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ACTS and the PAROUSIA

October 8, 2010
Wednesday evening, while machining gears at work, a conversation from the past came to mind. It transpired in the fall of 1983, a few weeks after the hour in which I believed on the Lord Jesus. While I don’t remember the names of the people having the conversation, it focused on Ezekiel chapter 38. It was a routine assigning of current goings on to prophecy and I remember a continual mentioning of then Soviet chief of state Yuri Andropov in connection with Gog and Magog. (I now seriously consider the possibility that Ezekiel 38 describes the little season following the millenium as it lines up perfectly with Revelation 20:7-9) From our twenty first century vantage point, it’s clear that much of what was theorized that night, insofar as timings and players didn’t come to pass. It did, however, begin to foster in me an interest in prophecy which continues to the present.
 In the arena of prophetic consideration, it’s imperative to discern between that which is clearly outlined in scripture and speculation. To embrace truth, discard error and to filter everything heard or seen through a prayerful searching of the scriptures. To look beyond the myriad of senarios and seek true understanding from on high. (Jeremiah 33:3 and James 1:5.) A side cogitation that’s been going on lately is how many of us (Christian and non- Christian) will unwittingly devote much time and energy to defending our world view instead of sincerely inquiring as to whether or not it’s accurate. We’ve all done this to one degree or another. We live in a deception-rich environment wherein the whole world is being prepared to follow a falsehood. Many who were once strong in the faith will fall away and as such we must remain continuously atuned and watching.
Although we normally don’t view it as a prophetic book, The Acts of the Apostles offers insight on three critical areas concerning the time of the end and the return of Jesus.  Two of them are obvious. The third is more obscure, but critical as it entails a pitfall that may not appear as such. As such. The first passage to visit is:The
Acts 1:9-11 “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
One of the primary elements of the return of Jesus is that it won’t be a secret event. It will be visible and in like manner as he was taken up. This was a point of emphasis when Jesus was telling about his return. He warned us to beware of imposters and of thinking that he’s in a secret place. He also warned us of supernatural fireworks that have but one purpose; to draw folks away from the truth. He described the moment of his return like this:
Matthew 24:27″ “For as the lightening cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Prior to Jesus return, there will appear false Christs; yielding signs and wonders and there will be rumors that Christ is in a safe location. Under normal conditions it may seem strange that anyone would believe rumors of Jesus being conceiled in a secret place. But in times of upheaval; such as we know will precede his return, folks will be much more susceptible to believe such a thing. Especially if, instead of staying close to Jesus, they had been heaping to themselves teachers who didn’t prepare them for trying times. One thing that has been driven home while reading Steve Wohlbergs book, “End time Delusions” is that we cannot follow a person; even if we agree with portions of what they are teaching . He brings up some really good points and has fostered a studying out of a few issues. But there are also things in his book that I definately cannot agree with.
The second familiar insight found in the book of Acts actualy stems from the old testament, but is revisited by Peter on the day of pentecost after he is filled with the Holy Ghost:
Acts 2:16-17 “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
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 you young men shall see visions, and your old men shall see dreams.”
Two observations before proceding further. First, the day of pentecost could be considered the beginning of the last days, or the “last time” as John writes in I John 4:18. It’s the age that spans between Jesus being received into heaven following his resurrection, and his glorious return wherein every eye shall behold him. Another observation is that, in making the connection between the day of pentecost and the day of the Lord, one understands that the gifts of the Spirit will remain for the duration of the “last time.”
Acts 2:18-20 “And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come.
Acts 2:21 “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
 It’s intresting that, in the above passage, Peter, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, moves from discussing the gift of prophecy right into the signs of the end and the day of the Lord. One thing that Steve Wohlberg does cover well is the flow of events through the church age. We tend to view things in a segmented matter; clonsidering the days of the early church, and then fast forwarding to the 1800s or thereabouts. Steve discusses how the history of the church from a last time perspective. He discusses how the spirit of antichrist campaigned for the hearts of the undiscerning right from the beginning, seized the reigns of control in the institutionalized church during the dark ages, and is fuctioning in the present day. Which brings us to the final passage from the book of Acts:
Acts 20:27 “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”
This verse highlights the need to present a completeand balanced gospel. If we leave things out, or over emphasize certain aspects, we end up presenting a lopsided gospel; kind of like the curved mirrors found at carnivals. They reflect an image, but it’s a distorted one.
Acts 20:28-30 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous woulves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
Folks with an alternate agenda, slipping into the church and leading folks away from Christ. So imperative it is to ensure that we are following Jesus foremost. I’ve seen folks who are so beholden to a denomination or a particular ministry that it seems to have become their first love. Their words and study will become aimed at defending the denomination or ministry as opposed to sincere searching of the scriptures. We learn from Revelation 2:4 that a similar transplanting of our first love took place in the church at Ephesus; although there’s no evidence that they were embracing heresies. Interestingly, the above passage was addressed to the Ephesian elders who had travelled to Miletus for what would be their final audience with the apostle Paul. This remionds us to not place the words of others in higher esteem than that which is written. We are going to be judged according to that which is written and we must give all diligence to ensure that we are grounded in truth.
Well this is in need of refining, but I’ll post it in a few minutes. The conclusion is something that we all know. We must stay close to Jesus and stay in his word. We don’t have a complete picture of what the end time senario will look like and pitfalls are everywhere. Settling it in our hearts to maintain the testimony of Jesus “regaqrdless of the consequences in this life,” is imperative. If we’re holding out in a certain area; we can be assured that the enemy will attempt to use it to his advantage.
Mark 13:37 “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”
 Blessings always in Jesus name.
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2 comments

  1. (You don’t need to post this–I know how time consuming it can be to research things, and we often feel the need to respond quickly to comments . . .)

    Good post, and the book sounds quite good!

    I wanted to propose an alternative to the idea of Ez. 38 happening after the millenium, and it concerns something that has stood out for me when reading prophecy: phrases that seem out of place, or that stand out, as though they don’t fit into the passage of Scripture they are in.

    There are other reasons that I believe that Ez. 38 & 39 initiate ‘the day of the Lord’/ the return of Christ, to do battle with the nations, at the very end of the great tribulation. But, one reason that is easy to explain is the parallel verses and ‘strange phrases’.

    In this case, I’m talking about the discussions in Ezek. 39: 17-20 and Rev. 19: 17-18. They discuss a great feast God is preparing for the birds (and wild beasts, but here the connection is the birds). To me, these seem to be parallel passages.

    Then I see another connection, between these and two OTHER parallel verses: Matt. 24:28 & Luke 17:37. (“Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”)

    This verse seemed so awkward when I read it. It definitely seemed to stand out from the flow of what Jesus was saying. I prayed about it a lot, but never got an answer as to just what Jesus meant by it.

    However, I came to see what seems to be a pattern in Scripture: odd little verses like this, that pop up in various places, that seem to tie the passages together, to confirm that they are talking about the same event.

    If you read the passages in Luke 17: 23-37 and Matthew 24: 23-51, you will see that the reference to the vultures and the carcasses seems to specifically tie in with the actual day (or night) that the Lord returns. (Matt. 24:27-28, in my opinion, can be read as if in parentheses).

    Does this make sense? Not sure how well I’ve explained my theory . . .

    Anyway, I just thought of it while reading your post . . . and how interesting that you mentioned both the Ez 38/39 war AND Matt. 24:27 in this post!


  2. Hi dontbefooled. This is always something of interest; when verses seem to be out of flow, so to speak. And what you have described here certainly sems to place Ezekiel 38 and 39 back into the Day of the Lord camp. We know that the armies of the world are going to be gathered together on that day and will be utterly destroyed by the brightness of Jesus return.

    One reason for visiting this issue is that, a few years ago, I had entertained the idea that this may be in reference to the short season. Or it could be a dual prophetic word. For some reason, the short season is a point of intrigue as we know so little about it. Only that the devil is going to be allowed a final shot and that multitudes will be deceived. When Steve Wolberg wrote that he belives it to be a refeence to the short season, the door of pondering was once again opened.

    It’s interesting that, when we think on these things, we can almost feel what must have run through the mind of Daniel. He inquired “O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” He was told that these things were sealed unto the end. As such, he was faithful to God and recorded what he had been shown; knowing that there would be a future generation that would need this.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. As for Steve Wolbergs book, there is an increasing number of things which I question. He touches on a lot of things which I do agree with, but some of it is…..well….time will tell. It all reveals the need for us to be searching for ourselves and not relying exclusively on a particular person.

    Blessings always in Jesus name



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