that we may be overlooking in our personal life.

True prophesying will never contradict the written Word of God.

These are the methods God has always used, right from the very beginning, to impress His Word and Will upon the hearts of those who belong to Him as well as those He is in the process of calling unto Himself.  Yes, there are many false "prophets," some of whom may be deceived themselves.  These will be the ones proclaiming another Gospel and a corrupted Word inspired by the devil to deceive others.

Nevertheless, all is well.  Because God's people are diligent students of His Word and dedicated to following Him, Jesus has promised that genuine "hot" (as opposed to "cold" or "lukewarm") believers will not be deceived.  He is keeping us safe through the power of His Word and His Spirit.  We will know the Truth and Truth will keep us free from the worldwide deception that is coming upon the earth to enslave mankind--deception that has already been working in the world to accomplish these goals.

While it is true that we are not allowed to add to the Word or not allowed to delete anything from the Word, the Spirit of the Word, at the same time, remains perfectly flexible within God's established Truth allowing Him to speak to each generation in the specific manner required to help them continue to function and endure the specific events that are specifically taking place during their specific lifetime, by continuing to provide the faith to be faithful.

The Holy Scriptures are able to present God's identical message to every generation, while layering these truths in a supernaturally, creative way in order to help the reader of any generation identify with the specific message God is giving his own generation.  In order for this to take place; God has amazingly inspired every Word in a manner that also leaves room to include the changes that will occur as His timetable of events unfold over hundreds--even thousands of years--without changing "one jot or one tittle" of the foundational Truth He has established.

The symbolism found in the Book of Revelation is one example of God's unique interpretation being applied to modern technology, enabling the last generation to successfully identify the specifically unique time in which they will be living.  

In the 1800s, Christians were not able to completely identify what the Apostle John wrote in the Book of Revelation, because the type of technology John was seeing had not yet been invented.  In fact, John himself could not identify it--all he could do is describe what God was showing him.  So to cling to every interpretation of the 1800s would be to bring about misinterpretations today. . .which it certainly has done.

Where else will we find this principle of "generational interpretation" validated in the Word of God?

Another place we find this validation is in the Prophet Daniel's vision in the 10th through the 12th chapters of the Book of Daniel.  The angel sent from God, shows Daniel many future events, then instructs Daniel in this way:

But thou, O Daniel,
shut up the words, and seal the book,
even to the time of the end:
many shall run to and fro,
knowledge shall be increased.
-Daniel 12:4

In this verse, God establishes how this specific generational interpretation will be revealed:

1.  God does not reveal everything to everyone at the same time.  He has appointed times of revelation--even for those as close to God as Daniel.  Therefore the book is sealed until the end, when this Word can be correctly applied to the events taking place at His appointed time.

2.  The details of Daniel's vision were especially pertinent to end times, yet through these Words, all believers who would ever read these Words, were being given enough information so they would be able to watch, pray, and carefully consider whether their generation could be the last generation.

3.  Speed, involving two signs/functions of mankind, would be the theme of the last generation.

     1) One of the signs of end times and the appointed revelation of this information will coincide with an unprecedented increase in travel from one place to another in a heretofore unheard of extraordinarily short period of time. 

     2)  Another sign of end times and the revelation of this information will be an obvious increase--and easily accessible compilation--of knowledge--knowledge of good--of God and His Word, as well as knowledge of evil.  Interesting that in end times, this issue regarding the knowledge of good and evil will revisit the earth in God's "Alpha and Omega" style to complete the circle, taking us right back to the Garden of Eden to show us that humans definitely have not evolved into something better.  They are, for the most part, still rejecting God's Word (Jesus the Living Word as well as the written Word), "de-volving," embracing the old lies of satan, and bent on their own self-destruction.

Today we see all of these signs (and countless others throughout Scripture and in our present life experience) being fulfilled.

". . .yea, let God be true, but every man a liar;
as it is written,
That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings,
and mightest overcome when thou are judged."
-Romans 3:4

Whom are we to trust, then?  What saith the Word of the Lord?

Should we trust "biblical historians"--mere finite men?--or should we put our trust in the God-breathed, Spirit-filled, written Word of God?

This will be an easy decision for the comparatively few who genuinely know Christ, but in Matthew 24, in describing the "broad road," Jesus reveals that most people will pridefully prefer to gratify the flesh and walk among the dazed and confused majority on the broad road--following the opinions of men--instead of the preeminence of Christ and the very narrow specifics of His Word and Will which challenge us to go against our own selfish desires and worldly attachments.

The broad road is filled with many that choose to let the devil make fools of them through their spiritual ignorance, their rejection of any real Truth or life-saving instruction from the Word of God; then spend their remaining years trying to learn how to modify their behavior in an attempt to invent a new persona and to somehow cover their ignorance with a false, all-knowing, confident, superior attitude.  However, after rejecting the love and salvation of the Lord of lords, this theatrical performance will quickly disintegrate as soon as they are faced with the harsh realities of what lies ahead.   

Therefore, God's Word is sounding the alarm today--in this specific generation--commanding us to wake up and remember that Jesus Christ is preeminent.  Because He is God, He is the only one worthy of our worship and trust.  He is the only one worthy to open the seals because He alone is able to give us the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth. . .because Jesus IS the Truth.

. . .Furthermore, He alone is the only one we can trust to have our best interest at heart, because He alone IS love in its purest form.
(". . .God IS love. . ." 1 John 4:8b).

Why is it so important to understand end times?

Those who are able to see and understand the signs will be able to identify themselves as the last generation.  They will be the same ones motivated to continue watching for the multitude of other signs God has promised to give--signs designed to encourage us to pray and spiritually prepare for the day Christ will rescue us from the wrath to come. . .to help us avoid being deceived, to assure that we are spiritually prepared and not clinging to any false "gods," idols, doctrines, or other things of this world.

Be watchful,
strengthen the things which remain,
that are ready to die:
for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard,
hold fast, and repent.
thou shalt not watch
I will come on thee as a thief,
thou shalt not know what hour
I will come upon thee.
-Revelation 3:2-3

IF we are spiritually awake and watching, we will know the hour--what time it is on God's eternal clock--and will, therefore, not be overtaken like some ignorant, careless, lazy sleepyhead, falling victim to a thief in the night.

I know thy works,
that thou art neither cold nor hot:
I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm,
and neither cold nor hot,
I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods,
and have need of nothing;
and knowest not
that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor,
and blind and naked:
-Revelation 3:15-17

Watch ye therefore, and pray always,
that ye may be accounted worthy to escape
all these things that shall come to pass,
to stand before the Son of man.
-Luke 21:36

God has lovingly provided a way of escape.  He is the only one totally committed and able to help those who have no help.  (Psalm 22:11).

To be counted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, scroll to the top of the page and click on the gift wrapped in gold.  At this very moment, repent and ask God for forgiveness for transgressing His Word and Will, commit yourself to following the Living Word, Jesus Christ and the Written Word, the Holy Bible--(KJV recommended).  Then thank God for writing your name in the Lamb's Book of Life for eternity.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

. . . . . Preparing the Bride. . .The Ten Virgins:

Finding Absolute Assurance of Eternal Life
Kay Frances Graves

Matthew 25:
(1) Then shall the kingdom of heaven
be likened unto ten virgins,
which took their lamps, and went forth
to meet the bridegroom.

The parable of the Ten Virgins compares possessing the Kingdom of Heaven, to the Bride preparing to meet the Bridegroom for the greatest event of End Times:  The Marriage Supper of Christ and His Bride--also called "The Marriage Supper of the Lamb." (Revelation 19:9).

Contrary to what many churches now teach, not everyone who thinks or "believes" they are going to enter the Kingdom of Heaven will actually enter therein.  Being convinced in our mind that something is going to happen, will not make it happen.  This is not what Jesus taught regarding genuine "belief" or the type of faith required to inherit the Kingdom.  

Unfortunately "belief" and "faith," like so many other words found in the Scriptures, have been redefined over the years by worldlings who are unable to spiritually focus on the context of the Word of God and therefore become confused by modern, unbiblical definitions of these words.

The type of faith and "belief" required to enter the Kingdom of Heaven involves much more than mental convincing, fuzzy feelings, or even a thorough head-knowledge of the Word of God.  It requires a unique relationship based on the Word of God that testifies to what is actually happening in one's heart--and there will be tangible evidence of this relationship, if it is genuine.

This is the reason Jesus uses marriage as the basic theme of this parable.  When a man and a woman love and trust one another and desire to have an exclusive family relationship, they enter into a morally and legally binding interactive marriage relationship, where they are able to function in the world morally and legally as one unified body/physical structure.

From a distance, Jane Jones can think and "believe" that she is going to become the wife of John Johnson all she wants to, but until they are actually introduced, develop a friendship, and pledge themselves to one another in marriage, Jane Jones will never be Jane Johnson.

When this principle is applied to our relationship as the Bride (believers) to Christ (the Bridegroom), it becomes clear that it is not wishful thinking called "belief" or a giant leap into the dark called "faith" that brings about this exclusive relationship between Christ and His Bride.

We are not all automatically "the children of God" simply because He has created us.  As a result of the fall of humankind in the Garden of Eden, we are all actually headed for hell.  We cannot blame Adam or Eve or anyone else for our sin. 

Blaming others is not going to change our situation.  Humans make choices every day and it is a fact that we choose to sin.  However, instead of sinning our way down the broad road to hell, we have been given a way out of our dilemma.  God has provided that Way through Christ alone.  With the help of God, we can choose to make Christ and His Word preeminent in our life. 

Neither baptism nor membership in a church nor any other religious/humanitarian organization can bring about this exclusive relationship with God.  Only by the grace of God, can we be given an understanding of His Word and the amazing value it has. 

By submitting to that precious Word and the preeminence of Christ, alone, in response to all He has done on our behalf to keep us from the fires of hell, we can therefore be sealed in this relationship by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

When this happens, we are bound to Christ--and similar to an earthly marriage--we then begin to function as one with Him in the world, first of all through a local body of believers and then carrying the message of salvation through the shed blood of Christ throughout the entire world, to those who are waiting to hear what Christ has done for them, so they may also enter into His family.

The virgins went forth.

Jesus tells us in this first verse of Matthew 25, that when the virgins (i.e. unmarried women) "went forth" to meet the Bridegroom, they took their lamps.  So we understand that these virgins are going somewhere to meet the Bridegroom and this journey is going to require the use of lamps.

As we consider this, let us take care not to jump over the steps Jesus establishes to get us from point "A" to point "B" and thereby miss the importance of the details regarding this journey.  The main focus of the story is not about meeting Christ for the first time.  These virgins already know who Christ is and they are waiting to join Him at the Great Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  This parable is about what must happen after they are called, but before they can enter into the Marriage Feast.

The harsh reality is that unless we actually take the steps required to arrive safely to this event, we will not be found among the wise virgins who actually do, one day, enter into the Marriage Feast.  This is the real message Jesus wants us to receive.  He is warning us not to be deceived--we must remember to take something very important with us if we want to safely arrive at our desired destination.

The virgins knew that they would need lamps, so this is what they took when they went forth.  What do the lamps symbolize and why did they need them?
"(104) Through thy precepts I get understanding:  
Therefore I hate every false way.  
(105) Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, 
and a light unto my path"  
-Psalm 119: 104-105

The lamps represent the Word of God and the Word is vital because it contains the light (Holy Spirit) that will show them "the Way."  In other words, it is the Spirit of God that will illuminate the path they are to take, because the Spirit of God resides in the Word of God . . . and Jesus Christ is the "Word" and the "Way."

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14)

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).

These virgins know the value of Christ and His Word.  They know that He is also "the Way" to the Father and the Kingdom of Heaven.  But let us not forget the importance of all Christ is.  He also is "the Truth," as much as He is the Way, for we are only "going forth," if we are following Truth.  And without the Truth, we would never be able to recognize the Way or find the Life God intended us to have now and for eternity.

Today we have a "word-fad" that is reminiscent of this idea of "going forth."  A "word-fad" is some word or phrase that is unnecessary, yet repetitiously used to fill in sentences, until it makes one nauseous and wanting to scream whenever it is heard.  One such word a few years ago was the word, "basic" and "basically."

However, the word-fad phrase right now is: "going forward."  Some use this phrase just to sound trendy and fill in a blank spot in their sentence, but others desire to use it to change our minds about what "going forward" really means.

By hearing this phrase over and over again, they would have us believe that our objective in life is to "go forward" regardless of the cost or without considering where "going forward" is ultimately going to take us.  Certainly the devil, himself, is committed to going forward, trampling anything that gets in the way of his agenda. 

However, just moving forward does not guarantee progress or growth.  If we do not see the Way clearly and are not committed to the reality of Truth, then instead of arriving at the imagined destination of our choosing, we may very likely lose our Life by falling into a pit or off a cliff.

The Only Way

This is the path or "the Way" that will lead the virgins to the Bridegroom and the Kingdom of Heaven where the marriage supper will take place.

Why will the virgins need their lamps to see the path?

This is a most important journey.  The virgins have been called and are now attempting to go forth through a very dark, fallen world full of spiritual as well as physical dangers and pitfalls, to meet the Bridegroom, Jesus, at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  "And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Revelation 19:9) 

But there is a huge difference between being "called," being "chosen," and being "faithful." 

Click here for further info regarding "The Called, and Chosen, and Faithful."

(2) And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

Unfortunately these ten unmarried women are not all the same.  

Five of the virgins are wise, but five of them are foolish.

(3) They that were foolish took their lamps,
and took no oil with them: 

The foolish virgins make a crucial mistake.  They fail to take any oil with them for their lamps.

What good is a lamp, if you don't have any fuel to light the lamp?  If a lamp does not have the specific type of fuel to function as a lamp, these virgins will not be able to follow the Way to the Marriage Feast and will be left in a very dangerous situation, stumbling around in the dark.

. . . And what good is the Word of God (lamp) if it cannot serve its intended purpose?--if it is a rewritten perversion of the Word or if the real Word just sits on the shelf gathering dust?

. . . Or how can one benefit from the Word, if it is read as just another text book, instead of being given preeminence and welcomed into the heart of a person as the actual Word/Voice of the Living God?

Considering this fact, we see how it becomes possible to memorize the Word of God--to thoroughly know what the Word says, without ever really allowing the Word of God to penetrate our heart and engage our life or result in a genuine relationship with Christ.

(4) But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

There are also five wise virgins.  Since wisdom comes from the Word of God, we know that these virgins are wise because they long to hear the sound of the Voice of the One they love.  So they keep recalling everything He has ever done and ever said, meditating on His every Word and action, in order to find the strength and guidance they need to follow the Way He has set before them.

When the Word of God is preeminent and valued, the Holy Spirit, which resides in the Word, will illuminate the Word, providing the correct interpretation so the true Bride of Christ will be prepared to see the path she must follow to meet Him at the Marriage Supper.

One characteristic of wisdom is found in the ability to understand that life is filled with times of famine as well as times of feasting and that it is, therefore, wise to prepare.  "Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth" (Proverbs 27:1).

The wise virgins know that carrying lamps will do them no good unless they remember that their lamp (Word of God) also requires oil/the Spirit of God to light their way, therefore they faithfully pay attention to the details and bring oil for their lamps.

(5) While the bridegroom tarried
they all slumbered and slept.

Jesus Christ will tarry.  He will give us as much time as possible and every opportunity to receive His Word, so one day we can be blessed by living forever in the new home He is presently preparing for those who really love Him.  (John 14:2)

While Christ's arrival is delayed, we find them all sleeping.  There is nothing wrong with resting while they wait, but some of them are not ready and should, no doubt, have been preparing instead of sleeping.

(6) And at midnight there was a cry made,
Behold, the bridegroom cometh; 
go ye out to meet him.

Nevertheless, His coming will not be delayed forever.  One day, very soon, we will hear a cry announcing His return and will be instructed to go forth to meet Him.  Perhaps some of us have already heard the cry and are already preparing to enter into the Marriage Feast.

Trimming the Lamps

(7) Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

When all of the virgins heard the cry, they arose and "trimmed" (Greek #2889) their lamps, meaning that they prepared their lamps and made their lamps ready for that spiritual journey through the final events of this fallen world toward that moment when they will finally see the face of the One they love with all their heart.

True love is a very splendid thing--when it is mutual.  Marriage without love is a disaster. 

Jesus died so His Bride could have eternal life.  He is not going to enter into a loveless, disastrous marriage.  Since the Holy Spirit is God and "God is love," (1 John 4:8) we can conclude that these five wise virgins are actually igniting the love God has placed in their heart as they have eagerly received His Spirit, which resides in His Word. 

This is not just a story about personal choices.  This is a story that describes genuine faith and love.  Neither genuine faith nor real love can be faked--either you have it or you don't.  Real faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).  It is impossible for anyone to conjure up real faith.  Jesus is the sole "Author and Finisher of our faith"  (Hebrews 12:2)He is the One who gives us the faith to be faithful.

For this reason, the parable of the Ten Virgins is a "So Be It" story.  Some will arrive and some will not.  So be it.  God already knows who the five foolish virgins are and who the five wise virgins are.  Nothing surprises Him.

However, it is also a "Wake Up" call for those who really love Him, but have become distracted by the things of this world.  Now is the time to focus on the most important thing in life--the preeminence of Jesus Christ and His Word.  When we really love Jesus, He and His Word will be preeminent in our life.

As time was running out, some of the foolish virgins began to stir from their slumber:

(8) And the foolish said unto the wise,
Give us of your oil;
for our lamps are gone out.

The foolish became anxious because they realized that they were really not prepared to meet the Bridegroom.  Now they wanted the wise virgins to give them their oil, because their own lamps had gone out.

(9) But the wise answered, saying,
Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you:
but go ye rather to them that sell and buy for yourselves.

The wise virgins would not be wise if they were selfish.  Therefore, there has to be another reason why the wise virgins would not give the foolish virgins any of their oil.  Perhaps this type of "oil" is not something one person can give to another, but is something each virgin must acquire herself.  Because of this, each wise virgin only had just enough oil for her own personal journey.

So they told the foolish virgins to go purchase oil for themselves.  But it was too late.

(10) And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came;
and they that were ready went in with him
to the marriage: and the door was shut.

While the foolish virgins went off to try to acquire oil at the last minute, the Bridegroom came in the meantime and the wise virgins--those who had been prepared and ready--went in with Him to the marriage.  And the door was shut.

(11) Afterward came also the other virgins, saying,
Lord, Lord, open to us.

Later the foolish virgins, who had failed to follow His Word and prepare, came and begged the Lord to open the door and let them in.

(12) But he answered and said,
Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

When He heard them knocking, He told them that He did not even know them.  They were not the Bride that had developed a deep relationship with Him through His Word.  They were not among those who loved the sound of His Voice and were prepared and waiting for Him.  They were, in fact, strangers to Him.

(13) Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day
nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
--Matthew 25:1-13

Here is the lesson of Christ:  Watch.  You do not know the exact moment He is coming back for those who really love Him.  Be ready.  Be prepared.  Be listening to His Word and following His will, taking the path He has laid out for you, so you can find your way through this dark, fallen world to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Revelation 19:
(8) And to her was granted that she should be arrayed
in fine linen, clean and white:
for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
(9) And he saith unto me,
Blessed are they which are called unto 
the marriage supper of the Lamb.
And he saith unto me,
These are the true sayings of God.
(10) And I fell at his feet to worship him.  
And he said unto me, See thou do it not:
I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren
that have the testimony of Jesus:
worship God:
for the testimony of Jesus
is the spirit of prophecy.

God is identifying the Bride with this mark of purity, specifically telling John to describe it in the BOOK/Holy Bible.  God, Himself, is going to grant the genuine Bride of Christ real, tangible, obvious purity that comes from the imputed righteousness of Christ via His payment for her sin through His shed blood.  This will distinguish her from the false bride/false "church"/Whore of Revelation that seduces people and nations through her uncleanness.  

While the genuine Bride's purity is not something she can accomplish herself--because of her genuine relationship with Christ--He will give her the ability and motivation [the Lamp and the Oil/the Word and His Spirit] to help her prepare so she will be pure, ready, and waiting for His return:

That He might sanctify and cleanse it 
[speaking of His genuine Church/Bride] 
with the washing of water by the Word.  
That He might present it to Himself 
a glorious church, 
not having spot or wrinkle, 
or any such thing; 
but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 5:26-27

How will the true Bride know prophecy?  How will she be able to discern the signs of the times and understand what lies ahead?

The true Bride is indwelt by the Spirit of God which resides in the Word of God.  It is the Spirit of God who will lead her, because Jesus Christ is the Word. 

By knowing the Word, the Bride knows who the real Jesus is--what He has said, what He has done, and what He is likely to do in the future, because of the unbreakable promises He has made. 
To find absolute assurance of salvation right now,
scroll to the top of this page
click on the gift wrapped in gold on the left side.
Be prepared to be eternally blessed. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Called, and Chosen, and Faithful

Kay Frances Graves

For many are called,
but few are chosen.
-Matthew 22:14

These shall make war with the Lamb,
and the Lamb shall overcome them:
for he is Lord of lords,
and King of kings:
and they that are with him are
called, and chosen, and faithful.
-Revelation 17:14

Exactly who will be left standing with the Lord Jesus Christ when the last war on Planet Earth is over and the dust settles?
Will it be "the called?"  Will it be "the chosen?"  Will it be "the faithful?
Or will it be those who posses all three of these characteristics?
To find the answers to these important End Time questions, let's scripturally examine each of the three titles given to those who will be standing with Christ:

Many are Called
The word, "called," in the context of the above verse from Revelation 17:14, comes from #2822 in the Greek which is klētos.
This word, klētos, is defined as:

       1) called, invited (to a banquet)
             a) invited by God to obtain eternal salvation
             b) called to (the discharge of) some office
       2) divinely selected and appointed
We see then, that the "called" pertains to everyone who is invited to obtain eternal salvation through Jesus Christ.
According to the Word of God, who are the ones specifically invited or called to salvation?

 (15) That whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have eternal life.
(16) For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life.
(17) For God sent not his Son into the world
to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved.
-John 3:15-17

The above verses from the Gospel of John clearly reveal that Jesus came to save all of the inhabitants of the world because He loved them and did not want any to be lost.
However, this passage also tells us that not everyone is going to be saved.  Those who have eternal life will only be those who believe in Him (entrust their lives to Him) and believe who He really is (i.e. the preeminent Son of God Almighty).
In Matthew 9:13, Jesus calls (#2822) sinners to repentance.
In Matthew 20:8, the lord of the vineyard tells the steward to call (#2822) the laborers.
In Matthew 22:3, the servants were told to call (#2822) the people to the wedding.
In Romans 1:1, Paul was called (#2822) to become an Apostle.  Paul did, in fact, become an Apostle, but the first call he got did not guarantee that he would fulfill a second call and become an Apostle.
All of these cases are obvious indications that those being called were being invited to take some specific type of action required to move them from one position to another in life.
Even though "called" may also refer to a special appointment, the word, "called," was still foremost an invitation.  It did not guarantee any certain state of being.  All those who are called to a specific work in the Body of Christ (i.e. appointment/ministry) must first be called to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
First a person is called to salvation (i.e. has responded by repenting of sin, turning from going his own way, then dedicates the rest of his life to following Christ) and after this, as a believer, is called into a specific ministry.  These are two different "calls."  However, salvation must always be the first call.
Since many (i.e. everyone--all) are called, but few go on to receive Christ, we must conclude that the "few" also represent "the chosen," who have responded to the first call to salvation.

 ". . .and they that are with him are
called, and chosen, and faithful."
-Revelation 17:14

In the above verse, the "called," which are with Christ in the very end, cannot broadly refer to all of the "invited," or everyone would automatically have eternal life simply because all have been invited--or called.  Instead being "called," is just the first of the three necessary steps that describe the characteristics of those who will be standing victorious with Christ in the end.

Few are Chosen
In the Old Testament, we see the word, "chosen," in the context of the Book of Deuteronomy, as it comes from #977, which in the Hebrew carries the meanings:

       1) to choose, elect, decide for
             a) (Qal) to choose
             b) (Niphal) to be chosen
             c) ( Pual) to be chosen, selected

"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth."  (Deuteronomy 7:6)
God reveals His method of salvation first in the Old Testament when He chooses the nation of Israel to be his "chosen" people.  God is beginning to teach mankind His principles of separation.  Some will be His holy people (holy = set apart for special service) and some will not have this special calling.
God has standards and laws that must be obeyed.  All things must be done decently and in order.  It was necessary for God to work through a nation to bring forth the Messiah and He chose Israel to take this responsibility.  Israel was God's choice; they were called to carry out God's will and follow His Word and law in this matter. 
We also see this illustrated in God's relationship with Moses.
When God called Moses, it was obvious that Moses did not want to be God's messenger, but God chose Him, just the same.  So while Moses did not want to do what was required to be God's chosen messenger or did not believe that he had the ability to carry out the mission God wanted to give him, nevertheless in his heart he was compelled to trust that God would provide all that he needed to fulfill the position of one who is "chosen."
When the struggle in Moses' heart was over, he went forth by the power of God to do God's will.  Thus we have evidence that Moses was chosen. 
However while in the Old Testament, God chooses a special people and gives them the land of Israel to physically occupy forever, in the New Testament, Jesus invites everyone and anyone to enter into His spiritual Kingdom by being born again of the Spirit.

according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience
and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace unto you, and peace, be multiflied.
1 Peter 1:2

 Whenever anyone hears this call and responds to it by receiving Jesus Christ, that person then becomes a true believer, thereby identifying himself as one of the chosen children of God, who is now trusting Him to give them the ability to do His will.

But as many as received him,
to them gave he power
to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe on his name:
-John 1:12

The word, "chosen," in the context of the above verse from Revelation 17:14, comes from#1588 in the Greek which is eklektos.  
The word, eklektos, is defined as:

       1) picked out, chosen
             a) chosen by God,
       2) to obtain salvation through Christ
             a) Christians are called "chosen or elect" of God
       3) the Messiah is called "elect," possessing the most exalted office

There is something special about the "chosen."  They are not just "called," They have been given ears to hear the call of God and have responded to that call by repenting of sin and turning from it.  This proves that they have been called, chosen, and predestined to be a child of God.

(14) For many are called,
but few are chosen.
-Matthew 22:14

Everyone is "called," but few are chosen, because few will respond to that call.
Does this prove the doctrine of predestination?
That depends on how you define "predestination."
In order to understand the called, and chosen, and faithful, we need to approach this topic, like every other topic in the Word of God and see it through the preeminence of Jesus Christ who referred to Himself as the "Alpha and Omega."
No one understands infinity completely, but we must at least realize that infinity refers to having no beginning and no end.  Perhaps the word, "foreknowledge," explains this concept better.
Because all are "called," when a person is "called," it does not have any specific significance, other than to reveal that God has made salvation available to every single person ever born.
But when a specific person is "chosen," we will see that timing is involved because at some point in time, the chosen person will respond in order to identify himself as one who is "chosen."  Once this happens, we now have proof that the person was also "predestined." 

This is illustrated in the life of Saul of Tarsus, who later became the Apostle Paul.
God knew who would be chosen all along, but the person did not know.  The person had to decide to respond--he had to use his free will to do so, yet God knew from the beginning those who would come to Him.
In this way, God does not select some for Heaven and some for Hell.  Each person exercises his own will and desire.  Nevertheless, God knew from before the foundation of the world, those who would belong to Him.

(29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate
[those He did "foreknow" = those He did "predestinate"]
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
(30) Moreover whom he did predestinate,
them he also called: and whom he called,
them he also justified: and whom he justified,
them he also glorified.
-Romans 8:29

This verse makes it clear that those God did "foreknow" were the same ones He did "predestinate" and whom He "predestinated," He also "called."
Let's use Euclid's Law to understand what this is saying:
Those God did foreknow = Those God did predestinate = Those God did elect = Those God did foreknow. . .etc.
The controversy regarding predestination versus freedom of choice can only be reconciled through the preeminence of Jesus Christ as Alpha and Omega, because when we look at it from the perspective of infinity, the time frame regarding being born again does not matter.  This is because all are saved throughout history retroactively through the sacrifice of Christ at the time of His death on the cross and while each person must make the decision to become a believer, God knows who they are.  Even before they were born, God gave their eternal seed to His Son to plant into the earth and promised that none would be lost.
"He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;" (Matthew 13:37) 

 (22) And except those days should be shortened,
there should no flesh be saved:
but for the elect's sake
those days shall be shortened.
(23) Then if any man shall say unto you,
Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
(24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets,
and shall shew great signs and wonders;
insomuch that, if it were possible,
they shall deceive the very elect. 
-Matthew 24:22-24

In this passage, the "elect"/"chosen" of God refers to all true believers since Jesus is warning them that in End Times a great deception will occur that will be so strong that, if it were possible, even the very chosen of God could be led astray. 
Is it possible that the chosen of God could be led astray?

 (27) My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them, and they follow me:
(28) And I give unto them eternal life;
and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
(29) My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all;
and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
-John 10:27-29

We see in the above passage that all who really belong to Jesus and the Father--those who are really "chosen"--will never perish and that it is impossible for anyone to take them out of God's hand.
While we may see many "professing" believers ultimately being deceived in End Times, genuine believers will not ultimately be deceived.
Here Jesus describes the gathering of all true believers by His angels, referring to those being gathered as "elect/"chosen" again.

 (31) And he shall send his angels
with a great sound of a trumpet,
and they shall gather together his elect
from the four winds,
from one end of heaven to the other.
-Matthew 24:22,24,31

Finding the Faith to be Faithful

 ". . .and they that are with him are
called, and chosen, and faithful."

Those who are "called" (and destined to be "chosen") come out from among all of mankind because all are called.
But there is something different about these specific "called" ones, they are also the "chosen" because they have responded to the call.  When the rest of mankind has ignored the call, the "chosen" have made a choice.  The spiritual response this choice requires includes specific action.  It is necessary to repent of our sin, turn from our own philosophy and going our own way, to committing ourselves to obey God's Word and His will.
When this choice is made by the "called" individual, he comes into agreement with God, uniting himself with God's will, causing his position as "chosen" to be sealed through his relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
The "chosen" one then goes on to also qualify as "faithful," because to be chosen, he had to trust God to provide the power or ability to be faithful.  He had to have the faith to be faithful; believing that God would provide all that he needs to endure to the end.

 (8) For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God:
(9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
-Ephesians 2:8-9

Where is this faith to be faithful going to come from?

So then faith cometh by hearing,
and hearing by the word of God.
-Romans 10:17

Faith to be faithful comes from the power of the Word of God--the Living Word, Jesus Christ who shed His blood and died on our behalf, rose from the dead, and now indwells true believers with the presence of His Holy Spirit.
The faith to be faithful also comes from the written Word of God in which the Holy Spirit resides to bring the person of Christ into our lives.  As we assimilate that Word, it teaches, leads, corrects, convicts of sin, and comforts us while we endure to the end and until we will (one day soon) see Jesus Christ face to face.
Yes, many are called but few are chosen.  Many are on the broad way to destruction, while few are on the narrow way that leads to eternal life.

"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man,
but the end thereof
are the ways of death.
-Proverbs 14:12

(13) Enter ye in at the strait gate:
for wide is the gate, and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat:
(14) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it.
(15) Beware of false prophets,
which come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
-Matthew 7:13-15

There are really only two ways--two roads--the broad way and the narrow way.  While the broad way may have many tributaries, they all ultimately merge and flow into the one broad way that leads to destruction.  On the other hand, the narrow road--the narrow way, leads to life, peace, and happiness with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom He is preparing for those who love Him and are genuinely the "called, and chosen, and faithful."

Let's do the math:

      = Genuine Believer

Take note of Jesus' warning and beware of false prophets.  Many in ministry today claim that they have been chosen or called into ministry, but it is impossible to receive a second call to ministry when one really has not taken the first step and responded to the first call by entering into a real viable relationship with Jesus Christ.  A diploma from a seminary does not guarantee that any minister is a genuine believer in Jesus Christ.
Some asume and presume that being in ministry proves that they are among the called, and chosen, and faithful, but if they have failed to take the first step, all of their good works are in vain, the Bible tells us.
Our works are a result of our position in Christ.
Our works do not create our position in Christ.
We must take responsibility for our own ultimate destination.  Do not entrust any person or any religion with your precious eternal life.  Take care to only place your eternal future in the hands of Jesus Christ for He alone has adequately made provision for your eternal life.  No one else has the power to give you eternal life.
You will find everything you need in Jesus Christ and in His Word, the Holy Bible. (KJV recommended).

I am he [Jesus Christ] that liveth, and was dead;
and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen;
and have the keys of hell and of death.
-Revelation 1:18

The way of life is above to the wise,
that he may depart from hell beneath.
-Proverbs 15:24

The question is:  "Which way are you going?"

To be sure you are going the right way,
scroll to the top of the page
and click the picture on the left
where it says,
"God's Gift of Salvation"
and find peace and eternal assurance right now.