Revelation – Moment of Rapture Revealed

A few years ago, the Holy Spirit revealed to me the very moment in the book of Revelation where the Rapture event takes place. This happened a couple years before I began Faith and Fasting in 2016.

However, night before last, when the Lord gave me a dream about the Rapture (which I blogged yesterday), He prompted me to write and proclaim to you what He had revealed.

Let’s pray together before we continue:

Lord, we surrender ourselves to You right now. Fill us, Holy Spirit, make us completely Yours. Open the eyes of our minds, hearts and spirits, and show us great and wonderful things from Your word. Comfort, purify and guide us for the years to come, that we may be found ready, like the bridesmaids with their oil lamps full, instead of like the unprepared who missed the wedding celebration (Matthew 25)!

You ARE the oil, Holy Spirit. We love you! Jesus, we adore You. Father, we’ll be home soon, and we can’t wait! Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Amen.

For years now, there has been controversy about the event called the Rapture. Some say it does not exist. Some say it will happen in the middle of the end time chaos called the tribulation, and some say it could happen at any moment!

I am not sure exactly where I fit into those categories, but I do know there is a Rapture. Hopefully, you will see that my approach is linked to what God Himself has already revealed in His word. I’ll leave it up to you to determine if you believe I’ve received this word from the Holy Spirit.

To begin a Rapture teaching study, we must begin with the two places in Paul’s letters where he refers to the people of God being instantly changed, or transformed. We find the first passage in I Corinthians 15. Let’s read:

I Corinthians 15:51-52

Behold, I show you a mystery (secret, hidden thing): We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed (transformed), In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (an instant), at the last trump (sound a trumpet makes): for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

In two parallel passages, Paul writes to the Thessalonians about the same event:

I Thessalonians 4:16-17

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice (tone, noise, sound) of the archangel, and with the trump (trumpet, reverberation) of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

To comfort his readers, Paul goes on to say in the next chapter that this end time season will seem sudden to most, but they who are soberly watching and waiting for it will not be shocked:

I Thessalonians 5:2-4

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail (birth pains) upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But you, brethren (fellow believers), are not in darkness (blindness, obscurity), that that day should overtake you as a thief.

Let’s talk about these passages. The Corinthian passage is a huge key to the moment of “rapture”. What are the clues?

Clue #1: Paul says he is revealing a mystery, which as you see in the parentheses is defined in the Greek Bible dictionary as a secret or hidden thing being unveiled. And Paul reveals the mystery is this: we in Christ will suddenly all, dead or alive, be changed!

Clue #2: Immediately following, in the middle of 1 Corinthians 15:52, he plainly says WHEN it will take place: At the last trumpet blast.

So, basically, in this one short passage, he unfolded that the mystery of God’s people, dead and alive, being instantaneously changed happens at the last sound of a trumpet.

Well, all we have to do is find the last trumpet in Scripture. When is it?

This brings us to two passages in Revelation, written by John the apostle while he was exiled on the island of Patmos.

In the first, we see the same two clues as Paul did in Corinthians. 1) A hidden mystery about to be revealed, and 2) in the moment of the last trumpet.

Let’s take a look:

Revelation 10:7

But in the days of the voice (tone, sound) of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound (trumpet, sound a blast), the mystery (secret, hidden thing) of God should be finished (complete, performed), as he has declared to his servants the prophets.

This passage of John’s matches those of Paul! The mystery revealed, performed by the last trumpet blast. And Paul had already told us what would happen in that moment: we will all be transformed in the blink of an eye.

We have nothing left but to unearth which trumpet is the last! In Revelation, there are seven trumpets which come out of the seventh seal.

There are NO trumpets mentioned again after the seventh trumpet. The seventh trumpet of Revelation is the last.

We find it in Revelation 11:15. Here it is:

Revelation 11:15

And the seventh angel sounded (trumpet, sound a blast); and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign forever and ever.

Friends, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to this passage which I had read in years past but never really seen before. Filled with the Spirit, and seeing with the eyes of the Spirit, I saw: this verse reveals the very moment we join the Lord in Heaven!

Notice after that seventh and last trumpet blast, the verse says suddenly, “there were great voices in Heaven”. Sort of sounds as if Heaven had just added millions, maybe billions of new voices, doesn’t it?

Guys, that’s the moment. We will be gone, caught up with the Lord, whether we are dead or still alive at that time.

And we will be rejoicing, joined with all voices in Heaven, declaring that the kingdoms of this world are now His, because we will come from every kingdom, every tribe and tongue, over whom He shall reign forever!

Last Days Timeline – Final Thoughts

So, you say, if Revelation 11:15 is the moment we are taken up, where is this in the tribulation timeline? What will we go through before we are taken? And what will we escape? Great questions!

If you continue reading Revelation after that verse, you will see we will have been taken up before the end time world leader “beast” who demands everyone take the mark on their hand or forehead. Thank God!

If you think about it, this makes sense. Scripture has warned those who take the mark of the beast will be damned forever. The beast cannot force the people of God to take the mark, because it is impossible for them to be damned. So, of course, God makes sure we are not here for that most evil time.

However, a lot will have happened before the moment of our Rapture in Revelation 11:15. Six of the seven seals will have been opened. Six of the seven trumpets will have sounded, followed by all of the destruction and woes they announce.

At this point, please understand Revelation is an ongoing study for me, so I will not even begin in this post to attempt the whole of it. However, I will comment briefly on the overall content of Revelation, and then on one specific thing that is timely and pertinent.

We need to all remember that Revelation is a series of visions given to John. We must treat them as we must treat all dreams and visions, as symbolic, not necessarily literal.

Too many scholars have tried to force fit this symbolic book into a series of literal events. I believe it is a mixture of some literal language mixed with a larger amount of symbolism. And in my honest opinion, those not surrendered and filled with the Holy Spirit, nor skilled in the interpretation of dreams and visions should not even attempt to interpret it.

Now, as to the one specific thing I do want to comment on:

In the sixth trumpet, the next to last, notice that plagues (plural) are part it. Revelation 9:20 says, “And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands…”

Two things. Most people will not connect the destruction happening around them as a sign from God that they need to repent and change. And we will be in the midst of plague(s).

Is anyone else right now thinking about COVID-19? It is a plague upon mankind, possibly one of many more to come, or possibly the last of many in history.

Either way, we are in the last years, friends. There has never been a better time to purify our lives before Him, sober our minds and be watchful, to surrender ourselves to His Holy Spirit. He will comfort, companion and guide us in every day to come.

There has also never been a better time for us to pray for and witness to our unsaved friends and family. Realize, it will become harder for them to hear as the culture continues to deny God and instead chooses self-serving idols over our loving Creator.

But, family, what a Revelation! Realize the day of Christ coming for us is inches away on the human history timeline. What a day of reunion and rejoicing that will be, for those of us who have entrusted our hearts to Him!

Stay in Him, our wonderful Savior. He is our refuge and strength, as He has always been for His people.

I pray you are focused, strengthened and encouraged by this word today. Church, bride of Christ, Israel of God… we are in this together.

Until next time, may the Lord bless you and keep you, make His face shine upon you, and give you peace (Numbers 6).

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Should Women Be Silent In Church?

In recent months I’ve seen teaching online telling the people of God that Paul wanted women silent in church, and were not permitted to teach. Today, I want to reexamine scripture, dig a little deeper, and together discern what it really means in relation to this controversial subject.

In truth, some versions of the Bible make it appear this is actually Paul’s mandate. However, my challenge to everyone reading is this: those who would teach the word of God need to be smarter than to simply trust one version of the Bible without going any further.

Teachers must 1) have access to original languages and, 2) have at least basic knowledge of how to research those languages in order to more fully comprehend the meaning of passages in Scripture.

I’m going to demonstrate for you today how two passages in the New Testament have been used to silence women in the church erroneously.

First, a wee bit of Biblical history.

In ancient Israel, there were two female prophets to the nation of Israel: Deborah (wife of Lapidoth, Judges 4:4) and Anna (daughter of Phanuel, tribe of Asher, according to Luke 2:36). As did the male prophets to God’s nation, they spoke God’s direct word to His people.

In the New Testament, Peter records in Acts 21:9 that Phillip of Caesarea, a member of Paul’s missionary team, had four daughters with the gift of prophecy. Wow!

Between you and me, I’m not sure I would want to live in a household with not just one, but four insightful and outspoken women, but God bless Phillip of Caesarea for raising and nurturing such godly women in early church leadership!

Let’s get to the heart of it. If God gave a woman the gift of prophecy, and by Biblical record we know He did, is she to use it differently than a man? Perhaps only for her personal edification, while men are permitted to speak it everywhere?

According to Paul, the purpose of prophecy given by the Holy Spirit is for proclamation, for teaching, comfort, and edification, to name a few.

1 Corinthians 14:3 says, “But he that prophesies speaks for edification, and exhortation…” But what about, she?

1 Corinthians 14:29-38
29-30 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other discern their words. If anything be revealed to another nearby, let the first hold his peace.
31 For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
32-33 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
34-35 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also says the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
36 What? Did the word of God come out from you? Or did it come to you only?
37-38 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

In the 1 Corinthians 14 passage above, Paul laid out the rules for prophecy in the church, and declared blatantly in verse 31, “ALL may prophesy, that ALL may learn, and ALL may be comforted.”

You can then practically hear his air quotes around verses 34-35, “let a woman keep silent, it is a shame for a woman to speak,” because in the verse immediately following, he challenges, “What? Did the word of God come out from you? Or did it come to you only?”

The obvious answer to these rhetorical questions was, “No!”

Think for a minute. How did gospel writer, John, identify “the word” from the very start of his book? “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.”

Readers, the word of God is Jesus! So, when Paul was asking his audience, “Did the word of God come out from you?”, he was reminding them a woman literally ushered the word into the world when Mary birthed Jesus. And, the gift of Jesus, i.e., the Word, was given for all people, not just men! And all who receive Him/the Word are called to proclaim it!

Therefore, ALL prophets may speak, so long as it is done in an orderly fashion. In other words, be gentlemen and ladies… no shouting down everyone else around you just to be heard.

To recap, all prophets, male and female, are to speak what the Holy Spirit reveals to them for the benefit of the family of God.

We’ve just been reminded of at least six women in the Bible who had the gift of prophecy. Six women who SPOKE what the Spirit told them in order to edify the people of God.

These two verses, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, which some have erroneously used to silence women in church, are within the context of a passage where Paul is saying the opposite! He is actually saying this thinking is preposterous…

Note that when Paul spoke in verse 34, “Let a women keep silent…” he also reminded his audience this thinking was connected to old law: “as also says the law.”

The very thing Paul hit so hard in Galatians, Hebrews, and more, is the fact we are no longer under the law. See verses here on this very subject which hit the ball out of the park!

The Law
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. (Galatians 3:13)

If you are led of the Spirit, you are not under law. (Galatians 5:18)

The law is weak, useless and makes nothing perfect. (Hebrews 7:18-19)

God has found fault with (the law) and created a better covenant, enacted on better promises. (Hebrews 8:7-8)

(The law) is obsolete. (Hebrews 8:13)

So, again, did Paul contradict himself in basically saying, we are not under the law and all can prophesy, however women given the gift of prophecy cannot prophesy and are under the law?

No, of course not, to even suggest it sounds crazy. He does not contradict himself. Therefore, it is those misunderstood verses which are the contradiction to the rest of Scriptural teaching on prophecy and speaking, and we must correct our interpretation of them.

Paul was quoting the old thinking about women in silence in order to challenge it with the truth that ALL may prophesy! Men. Women. Children! Whoever receives the word of the Lord is expected to proclaim it!

Sadly, this teaching will continue to be used erroneously by a few, and Paul ends in verse 38 by saying, “If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.”

But, we do not have to continue in ignorance, so I pray all reading today who have previously used or taught this passage wrongly will receive the truth.

1 Timothy 2:11-12

In 1 Timothy 2, we find another controversial passage many have used to prevent women from ever teaching in church. But, with closer examination, the real truth of the passage comes out.

First, let’s read the King James, since that is one of the main versions causing confusion:

1 Timothy 2:11-12 “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

The King James Version clouds this Pauline address heavily, but a closer review and deep dive into original language reveals Paul was actually addressing wives and husbands and their home relationship. And it isn’t quite as harsh as the KJV makes it sound. Let’s take a look.

Read with me the same passage in a more literal version (Young’s):

1 Timothy 2:11-12 “Let a woman in quietness learn in all subjection, and a woman I do not suffer to teach, nor to rule a husband, but to be in quietness.”

When you study the original language (Strong’s Bible dictionaries allow easy deep-diving into nearly every word of Scripture), Paul was literally saying, the wife is not to take a posture of issuing orders to her husband and take away his God-given authority in the home. Rather, she is to have a spirit of gentleness and respect in her marriage, the kind of behavior that does not bustle about, meddle with everything he (or anyone else) does and boss people around.

Paul admonishes in 1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

When a wife steals her husband’s ‘headship’, she is symbolically and spiritually cutting off the head of Christ over her home! Wives, spouses, must learn to live together with respect, and take comfort, we are in the best company: Christ demonstrated this very attitude in relationship with His Father!

Wives, it is our calling to live in peace within the God-designed structure of our marriage, neither as a bossy tyrant nor as an obedient doormat. But rather as a mature woman of God who tenderly nurtures respect in her marriage.

And a wise husband will lean on his wife’s wisdom, her prayers and counsel, and not ‘lord it over her’ in a spirit of harshness either.

Ephesians 5:21 instructs that all in the family of God are to be ‘subject to one another in the fear of God’. This is not exempt in the home. Husbands and wives are also to subject themselves one to another. It is a position of respect and gentleness.

However, reading further in the Ephesians 5 passage, there is a special respect required of wives in the home to their husbands, and an extra charge to the husbands to love their wives sacrificially.

I am admittedly reading between the lines in saying that perhaps the Ephesian women were extra strong-minded (aka, bossy and controlling), and Paul felt the need to call this out in his letter. As we all understand, in the presence of controlling people, we often find ourselves struggling to love instead of react. So, the Ephesian men would have needed that extra push to remember to love sacrificially, as Christ did for all of us!

The bottom line for the home, in proper authority (him under Christ and her under her husband AND Christ), showing gentleness and respect to each other, husbands and wives make a formidable team to raise healthy and stable children and impact their world for the kingdom of God.

To wrap, and returning to women in the church once more, women were clearly given the gift of prophecy in the Bible, and per Paul, all prophets are to speak! Even in the old covenant, they still had female prophets who were anointed, entrusted with great spiritual authority in God’s family!

No need to silence or shun ladies from teaching, just do things in order as expected of everyone, and ladies, take care not to ‘lord’ it over your husbands. Respect and humility are always the best path to a healthy and loving relationship. And, in truth, that goes both ways.

May God bless and transform His people with truth.

The Importance of Fasting – A Comparison of Mark 9:29 in English Bible Translations

MAR 9.17-18 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought to You my son, who has a dumb spirit; And wherever it overtakes him, it tears at him: and he foams, and gnashes with his teeth, and pines away: and I spoke to Your disciples that they should cast it out; and they could not.

MAR 9.28 And when He came into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, Why could we not cast it out?

Mark 9:29 And He said to them, this kind can come out by nothing, except by prayer and fasting.

Many versions of the Bible leave out “and fasting”. Yet, it is in the original language and is vitally important for the people of God today.

As some communities in our nation grow in unbelief and welcome paganism within our borders, spiritual warfare also grows. God’s people are feeling this impact, even at times in their own homes.

I can personally attest to an attempted spiritual infiltration in my home, brought in by a guest on more than one occasion who had an unseen attachment. Sometimes those ‘attachments’ attempt to cling unless godly homeowners know how to detach them! Fasting with prayer cleared the air for us very quickly on every occasion needed.

People of God, we must be ready to go the distance, to apply all of the Lord’s teaching to stand strong against the enemy.

Because teaching on fasting is scarce in some halls of faith and is missing from Mark 9:29 in many versions of Scripture, I want to show the reader the difference between English translations below on just that verse.

My resource is BibleGateway.com. It is easy there to compare ALL English versions against each other in one click.

Please know I do not wish to disparage versions that don’t include the reference to fasting, just to make the reader aware that differences do exist among translations which occasionally lose significant meaning in Scripture. Know the tools you have free at your fingertips that can help ensure you understand a verse more completely.

By the way, my personal favorite is Young’s Literal Translation. It is not for everyone as it is written in old English, but it has a reputation for being one of the closest, if not the closest to the original Hebrew and Greek. Another powerful tool I use for research is a Kindle version of the King James which includes links to Strong’s Bible dictionaries. There are few better ways to see original language than to have those links at your fingertips. I wish publishers would come out with more Kindle versions with links to Strong’s. Having those links to original language helps make us more bullet-proof against misinterpretations.

Mark 9:29 in all English Translations from BibleGateway.com: https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Mark%209:29

All translations including ‘fasting’ in bold. Translation references at bottom.

KJ21
And He said unto them, “This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting.”
ASV
And he said unto them, This kind can come out by nothing, save by prayer.
AMP
He replied to them, “This kind [of unclean spirit] cannot come out by anything but prayer [to the Father].”
AMPC
And He replied to them, This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.
BRG
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
CSB
And he told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.”
CEB
Jesus answered, “Throwing this kind of spirit out requires prayer.”
CJB
He said to them “This is the kind of spirit that can be driven out only by prayer.”
CEV
Jesus answered, “Only prayer can force out that kind of demon.”
DARBY
And he said to them, This kind can go out by nothing but by prayer and fasting.
DLNT
And He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing except by prayer”.
DRA
And departing from thence, they passed through Galilee, and he would not that any man should know it.
ERV
Jesus answered, “That kind of spirit can be forced out only with prayer.”
EHV
He said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out, except by prayer and fasting.”
ESV
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
ESVUK
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
EXB
Jesus answered, “That kind of spirit can only be forced out by prayer.”
GNV
And he said unto them, This kind can by no other means come forth, but by prayer and fasting.
GW
He told them, “This kind of spirit can be forced out only by prayer.”
GNT
“Only prayer can drive this kind out,” answered Jesus; “nothing else can.”
HCSB
And He told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer [and fasting].”
ICB
Jesus answered, “That kind of spirit can only be forced out by prayer.”
ISV
He told them, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.”
PHILLIPS
“Nothing can drive out this kind of thing except prayer,” replied Jesus.
JUB
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
KJV
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
AKJV
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
LEB
And he said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing except by prayer.”
TLB
Jesus replied, “Cases like this require prayer.”
MSG
He answered, “There is no way to get rid of this kind of demon except by prayer.”
MEV
He said to them, “This kind cannot come out except by prayer and fasting.”
MOUNCE
And he said to them, “This kind cannot come out except by prayer.”
NOG
He told them, “This kind of spirit can be forced out only by prayer.”
NABRE
He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
NASB
And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”
NCV
Jesus answered, “That kind of spirit can only be forced out by prayer.”
NET
He told them, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
NIRV
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
NIV
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
NIVUK
He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer.’
NKJV
So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
NLV
He said to them, “The only way this kind of demon is put out is by prayer and by going without food so you can pray better.”
NLT
Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”
NMB
And he said to them, This kind can come out no other way but by prayer and fasting.
NRSV
He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”
NRSVA
He said to them, ‘This kind can come out only through prayer.’
NRSVACE
He said to them, ‘This kind can come out only through prayer.’
NRSVCE
He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”
NTE
‘This sort’, replied Jesus, ‘can only be cast out by prayer.’
OJB
And Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach (Jesus) said to them, This kind of gerush shedim (spirit) is accomplished only by davening (prayer) with tzomot (fasting).
TPT
He answered them, “This type of powerful spirit can only be cast out by fasting and prayer.”
RGT
And He said to them, “This kind can come forth by no other means but prayer and fasting.”
RSV
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
RSVCE
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.”
TLV
And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out except by prayer.”
VOICE
Jesus: That sort of powerful spirit can only be conquered with much prayer [and fasting].
WEB
He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing, except by prayer and fasting.”
WE
Jesus said to them, `This kind of bad spirit does not come out unless people talk to God and fast.’
WYC
And he said to them, This kind in nothing may go out [This kind may not go out in any thing], but in prayer and fasting.
YLT
And he said to them, `This kind is able to come forth with nothing except with prayer and fasting.’

Translations:

21st Century King James Version (KJ21) Copyright © 1994 by Deuel Enterprises, Inc.
American Standard Version (ASV) Public Domain
Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
BRG Bible (BRG) Blue Red and Gold Letter Edition™ Copyright © 2012 BRG Bible Ministries. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. BRG Bible is a Registered Trademark in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office #4145648
Christian Standard Bible (CSB) The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.
Common English Bible (CEB) Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved; Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society
Darby Translation (DARBY) Public Domain
Disciples’ Literal New Testament (DLNT) Disciples’ Literal New Testament: Serving Modern Disciples by More Fully Reflecting the Writing Style of the Ancient Disciples, Copyright © 2011 Michael J. Magill. All Rights Reserved. Published by Reyma Publishing
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA) Public Domain
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International
Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV) The Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV), New Testament & Psalms ©2017
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Expanded Bible (EXB) The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. All rights reserved.
1599 Geneva Bible (GNV) Geneva Bible, 1599 Edition. Published by Tolle Lege Press. All rights reserved.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) Copyright © 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations. Used by permission of God’s Word Mission Society.
Good News Translation (GNT) Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.
International Children’s Bible (ICB) The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.
International Standard Version (ISV) Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.
J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS) The New Testament in Modern English by J.B Phillips copyright © 1960, 1972 J. B. Phillips. Administered by The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England. Used by Permission.
Jubilee Bible 2000 (JUB) Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2010 by Life Sentence Publishing, Inc.
King James Version (KJV) Public Domain
Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) KJV reproduced by permission of Cambridge University Press, the Crown’s patentee in the UK.
Lexham English Bible (LEB) 2012 by Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software
Living Bible (TLB) The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson
Modern English Version (MEV) The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.
Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament (MOUNCE) The Mounce Reverse-Interlinear™ New Testament (MOUNCE) Copyright © 2011 by William D. Mounce. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. “Reverse-Interlinear” is a trademark of William D. Mounce.
Names of God Bible (NOG) The Names of God Bible (without notes) © 2011 by Baker Publishing Group.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE) Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved.
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Does God Really Pour His Spirit upon All Flesh? A Review of Joel 2 and Acts 2

For years now, we’ve been hearing teachers from various halls of Christian faith quoting Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17, declaring that God is pouring out His Spirit upon “all flesh”, meaning all of humanity. They cite examples of cases where non-believers had dreams of Jesus and then came to faith.

While these cases are wonderful and awe-inspiring, they are not proof the Holy Spirit is poured upon “all flesh”. Allow me to explain why this particular teaching is a misinterpretation of the Joel and Acts passages.

Take a look at the wording of the Acts passage from the KJV translation:

Acts 2.16-18 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 your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

Ok. So, the KJV makes it sound like the Spirit will be poured upon “all flesh”. Case closed, right?

Well, not so fast. What did the original language say? Who is the audience? For, that reveals intention. And, what is the context around the phrase or sentence in question?

First, let’s look at the definition of the word for “flesh” in Greek: “sarx”.

*Definition of Sarx from Strong’s:
(g4561) σαρξ, — sarx; probably from the base of (4563) (σαροω); flesh, i.e. the meat of an animal, or the body… as the means of kindred…
1. flesh
2. the body a. the body of a man b. used of natural origin, generation or relationship

So, “flesh” is half of the original meaning, but with the broader definition from Strong’s Bible dictionary, we see there is more to the story, a 2nd half, “the body”, which implied kindred, or relationship. This narrows the scope to people in relationship with God, His family, not all mankind. With these two shades of the same word, is it one over the other? How do we choose?

Let’s return to the passage to better understand the audience and context.

When we glance a little further back from our phrase in question in both Joel 2 and Acts 2, we see each author was addressing the people of God.

In Joel, he is addressing the nation of Israel. In Acts, Peter is addressing the new believers, the followers of Christ.

Plus, note the wording immediately following God’s declaration of outpouring His Spirit:
“…your sons and your daughters will prophesy… your young men, your old men…”. The word, “your” means those belonging to the audience, again, the people of Israel in the Old Testament and the new believers in the church.

Taking it another step further in subsequent verse, Acts 2:18, God goes even further to clarify: “on My servants and My handmaidens will I pour out My Spirit…”

God was reiterating the object of the outpouring of His Spirit – upon His servants, His body, His people.

We can conclude by translating sarx within this passage as, “the body”, either instead of, or in addition to, “flesh”. This does not contradict but rather complements the tone in the rest of each passage.

Bottom line: God’s promise of outpouring His Spirit was to His people, not to the whole world.

Originally from the prophet, Joel, this prophecy of His outpoured Spirit was fulfilled starting with the disciples at Pentecost. Remember, Jesus promised the Comforter would come to His followers after His Ascension.

And did He! He came and began filling the new believers, aka the body of Christ, from that point forward, giving them His gifts, empowering them for life and ministry. Just as He continues to fill each new believer today!

Perhaps there does appear to be a fresh outpouring of His Spirit in recent years, an awakening of His people and prophecy. If so, no doubt for the purpose of strengthening His body to once more sweep the world for another great harvest, and to face the challenges of the last days before Christ’s return.

At the same time, over decades there has been a shallowing in many branches of God’s people in America, a diluting of Biblical truth. And there is a wide and growing division between the people of God and an ever-darkening world hardening their hearts to His salvation, and even His reality! This division has swept Europe and is gaining ground in America.

What do we do? We ask His help to purify our lives, daily surrender, and pursue loving relationship with our Savior and the filling of His Spirit every day. What can God do with a child of His fully surrendered to His power and grace? Reach the world!

In closing, I will say we can agree with the teachers referenced at the start with one caveat: All mankind is impacted by His outpouring upon His body. For, it is when His people are fully yielded into His mighty hands that He can then use us for maximum reach to “all flesh”.

Jesus, fill us anew today, as we trust You and give ourselves into Your capable hands. Strengthen and use us to reach every last person on earth before You return! Amen.

Scripture and Definition taken from:
Strong, James. A Complete Bible Reference Study Library (4 in 1): [Illustrated]: KJV Bible with Strongs markup, Strongs Concordance & Dictionaries, Lexicon Definitions, and Bible word index (Kindle Locations 104192-104209). Bestbooks. Kindle Edition.

Will Elijah Come Again? No, Elijah has already come.

This is written to counter a recent article circulating the net claiming the people of God should expect Elijah to come back to earth before the Return of Christ. It is not the first time I have heard this teaching, and it is false! Realize, it is important to challenge such teaching, for if we are not grounded in truth, we make ourselves vulnerable to deception in the end times.

Here is the background. At the beginning of Matthew 17, Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John. They witnessed Him transform into His true, glorious form, where Scripture tells us ‘His face shone like the sun and His clothing became white as light’.

Appearing alongside Jesus were the spirits of Moses and Elijah. Peter in his enthusiasm offered to make booths for each of them, momentarily failing to realize Who should have been his only priority. God’s voice came from heaven in response, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”

So often, just like Peter, we slide off point in attempting to interpret the will of God and His Word. The focal point, the bullseye if you will, is always Messiah. Any movement, however slight, off center of Him misses the mark.

You see, Moses and Elijah appeared along with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration to make a point. The most revered prophets of Judaism were with Jesus! Then God made sure everyone present understood which of them was solely Lord and Master: His Son!

The circulating article I mentioned at the start, conjectured that when Elijah returns in the end times, he will likely ‘restore’ traditions of Judaism before the return of Christ. Oops, he missed the mark and the priority, that being Christ, not Judaism!

Now, I love teaching that helps us understand our Hebraic roots and connects Old and New Testaments. It helps us put all the pieces of the Scriptural puzzle together, and when it is done right, it points us to our Savior again and again. This is already happening through great scholars today like Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, for one.

But, any teaching that the people of God must return to traditions or especially laws of Judaism is strictly false and misleading. The New Testament declared the law obsolete. Paul explained it once served as a ‘nanny’ to the ancient people of God, and was retired at the cross. We now have our Bridegroom and His Spirit to guide us. To crawl back to the nanny is absurd and offensive to Him!

Back to Elijah. Should we expect him to come again, to restore Judaism and usher in the end times before Christ returns? No. Jesus, in Matthew 17, makes it very plain that Elijah already came a second time, and His mission was none other than to point the way to Christ.

Listen in to His conversation with the disciples:

MATTHEW 17:10-13

His disciples asked him, ‘Why do the scribes say Elijah must come first?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘Elijah certainly comes first, and restores all things. But I say to you, Elijah has already come, and they did not know him, and have done to him what they wished. Likewise also the Son of man shall suffer at their hands.’ Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptist.

Friends, I do not pretend to fully understand how John the Baptist was Elijah. Was he a literal reincarnation of the ancient prophet? Or, did he possess a symbolic spirit of Elijah, bring back the same message as Elijah? I cannot say, and have heard it taught different ways.

But, the core message is clear. Jesus informed us no matter how you look at it, Elijah’s message did echo on earth a second time through John the Baptist before the ministry of Christ began.

This leaves us with a solid conclusion: Elijah is not coming yet another time. For, the focal point in time for which the prophet Elijah and John the Baptist were prepping us was Jesus’ ministry/death/resurrection, not His end-time return.

The time of the cross was the most important moment in human history! Within that pivotal event lies the identity of our Savior, that He gave everything for us, and that He became the only way through Whom we can be restored to the Father.

Once more, hear the words of God the Father, and then listen to those of His Son, as He instructed!

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him! (God, the Father; Matt 17:5)

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (Jesus; John 14:6)

Before closing, let’s reflect once more on the message of John the Baptist, for it is most certainly needed today!

MATTHEW 3:1-3

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him’.”

John did what was prophesied and prepared the way for Jesus to be received by His people. And Jesus brought the kingdom of heaven to earth, as John declared.

Will you recognize the focal point of the entire Bible, and of history: Jesus our Redeemer and Messiah, and know and trust Him today?

[2020 Update: After you just read the article above (and I thank you for visiting Faith and Fasting!), may I throw a curve ball at you? First of all, I stand by the teaching above, because I never contradict Jesus!
But, with further reflection, I believe it may be meaningful to say a similar message to Elijah and John the Baptist may be echoing on earth again right now. If so, it is doing so in a different, less obvious way than other scholars have suggested.
The very Pastor and Rabbi I mentioned within the article above, Jonathan Cahn, is what I would call a prophet to America. His teaching centers on repentance for America, and a call for believers to return to Jesus with our whole heart.
I urge every believer reading this to check out Pastor Cahn’s messages on youtube, especially The Harbinger, The Paradigm, and more. Very, very timely subjects for America today, and you will love his enthusiastic, loving spirit.
I want to be clear, however, that in no way do we believe Jonathan Cahn is the reincarnation of Elijah! He is simply another uniquely anointed prophet with a clear and strong message of repentance in an increasingly evil world. In truth, we should all seek to bring that message, like Elijah and John the Baptist, back to life. Our nations need it like never before.
Please know we are lifting up our nation and the world in this difficult season of COVID-19! May every reader feel the comforting presence and love of Christ today!]

A Study on Healing in the New Testament

Healing… before the Cross/Resurrection:

In the Gospels, before the Cross, healing was apparently used mainly as a tool of evangelism, to draw the people and convince them of the power in Christ, His divinity. Christ, Himself, healed ALL who came to Him. In addition, He gave each of the twelve disciples the gift of healing as part of their evangelical mission.

Christ healed everyone (Matt 4):

And Jesus was going about all Galilee teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the reign, and healing every disease, and every malady among the people,

and his fame went forth to all Syria, and they brought to him all having ailments, pressed with manifold sicknesses and pains, and demoniacs, and lunatics, and paralytics, and he healed themMatthew 4:23-24 Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

Disciples were all given healing gift (Matt 10):

And having called to him his twelve disciples, he gave to them power over unclean spirits, so as to be casting them out, and to be healing every sickness, and every malady.

`And, going on, proclaim saying that, the reign of the heavens hath come nigh;

infirm ones be healing, lepers be cleansing, dead be raising, demons be casting out — freely ye did receive, freely give. Matthew 10:1,8 (YLT)

Healing… after the Cross/Resurrection:

After the Resurrection, in the new, growing church, it is apparent the gift of healing was given to select, but not all believers, as demonstrated below in 1 Corinthians 12.

for to one through the Spirit hath been given a word of wisdom, and to another a word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit;

and to another faith in the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healings in the same Spirit;

and to another in-workings of mighty deeds; and to another prophecy; and to another discernings of spirits; and to another [divers] kinds of tongues; and to another interpretation of tongues:

[are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all powers?

have all gifts of healings? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

and desire earnestly the better gifts; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 29-31 (YLT)

In modern day, whether in person or through the testimony of documentaries such as those made by filmmaker, Darren Wilson [Finger of God, Furious Love, Father of Lights, etc], we can see evangelical teams witnessing on the streets around the world and healing the sick and lame. There are times not everyone is healed, however. It seems to be determined by the will of the Spirit for His purposes.

Yet, it also seems there are some unique individuals who are able to heal every person they lay hands on. This would indicate they have the gift of healing, specifically.

Perfectly in line with Scripture, we might conclude God can use anyone to heal when He wishes to reach the lost. However, some in the body of Christ possess the gift of healing to benefit both the body of Christ and non-believers.

Revelation 12 Study

IMG_1966

[Readers, this post is very informal, and may not be final. It is my personal notes from studies I did on September 23, October 5, and October 21, on Revelation 12.]

9/23/2017

September 23, 2017, was a day the constellations demonstrated the Revelation 12 passage:

REV 12.1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: REV 12.2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

On September 23, I saved a screenshot (above) from my cell phone app, StarTrackerLite, which shows in real time the positions and movement of the stars and planets. The constellations show Virgo (i.e., the ‘woman’) with the sun at her neck, the moon at her feet, etc, just as Rev. 12 described.

Studying that photo, I noticed two things.

  1. The position of Jupiter does make her look pregnant, or as if she is giving birth! Jupiter is the ‘King’ planet, so Virgo is pregnant with the King! That makes the identity of Virgo, Mary, and in greater, symbolic terms, ancient Israel! She was the one who brought Christ forth into the world. However, she is also the one who KNOWS He is the King. Therefore, through the birth, the woman transforms to become Israel of God, the family of God, now followers of Messiah.
  2. Note the position of constellation Virgo – under the constellation Leo. Virgo is literally ‘following’ Leo in her trajectory. Again, the symbolism of Virgo as Israel of God, following Leo, the Lion. The Bible tells us Christ is the Lion of Judah! The constellations, in sync with Scripture, identity Virgo as those following Christ.

The significance of the above in relation to Rev. 12, I believe, is that ultimately, the woman who will be under attack by the ‘dragon’ is going to be Israel of God, in modern times the body of Christ, His church.

10/5/2017

Studying Rev 12:6, trying to make sense of the ‘wilderness’ to which the ‘woman’ flees for protection from the dragon for ‘1260 days’.

Researching definitions of ‘wilderness’ in Greek, in Strong’s Bible dictionary. All shown below.* Note, most interesting is the comparative word in Strongs, #5561. See below in blue.

Oddly, upon studying these word meanings, a song started ‘playing’ in my head: ‘This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York islands… from the Redwood forest to the gulf stream waters… this land was made for you and me.’ 

Hmmm. I haven’t thought of that song in perhaps years. A message from the Spirit? He often speaks to me by putting songs in my mind.

America certainly did fit the descriptions (from Strong’s for ‘wilderness’, see below) at the time the colonists came… She was ‘an expansive land, largely unpopulated (at the time), between two limits…’ (either way you look at it we are still between two limits: 2 oceans on east/west coasts… 2 neighbors on north/south coasts).

America happens to contain the densest population of the followers of Messiah… so far, still a land of religious freedom. If America is potentially the land made to protect the ‘woman’, then what does the ‘1260 days’ really mean?

And when is that time ‘up’?

10/21/2017

Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast forth to the earth, he pursued the woman who did bring forth the male, rev.12.14 and there were given to the woman two wings of the great eagle, that she may fly to the wilderness*, to her place, where she is nourished a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent; rev.12.15 and the serpent did cast forth after the woman, out of his mouth, water as a river, that he may cause her to be carried away by the river, rev.12.16 and the land did help the woman, and the land did open its mouth and did swallow up the river, that the dragon did cast forth out of his mouth; rev.12.17 and the dragon was angry against the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed, those keeping the commands of God, and having the testimony of Jesus Christ. (YLT)

Revelation 12:13-17 again mentions the wilderness, a land which protects the ‘woman who brought forth the male’ for a period of time. Having established I believe the woman to represent both Mary and Israel of God… or, all who follow Christ, then it may be logical to presume the land which houses the largest numbers of His followers might, in fact, be just that land.

In these last centuries, the primary land protecting Christians has been America. Is it a coincidence Rev. 12 mentions the eagle helping the woman get to the wilderness land that protects her, and America’s national symbol is the American Bald Eagle?

Indeed, if you consider the words above from Revelation 12, America fits the description. She was an expansive, largely uninhabited land at the time of her founding, she has taken in the largest number of Christian refugees, prevented persecution of Christians within her borders and provided a safe and prosperous place for them to live and thrive. Certainly, there are other countries that also continue to protect Christians, but none more pronounced than the U.S. in the last nearly two and a half centuries.

As to the very specific, albeit cryptic, reference to ‘a time, and times, and half a time’, during which the land is able to protect the woman, we need to consider the meaning. There are many who have taught in solidarity this is a reference to the 3 1/2 years of the tribulation. But, could it also (or instead) be referring to the few hundred years one nation has offered refuge and protection to the people of God in the last centuries?

IF the land is America, if we agree she has protected the largest number of Christ-followers as indicated in Revelation 12… we can look at the dates the first Christians fled to her in search of religious freedom and see if the years since then might come anywhere close to fitting into the ‘time, times and half a time’ pattern.

First, there was a lost Colony that first arrived around 1585 (Approx. 432 years from present.) The enduring Colonies were established beginning 1607, with Jamestown, a business venture. (Approx. 410 years from present.)

Puritans arrived Plymouth in 1620, desiring to start a new, pure church, fleeing the corrupt church of England. (Approx. 397 years from present.)

Based on the numbers above, 450 years fits the pattern of a ‘time, times, and half a time’. With that in mind, the above 3 scenarios would yield 18 years, 40 years, or 53 years remaining, respectively.

This is just something to think about, by no means a conclusive study. It is merely one possibility to ponder. I’ve learned over the years, prophetic passages can apply to multiple events or time periods, so one meaning does not necessarily cancel out another.

Research, from Strong’s Bible dictionaries:

*Wilderness: (g2048) ερημος, — er’-ay-mos; of uncertain affinity; lonesome, i.e. (by implication) waste (usually as a noun, (5561)* (χωρα) being implied): — desert, desolate, solitary, wilderness.

Transliterated: eremos;  Pronounced: er’-ay-mos of uncertain affinity; TDNT 2:657; adjective Trans & freq in the AV- wilderness 32 times, desert 13 times, desolate 4 times, solitary 1 time; 50 occurrences of Greek word in AV

1. solitary, lonely, desolate, uninhabited a. used of places 1. a desert, wilderness 2. deserted places, lonely regions 3. an uncultivated region fit for pasturage b. used of persons [Also, ominously:] 1. deserted by others 2. deprived of the aid and protection of others, especially of friends, acquaintances, kindred 3. bereft a. of a flock deserted by the shepherd b. of a woman neglected by her husband, from whom the husband withholds himself.

*(5561) χωρα, — kho’-rah; feminine of a derivative of the base of (5490) (χασμα) through the idea of empty expanse; room, i.e. a space of territory (more or less extensive; often including its inhabitant): — coast, county, fields, ground, land, region.

Transliterated: chora;  Pronounced: kho’-rah from a derivative of the base of 5490 through the idea of empty expanse; n f Trans. & freq. in the AV- country 15 times, region 5 times, land 3 times, field 2 times, ground 1 time, coast 1 time; 27 occurrences of Greek word in AV,

1. the space lying between two places or limits. [Blogger’s note: could that be between 2 major oceans, OR with 2 border neighbors?? Does any other country in the world fit this description?]

2. a region or country i.e. a tract of land a. the (rural) region surrounding a city or village, the country b. the region with towns and villages which surround a metropolis 3. land which is ploughed or cultivated, ground.

All quoted verses and research from:

God; Strong, James. A Complete Bible Reference Study Library (4 in 1): [Illustrated]: KJV Bible with Strongs markup, Strongs Concordance & Dictionaries, Lexicon Definitions, and Bible word index (Kindle Locations 122365-285296). Bestbooks. Kindle Edition.