How do we, as Christians, disagree with another person or teacher in Jesus Christ without being disagreeable? This was my question to Holy Spirit over the last few mornings and He’s given me answers that are helpful to me and quite simple. I know it gives me peace and I pray you find it useful as well.
When the information shared is a personal testimony, pray for the person faithfullyand pray the Father would bring people around the individual to disciple them and teach them the Word. If they have a degree of fame, it’s extremely important, because the vultures will come in attempting to “profit”. Satan will not turn loose without a fight and although he can’t determine a person’s ultimate destiny, he can cripple their testimony and hinder their effectiveness for the Kingdom. You do not want to be on his teamin that or any endeavor. If the profession of faith is insincere, allow God to deal with it.
Your responsewill likely make little or no difference to the famed individual, but what about those who are “considering Christ” on the sidelines of a forum you’re in? Based on an unkind response you make about an individual they may look up to, they decide to keep on walking and not risk putting themselves out there. Their thinking, whether correct or not, might go something like this . . . “Wow, if he or she isn’t good enough, I’m certainly not.” Remember, you likely don’t have access to the individual you have a question about to begin with . . . it’s those who are reading and hearing, considering Christ, who will be helped or harmed by your response.
We forget, if we’ve walked with Jesus for a time, how intimidating it can be when you are a new baby and are confronted with questions you don’t have answers for. Even worse, you think you do and you spout off with something you were taught or heard that’s totally wrong, it’s happened to all of us at some point. This is true for every New Believer and even more urgent for those with a measure of fame. After all, at this point all they’ve agreed and claim to know is, “I Believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God and His Death, Burial and Resurrection and so I’m saved and Have Eternal Life” . . . PRAY!
If you have a genuine concern about the authenticity of their faith(that’s a scary plank to walk), after prayer and onlyif you feel led to do soby Holy Spirit. . .speak your opinion in love, making it clear it’s your opinion and only God has all knowledge. If you feel caution is in order, counsel caution in kindness and with specificity . . . not dredging up behavior or statements before their conversion. I shudder to think of the things I said and did before I came to Christ and even when I had fallen away for a time. I certainly wouldn’t do those things now and it also took me some time to clean out those weeds and bad habits out of my life. I’m still working on it over 60 years later. Don’t condemn people for leftover bad fruit . . . wait and see if new fruit takes it place.
Questionable Teaching . . . if you perceive the teaching from another Brother or Sister is incorrect . . . Pray. . . and when or if given release by Holy Spirit . . . approach them privately in kindness and a spirit of Love! If the issue is one of eternal import, stand your ground and do your very best to be persuasive in the Spirit Jesus taught . . . in love. Whether of eternal significance or an interpretation of prophecy, either agree or agree to disagree agreeablywithoutpersonal animus, pride, anger, control, dissensions or divisions creeping in for these are the works of the flesh.
If the issue you are dealing with is a teaching from a well-known person within the Christian Community, yet you realize what they’re teaching is confusing at best and unscriptural at worst . . . Pray! If you have researched the Word and feel led by Holy Spirit, not a personal prideful spirit, offer a counter explanation without Rancor, Pride or Judgementalism about the teaching in the forum in which it is being offered. Leave the personal commentary out if you can’t genuinely say something nice. Make your comments Absolutely without personal accusation or offering your own judgement about someone’s Eternal Life or walk with God.
Perhaps you might consider something like this . . .
My concern is _____ (you fill in the blanks), this specific teaching. Scripture says this (quote the passage and the reference) yet the teaching doesn’t agree with the passages. I’ve gone back through them to be certain I’ve understood thoroughly what has been said and what Scripture teaches and what I find is this __________ in these passages _______. You might want to take a look again for yourself, I think you’ll be enlightened.
Discernment is first knowing the Word, researching the scriptures for yourself and comparing what is being taught directly to the Word of God. Once you’ve done your research, then ask Holy Spirit with a seeking heart to open your eyes anew to a clear understanding of the passage . . . Ask Him to show you truth . . . He will lead you into all truth. This is the process of discernment and practice makes you better, but not perfect in this life. We all have blind spots of our own making and areas in which we refuse to listen to anyone about, including Holy Spirit.We’re being transformedby the Washing of the Water of the Word, but He’s not done with us yet.
We have individual responsibility for what we believe, whether we realize it or not.We must at all times do our very best to understand the Word and assume responsibility for our own understanding, not simply accepting what someone says, no matter their reputation. We must not be swayed by personality, length of service, popularity or how a teaching or individual makes us “feel”. Emotions can be untrustworthy at times and Satan is a past master at utilizing emotion to rope people into falsehood. Check and re-check the Scripture and listen to Holy Spirit. Loyalty to the Word of God must always trump any individual’s reputation as well as our personal feelings about the messenger, whether good or bad. We can all learn from every individual we encounter, even if the lesson we learn is never to behave in such a manner. Eat the Meat and Spit Out the Bones!
Every Believer is responsible for remaining on the Narrow Path Jesus and the Disciplesoutlined in the Scriptures. First, we come to faith by The Gospel to receive Eternal Life by Believing in Jesus Christ and His death, burial and Resurrection. Secondly, we should continue on the path in discipleship and sanctification. It is this second portion of our walk where we gain or lose blessings in this life and rewards in Eternity. It is wonderful to listen to and be instructed by Pastors, Teachers, Prophets and Evangelists for they are gifts to the Body. However, they are human beings just as we are and Holy Spirit resides in us just as he does in them and He Alone is the Source of All Wisdom in our world today.
How do I “check myself” to be certain I’m responding in a Godly way to others within and without the Body of Christ? First, look inside yourself. What am I thinking, how am I feeling – introspection at this point will tell you much. Is your own internal response evidencing the Fruit of the Spirit – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control?If not and you’re just really angry and want to strangle people, you’re likely exhibiting the Fruit of the Flesh. I know all about the Righteous Anger argument, but be careful with that one, it’s a slippery slope. Yes, Jesus could do it but you’re not Him and neither am I. Stop what you are doing and seek the Father until you can bring yourself into agreement with His Opinionand the correct way to express it, exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit . . . then respond.
This is not encouragement to accept or condone anything unscripturaland we will likely never agree with everyone on what is scriptural in this lifetime. Nonetheless, you are responsible for Truth and the Word of God in your own life and how you communicate with others both in and out of the Body. No other Brother, Sister, Pastor, Teacher or Prophet will stand with you at the Judgement Seat of Christto determine your rewards . . . yes the Bible is replete with teachings of eternal rewards.
Love and be kind to your Brothers and Sisters, we’ll be together for Eternity.
Thanks for taking time for me . . .
Sherry Driskell Griffin
P. S. If this was a Blessing to you . . . be a Blessing and pass it along!
Why are they Mysteries? In the Christian world today, the mysteries are taught from childhood, but this was not the case in Jesus’ day. The mystery concepts were completely foreign and not understood to those who sat at Jesus’ feet to hear His Words! The ancients were taught to provide their own sacrifice to the Priests at the Temple for their sins . . . repeatedly!
The people who lived during the Age of the Law and Old Testament were given no understanding of the concepts which form the Church and Salvation. We can see now, in hindsight, there were references to them in the Scriptures of their day, but they could not see the truths, for it was not time for their revealing.
When Jesus began to teach the supporting elements of the mysteries to the people it was foreign to their old sacrificial temple system. The focus had shifted to individuals, a direct relationship with God and a permanent and final payment for sins. The foundational truths of the Church Age would not be fully disclosed to Paul until Jesus met with Him in the Arabian desert after the crucifixion and took him to Heaven for a visit.
The old sacrificial system had come to a close and Jesus’ death was the final and permanent sacrifice which would begin the Church Age and the New Covenant. The debt of sin for all mankind had been paid. Only through the mysteries and their foundational truths, can we fully comprehend the radical shift the Church Age brought. The new insights threatened the Priesthood, with its daily sacrifices, the system of law which they used to control the people and the prestige the rabbis enjoyed. Radical indeed . . . and not to be tolerated by the leadership!
Their denial of Jesus as Messiah and His teachings led to the Crucifixion and ultimately the judgement of Israel, with Paul designated as the Apostle to the Gentiles. A new age of administration with all its mysteries for a new life in Christ was conveyed in the Epistles of Paul. Although veiled to the ancients, the mysteries are all supported in both the Old Testament and the New in Jesus’ teaching.
Even the divine beings we call angels around God’s throne did not understand what was occurring or their part in it. They longed to know the plans and purposes of God revealed in the mysteries. Paul would enable all, angels, prophets and mankind to understand them fully once He’d spent time with Jesus in the Arabian desert and been taken to the Third Heaven, the Throne Room of God. The First Heaven is the air above our heads, the Second Heaven, we term Outer Space and the Third – the Place of God.
1 Peter 1:12 ESV (Bold, Underline & Parenthesis Emphasis Mine)
12 It was revealed to them (angels) that they were serving not themselves but you (the Body of Christ), in the things (mysteries) that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
MYSTERY #1– THE INCARNATION
What is the Incarnation? Jesus was born as a human baby. While on the earth He was not God, but fully human.
Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, was born in the Flesh and sent to redeem mankind from Sin. Since Jesus was born as a man, He gained the legal right as Kinsman Redeemer to redeem mankind. Ancient custom required a “relation” or kinsman be given the opportunity to redeem a relative who had sold themselves and their possessions into slavery. Jesus, the 2nd Adam, became a Kinsman with legal right to redeem mankind and the earth lost by the 1stAdam. Jesus was Fully Divine, yet became fully Man and upon His resurrection and ascension became – The God Man – both fully God and fully glorified mankind!
The Number 1 is Ordinal/Deity– 1 represents the First in a Sequence and Divinity. The Incarnation, Jesus’ birth, had to occur first for all the other mysteries to come to fruition. Jesus was One with Us, mankind, on earth, fully man throughout His life and the Crucifixion. Now, after the Resurrection and Ascension He is both Fully Man and God, seated at the Right Hand of the Father in the position of Authority!
1 Timothy 3:16 KJV – (Bold and Parenthesis Emphasis Mine)
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness (incarnation): God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
MYSTERY #2 – THE INDWELLING CHRIST
What is the Indwelling Christ? Jesus lives in every Believer, every Day by the power of His Holy Spirit once we are born again.
Jesus Christ, the Hope of Glory, comes to live within mankind at the New Birth by His Holy Spirit. Once we Believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ to shed His Blood in payment for our personal sin, we are “Born Again“. Our Spirit is made new by Christ and sealed with Holy Spirit until our bodies are ultimately redeemed. Holy Spirit is our guarantee of this present reality.
By virtue of this exchange, His Promise deposited within us of Holy Spirit, we are made the Righteousness of Christ Jesus and have the guarantee of Jesus’ Return for us to take us home with Him. We are Saved by Faith in His finished work on the cross and a permanent member of the Body of Christ.
The ultimate truth is, we are saved by Faith Alone in Christ Alone for there is NOTHING we can add to or take away from Salvation achieved when we Believe in Christ, for He now Dwells in us by His Spirit. It is this concept – Faith Alone in Christ Alone (the latin – Sola Fide’) which formed the basis for the Protestant reformation and split from the Catholic Church.
The Number 2 represents Agreement– We Come Into Agreement with the Person, the Nature and the Position of Christ when we are Born Again.
John 3:9-10 ESV – (Bold & Underline Emphasis Mine)
1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
The Scriptures teach Justification by Grace and our having been made Heirs of Eternal Life. Our Souls (mind, intellect) are renewed or sanctified by Holy Spirit and our Flesh (Bodies) are changed at the Resurrection and Rapture. Thus, our Spiritis saved when we are Born Again. Our Soul (mind, intellect) is being saved, by sanctification through Holy Spirit and the washing of the Water of the Word. Our Fleshwill be saved and changed to incorruptible at the Rapture. Thus, it is said, “Our Spirit is saved, our Soul is being saved and our Flesh will be Changed.” We are Saved, we are Being Saved and we Will Be Changed!
Titus 3:4-7 ESV – (Bold, Underline & Parenthesis Emphasis Mine)
4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit (Sanctification), 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
The Flesh is not renewed, but CHANGED . . . to Imperishable!
51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep(die), but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
We cannot save ourselves by works, otherwise, it would have been unnecessary for Jesus to die. Israel with its full complement of Laws and Commandments are the example to prove mankind is incapable of living a Holy Life unblemished by sin in their own strength. Salvation is accomplished in and through Christ Alone when we Believe. We are to be Holy and live a Holy Life according to Scripture to the best of our ability by the power of the Holy Spirit once we are Born Again, but this is the result of Salvation called Sanctification.
Now you are the body of Christand individually members of it.
MYSTERY #3– THE CHURCH
What is The Church? All who have been Born Again by faith in Jesus Christ’ finished work on the Cross, without regard to nationality, are The Church.
Gentiles and Hebrews who accept Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross for payment of their sin debt become a living organism called The Church, the Body of Christ. The Church is Not Israel nor is it Gentile, but a new category for the Church Age – The Body of Christ!
The concept of the Church was hidden from the Old Testament prophets and seers. They never foresaw this entity, nor the lengthy distance of time between the Sufferings of Christ (Crucifixion) and the Glory of Christ (Ascension, Enthronement and Second Coming). The Dispensation of Grace, the time between the Crucifixion of Jesus and the Resurrection and Translation or Rapture of the Church is called the Church Age.
The Number 3 represents the Trinity for the Church, at its Translation, becomes one with Jesus as His Body and His Joint Heirs. The Church and its Kingdom in Christ is Spiritual, of the Heavenly realm and its rewards are Eternal Life with Christ in the Heavenly Kingdom in Glorified Bodies, like unto Jesus.
1I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: (1) that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 (2) that he was buried, (3) that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
MYSTERY #4 – THE BLINDNESS OF ISRAEL
What is the Blindness of Israel? The eyes of Israel have been blinded (veiled) in judgement to prevent their seeing the truth of Jesus as Messiah and Savior for a period of time because of their rejection of Messiah.
Failure to recognize Jesus as the Messiah prophesied in Scripture resulted in the Partial Blindness of Israel to the Gospel, a judgement, until the last Gentile is come in. The folly of Israel, God used as an opportunity to raise up a better kingdom, not of this earth, the Kingdom to which one belongs by Faith in Christ.
Those of Israel may choose to be part of the Church and have done so, but they are in a great minority until the blindness is removed. How is the blindness removed? Repentance – Changing their mind about “Who Jesus is” and “What He has done”! Any Individual, irrespective of nationality, who seeks the truth about who and what Jesus is will find the truth. When the Blindness is removed, Israel, as a nation, will realize Jesus is Messiah! If this occurs for individuals before the Resurrection and Rapture, they become members of the Church, the Body of Christ and heirs to a better promise of the Heavenly Kingdom.
Israel, like all nations, is dealt with corporately, the Nation of Israel as a whole, but also as individuals. Any person who seeks and finds the truth of Jesus Christ as Messiah is given the opportunity to come into His Body, the Church. The Judgements on any nation are corporate judgements. This does not preclude an individual within the nation, from seeing the truth, repenting and coming to Faith in Christ.
The Number 4 is representative of the Earth – Israel is of the Earth, an earthly entity for they sought and could only envision an Earthly Kingdom.
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion (Heaven) the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (Israel): 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. 28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes (Abraham, Isaac & Jacob). 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
NOTE CAREFULLY: The Blindness of Israel is Partial and Temporary. Never allow a false understanding of this mystery to espouse Anti-Semitism. Do not come into agreement with this heresy. The Blindness is for a period certain and for a purpose. God will redeem ALL Israel. A failure to understand this results in the false teaching of Replacement Theology, a claim Israel has been cast aside permanently by God and replaced with the Church. This teaching is false and those who espouse it make God a liar. It is anathema, a cursed teaching, and it is wrong! Take no part in this evil.
But I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers (the Unconditional Abrahamic Covenant), whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.”
Israel is the nation chosen by God to be His people, His Heritage on earth! God chose . . . and His decision is final!
For the Lordwill not forsake his people (Israel); he will not abandon his heritage (Israel);
Yes, Israel has been under judgement for denying Christ, disobedience and worshipping other Gods, but His character and nature is mercy and His love is steadfast. God will fulfill His promises to Abraham, Isaac and to Jacob in and through the Nation of Israel.
31 For the Lord will not cast off forever, 32 but, though he cause grief (judgement), he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love (His Character & Nature);
God foreknew everything which would occur and made provision for man’s disobedience, all of mankind, including Israel. The Provision is Jesus Christ and His death on the Cross to pay the sin debt for all mankind, if you will only receive His Gift!
God has not rejected his people (Israel) whom he foreknew.
The Abrahamic Covenant is an Unconditional Covenant in its ultimate fulfillment. Yes, Israel had responsibilities within the Covenant, but their failure to adhere to their responsibilities did not make the Covenant void or of no value, it brought judgement. The Covenant contains the permanentright to the Land of Israel with its Biblically defined borders. The Covenant also promised Abraham his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sands of the sea. GOD SAID IT . . . IT WLL BE DONE!
42 then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham (the Abrahamic Covenant), and I will remember the land. 43 But the land shall be abandoned by them and enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them, and they shall make amends for their iniquity, because they spurned my rules and their soul abhorred my statutes.44 Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not spurn them, neither will I abhor them so as to destroy them utterly and break my covenant with them, for I am the Lord their God. 45 But I will for their sake remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the Lord.”
The Land of Israel, the Promised Land, with its borders as outlined in Scripture will be restored to Israel. Any who seek to divide God’s land will come under judgement. The judgement for any action taken against Israel, even when God uses the action as a punishment, will be visited upon the perpetrator. Be careful what you do to Israel, for whatever is done to Israel, the nation who caused Israel to suffer will be punished in like manner, but with greatly increased measure.
Joel 3:2-3 ESV – (Bold, Underline & Parenthesis Emphasis Mine)
2 I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Judgement). And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land, 3 and have cast lots for my people, and have traded a boy for a prostitute, and have sold a girl for wine and have drunk it.
Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land (the Promised Land) before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?
God does not Lie!
Numbers 23:19 ESV – (Bold Emphasis Mine)
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
Whatever is done to Israel will be done to that nation. The end result of the conflict in the Middle East, which has now been joined by all the nations of the world via the United Nations, has already been decided. It is already done, but has not yet been made manifest. Those who attempt to destroy Israel will be unsuccessful and they will be destroyed.
15 For the day of the Lord (Jacob’s Trouble – The Tribulation) is near upon all the nations.
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
your deedsshall return on your own head.
16 For as you have drunk on my holy mountain,
so all the nations shall drink continually;
they shall drink and swallow,
and shall be as though they had never been.
17 But in Mount Zion (Jerusalem) there shall be those who escape (the Remnant),
and it shall be holy,
and the house of Jacob (Israel) shall possess their own possessions.
18 The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
and the house of Joseph a flame,
and the house of Esau (Arab Nations)stubble;
they (Israel) shall burn them and consume them,
and there shall be no survivor for the house of Esau,
for the Lord has spoken.
A nation and an individual’s destiny is determined by their position toward Israel. There is only one scriptural position to adopt about Israel. Come into agreement with God, for His Promise to, and Covenant with, Abraham still stands unbroken today. Agree with God or be broken on God’s altar, called Israel!
2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about,
When they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
3 And in that day (The Tribulation) will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people:
All that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces,
Though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
4 In that day, saith the Lord,
I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness:
And I will open mine eyes (forgiveness and mercy) upon the house of Judah,
And will smite every horse of the people with blindness.
MYSTERY #5 – The Translation of the Church
What is the Translation of the Church? The Dead who Believed in Christ will be raised and Living Believers will be Translated (Transformed) in the Twinkling of an Eye into Glorified Bodies (Divine) and be taken from this Earth to the Third Heaven.
The Number 5 represents Grace. The Resurrection of the Dead in Christ and the Translation of Living Believers will represent the Grace of God to change the Church, to be like His Glorified Body in the Ascension . . . a Divine Body! The final phase of a Believer’s Salvation is victory over death, the changing (translation) of the fleshly body to the Imperishable, Glorified Body and the removal from the earth to be with Christ forever!
1 Corinthians 15:50-57 ESV
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
MYSTERY #6 – THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY
What is the Mystery of Iniquity? The Power of Sin to control individuals and ultimately cause the death of man is wielded by Satan and his minions to rule the earth. This power is given to Satan by God for a limited period of time, yet he remains under God’s control. This temporary Power of Sin over life and death is the Mystery of Iniquity.
The Revelation of the Man of Sin is the beginning of the defeat of the Mystery of Iniquity. This evil entity is variously called Little Horn (Daniel 7:8), King of Fierce Countenance (Daniel 8:23), willful king (Daniel 11:36), the prince that shall come (Daniel 9:26), man of Sin (2 Thessalonians 2:3), Son of Perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3), that Wicked One (2 Thessalonians 2:8), the Beast out of the Sea (Revelation 13:1) or The Antichrist (1 John 2:18). Only the Apostle John in the Epistles 1 and 2 John refer to the Man of Sin as Antichrist.
The Restrainer of Iniquity is the power of Holy Spirit magnified through Sealed Believers. The Son of Perdition, as Satan is termed initially in Revelation, cannot be revealed prior to the Rapture of the Church. The Wicked One is restrained from full manifestation presently by the magnified power of Holy Spirit through the sealed Body of Believers we know as the Church, the Body of Christ.
The Number 6 is the Number of Man – the Number of Antichrist is 666 or man in his most evil (tripled) form. The Day of the Lord is also called Jacob’s Trouble or The Tribulation. It is during this time when Iniquity will be shown in its full manifestation. This is also the time when the Wrath of God and the Lamb will be poured out in full measure to destroy both Sin and Iniquity among men and the Divine Fallen. Satan will be bound for 1,000 years at the end of The Tribulation.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (THE DAY OF THE LORD) shall not come, except there come a falling away (apostasia) first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; (Why?) because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
MYSTERY #7 – THE BRIDE OF CHRIST
What is The Mystery of The Bride of Christ? The Church is not only the Body of Christ, but also His Bride, Flesh of His Flesh and Bone of His Bone – ONE WITH CHRIST FOR ETERNITY!
Just as Adam’s body produced Eve, his Bride, the Body of Jesus Christ, the Seed of the Woman, was sown into the ground to raise up His Bride. The Church is not only the Body of Christ, neither Israel or Gentile, but also The Bride of Christ. The Church is Christ’ Bride and His Body, Joint Heirs, Priests & Kings to rule and reign with Him Forever! The Church is also a City – The New Jerusalem – with Jesus as the Chief Cornerstone!
The Number 7 denotes Perfection and Completion – Adorned, decked out, dressed in Bridal garments, the Robes of Righteousness given by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:30-32 KJV
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
The Bride is also individually Living & Breathing Stones which will be assembled as a city – the New Jerusalem – a Spiritual Kingdom!
1 Peter 2:4-6 ESV
4 As you come to him,a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
The New Jerusalem . . . Breathing and Living Stones . . . the Bride of Christ!
Rev 21:9-11 KJV
9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
There is a duality in Israel and the Church. Both are loved by and created for God. Israel was created as an earthly entity and given the assignment to bring “The Nations” or Gentiles back to Yahweh. When Israel failed in their assignment and did not recognize Jesus as Messiah, they were sent into exile as a judgement and The Church was born to be the Body and Bride of Jesus Christ, an eternal Priesthood. The Church is made up of “all mankind from every nation who will accept Christ’ finished work on the Cross” . . . He Died for your sins and mine!
The Body of Christ inherits a Spiritual, not an earthly Kingdom as Israel does. The Church was created to do the work Israel failed to do while in the Land, evangelize the nations and bring them back to faith in Yahweh. The Church is not a replacement for Israel, but a higher expression of Faith in and through Christ – a Spiritual Entity, not constrained by nationality. The Church will operate until such time as Christ removes them in the Rapture and returns His focus to Israel during Jacob’s Trouble where The Remnant will come to faith in Jesus the Christ as Ha’ Mashiach.
Israel retains all the promises of the Unconditional Abrahamic Covenant (the Land Covenant) and will have their physical land on earth restored to them both now and in its full measure during the Millennium. The current nation of Israel returned to the land in Apostasy, as prophesied, but will be brought to faith in Christ as Messiah during Jacob’s Trouble.
Do not concern yourself with who is “true Israel” and who is not, God already knows and He will take care of any imposters. The Remnant of the nation of Israel who come to faith in Messiah during Jacob’s Trouble will repopulate the land of Israel with the borders as outlined in Scripture and rule their Kingdom with Yeshua Ha’Mashiach (Jesus the Messiah) as their King for 1,000 years. All the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant will be fulfilled during this time.
The Body of Christ is the beneficiary of the Eternal or Everlasting Covenant we term also the New Covenant. The Church will be removed from the earth once its work is completed and taken HOME as The Body and Bride of Christ to rule and reign with Him in Glorified Bodies forever.
Yes, the Bride will return with Christ to Earth at the final stage of His Second Coming at the end of Jacob’s Trouble. The Church will then possess Glorified Bodies, in His Service, not as mortal mankind who populates the Millennium, for we shall always be with the Lord. The center of the earth both now and during the Millennium is Jerusalem.
1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 ESV
16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Thanks for taking time for me . . .
Sherry Driskell Griffin
P. S. If this was a Blessing to you . . . be a Blessing and pass it along!
What is the BEMA? The Bema to which Paul refers, was the podium for awarding prizes to competitors in an athletic competition. In our current Olympic games we call it the “medal stand” where prizes are awarded and honor bestowed. Many current translations have chosen the word Judgement Seat of Christ and thus the BEMA is seen as a place of judgement. It is judgement for the life you have lived for Christ and the awards you receive for the things you have done for others. All judgement for salvation has already been paid in full by Christ on the Cross.
The rewards given are our qualifications for responsibilities and opportunities in the Kingdom, they are not badges or medals warn to impress or to establish a caste system of Believers, one better than another. The Joy of the Event is the acknowledgement of those things we have done well on earth, the kind word to the struggling Mom, the encouragement to the young trainee or the love and care for aging parents. This only adds to the greatest reward of all – for we will be home with Jesus and the Father.
The Bema event will occur immediately following the rapture or resurrection of the church after it is caught up to be with the Lord in the air. Scripture is clear the rewards are given at the resurrection and the resurrection of Believers in Christ occurs at the Rapture. The Resurrection and rewarding of Old Testament Saints occurs after The Tribulation. When the Bride returns with Yeshua at the final stage of the Second Coming, she is already found robed in Bright, Clean Fine Linen, a reward and clothing of those at the Bema.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV (Bold and Underline Emphasis Mine)
17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
THE REVEALING OF REWARDS
Paul speaks specifically of “building on a foundation” which is Jesus Christ, This is the work which he, himself or others have begun in order to build the Body of Christ. It is the works or the fruits of our labor after salvation which will be revealed whether for gain or loss of reward, but not for punishment.
The disclosure by fire should remind you of the Old Testament acknowledgment of the acceptance of an offering. Thus, we bring an offering of the “works” based on our love for Yeshua and the fire will test to see if it is burned up or remains in order to garner a reward. Valuable things (gold, silver, precious stones) remain, for those are things that cost us something whether money, time, prayer or spirit and are done at the direction of the Spirit. The things done in the flesh or those done for ourselves or for the praise of others will be burned as wood, hay and straw. These are the good ideas – not the God ideas. The term “saved, but only as through fire” is a reference to the evaluation of our works in the fire of the Judgement Seat of Christ.
Phaneros = Manifest – Be Revealed, to Make Evident, Clear
Photizo= Day – The Light of Day, To Bring Light in Order to Make Visible
Phaneroo= Disclose – To Manifest or Reveal or Disclose
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 ESV (Parenthesis and Underline Emphasis Mine)
10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest (phaneros), for the Day (photizo) will disclose (phaneroo) it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
Paul used the Greek “Bema”, translated judgement in the English. The translation is unfortunate, for it brings to the western mind a place where sin is judged and penalty ascribed. Paul often spoke in terms of athletic competition, striving to win the race and receive the victor’s crown. The Greek athletic competition to which Paul refers, the Isthmian Games, would be most similar to our modern day Olympic games. This is the Believer’s opportunity to receive the reward for those things done in the body.
This is the purpose of the Bema Seat and portrays a time of rewards or loss of rewards after an examination. It is not a time where believers are judged for sin or adjudged punishment. This would be inconsistent with the finished work of Christ on the Cross. He paid the full penalty for all our sins; past, present and future. This has nothing to do with punishment, but there will be “loss of rewards” for those who did not persevere until the end of their time on earth or for others who did things “for” Yeshua, but with wrong motive. If the purpose was to gain notoriety, money or self-aggrandizement there will be no reward at the Bema.
The Doctrine of Rewards must never be confused with the free gift of Salvation. The Bema is in heaven, thus those who are being rewarded have already received Eternal Life based on their faith in Yeshua’s finished work on the cross. The rewards at the Judgement Seat of Christ or Bema are for those genuine acts of selflessness done on Yeshua’s behalf, freely and with a heart to encourage and magnify Yeshua while on the earth. The works are done only by and through the Grace given to us by the Holy Spirit lest any man should boast.
Bema Seat – Bestowing of Rewards on Believers in Heaven
Romans 14:10 ESV (Parenthesis and Underline Emphasis Mine) Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment (Bema) seat of God.
2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV (Parenthesis and Underline Emphasis Mine)
For we must all appear before the judgment (Bema) seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body (our Works) whether good or evil.
KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE IN JUDGEMENT AND REWARD
Once you understand the concept of the Bema this will enable you to fully see the point being made when we are chastised in Scripture for “judging” a brother and assured we will stand before the Bema for righteous judgement. Christians are not offered the privilege of criticizing another’s ministry or lack thereof on earth, for this judgement can only be rendered by Yeshua Himself, who knows “the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
We are required as a Body of Believers to call those to account who are acting in direct disobedience to the written Word of Yeshua in Scripture regarding personal behavior or a teaching which is antithetical to Scripture. No question should remain whether the Believer is acting contrary to Scripture. This is not done for those who simply have a difference of doctrinal interpretation, but a very clear teaching or action opposed absolutely in Scripture. This is a very serious issue and, if appropriate, must be done strictly in accordance with the Biblical admonition of dealing with a brother or sister in Christ. In effect, you are disciplining someone else’s children, the Father of us all, Yahweh. If it is necessary, it must be approached prayerfully and exactly as we are instructed in Scripture by Yeshua Himself in this four step process spelled out in Matthew.
1. Go to your Brother or Sister and tell him his fault privately
2. If he does not listen, take 1 or 2 others along and speak with him again
3. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church (Body of Believers)
4. If he refuses to listen even to the church do not associate with him any longer
Matthew 18:15-17 ESV (Parenthesis and Underline Emphasis Mine)
15 “If your brother sins against you, (Step 1) go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone (privately). If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But (Step 2) if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 (Step 3) If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church (Body of Believers you are submitted to – this is not the Internet). And (Step 4) if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector (do not associate with him).
The purpose of this process is not to punish, control or embarrass a brother, but to bring them up short in their transgression and restore them to fellowship. Each individual Believer’s behavior in this process will be a subject to examination at the Bema so exercise care and prayer. There are numerous scriptural admonishments for how and when this is appropriate.
THE PURPOSE OF THE BEMA
There is ample evidence in Scripture Believers in Yeshua will not come under judgement. Therefore, it is essential we understand the concept of the Bema in order to rightly divide the Word of Truth. Yeshua spoke specifically about the lack of judgment for one who “hears my word and believes him who sent me”, they not only have eternal life through salvation, but they do not come into judgement.
John 5:24 ESV (Parenthesis and Underline Emphasis Mine)
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life (Salvation). He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
Therefore, the Believer does not come into Judgment for sin, but there are rewards for those who have served faithfully and loss of rewards for those who have served with wrong motives. The judges at the games bestowed awards or rewards on the winners, they did not whip or punish those who did not finish first in the race – this is the key point to understand.
It is clear in Paul’s ministry he encouraged us all to “run the race” for the “prize”.
1 Corinthians 9:24 LEB (Parenthesis and Underline Emphasis Mine)
Do you not know that those who run in the stadium all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
Paul also made it clear those who were brought to Salvation or Discipled in their walk of faith were his hope and “crown of boasting”. It was for the good done for others he hoped to be rewarded.
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 LEB (Parenthesis and Underline Emphasis Mine)
19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.
We can only imagine the emotions we will experience at the Bema for certainly there will be elements of remorse, regret and perhaps even shame. It is scarcely possible to imagine a review of one’s life before the Creator of all the world in all His majesty and perfection without an awareness of the wasted time, selfish endeavors and lack of holiness. However, this must surely be fleeting for the picture the New Testament paints of heaven is one of joy and gratitude. The graciousness of the Lord Jesus Christ would surely find something worthy of praise in each of us.
WHAT IS THE NATURE OF THE REWARD
What rewards are described in Scripture? The rewards are given in very general terms, but you can gain a sense of what can be anticipated for Believers.
The Promise of Crowns – This seems to be used as a symbol of victory, authority, and responsibility.There are five (5) Crowns discussed for reward of Believer
The Promise of Heavenly Treasure – Stresses their eternal value and security as those things which are imperishable, undefiled, non-fading and stored in heaven for you.
The Promise of Accolades or Commendations – This is seen in those passages where a reward is administered in the form of something like “well done thou good and faithful servant …”. The precious words of praise from Yeshua would be a reward greater than any could imagine, yet these words of praise are followed also with additional authority in the Kingdom of God, Special Responsibility and Authority over the Lord’s Possessions. The Lord’s possessions will include everything.
The Promise to the Overcomer – These could refer to special blessing of rewards to those believers who overcomer special trials and tests rather than a general promise to all believers. Those who overcome are promised access to the hidden manna (hidden knowledge), a white stone with a new name written on it giving us our permanent calling and identity, which no one knows and increased authority over the nations.
The Clothing of the Saints (the Glorified Believers) – Fine Linen, Bright and Clean is given to the Saints for clothing.
Each person will be thoroughly happy with their rewards, for they will be totally just. There will be no sin nature to create envy, jealousy, resentment or dissatisfaction. The joy of being with our Father in our glorified state will be the reigning emotion. Our initial discouragement will be fleeting and only for the realization we could have and should have done more for His Kingdom.
During the Millennial Kingdom, many Believers will reign with him over nations and cities, perhaps even galaxies or universes. Others may not be in a position to reign for they will have lost those rewards. There will be further awards given at the Resurrection of the Old Testament and Tribulation Saints as well. Recall, we are not only dealing with rewards and positions in the Millennial Kingdom, the 1,000 years after Christ’s return, but also the Eternal Kingdom which will last for eternity with no end. There will be plenty to do and each Believer will be given responsibility in an area for which they are perfectly suited and for whom the work is a complete and total delight.
THE CROWNS AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE
Crowns are given as a reward for specific types of faithfulness in the Christian Life. The faithfulness exhibited is our appropriation of the Grace of God and the Power of the Holy Spirit utilized in specific circumstances to enable each of us to rise victorious In Christ at the end of the age. Thus, by abiding in the vine we are rewarded for utilizing the tools at our disposal – all of which belong to and were provided by Yeshua.
There are two (2) types of crowns referred to in the New Testament.
1. Stephanos – The Stephanos is the victor’s crown, the wreath given to the victorious athlete before the judge at the Bema. It is the word used of the crowns promised to believers for faithfulness in the Christian life.
2. Diadem – The Diadem is the royal crown, the crown of a king. The Beast with Seven (7) heads in Revelation is said to wear Seven (7) Crowns representing the nations over which they have earthly authority. The focus in Revelation, however, is upon Yeshua at His return for He is King of kings and Lord of Lords, thus the word is also used of the Many Diadems the Lord will wear at His return.
THE CROWNS OF SCRIPTURE AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE
The Crown of Thorns is worn only by Yeshua and speaks of His work on the cross. The thorns from which the Crown was woven represent the curse over which Our Savior triumphed. This crown stands for His victory over sin, Satan, and death.
Many Crowns – Diadems are the crowns of royalty which stand for Yeshua ha’Mashiach, Jesus the Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lord who alone has the right to rule and judge the world. These are worn only by Yeshua upon His return at the Second Coming.
The Crowns or Stephanos awarded to Believers for service are these;
1. The Incorruptible Crown – Although all crowns are incorruptible, this special crown is given for faithfulness in running the race and exercising self-control while serving Yeshua to finish the race.
1 Corinthians 9:25 LEB (Underline Emphasis Mine)
And everyone who competes exercises self-control in all things. Thus those do so in order that they may receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.
2. The Crown of Exultation or Rejoicing – This crown is a reward given for witnessing, follow-up, and ministry to others. In one sense, the Thessalonians will be Paul’s crown, and the effect at the Bema and throughout eternity will be rejoicing or exultation over their presence in heaven. Though not stated explicitly, the implication is there will be a literal Crown of Exultation or Rejoicing, not solely the presence of the Believers at the Bema themselves.
1 Thessalonians 2:19 LEB (Underline Emphasis Mine)
For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming?
Philippians 4:1 LEB (Underline Emphasis Mine)
So then, my beloved and greatly desired brothers, my joy and crown, thus stand firm in the Lord, dear friends.
3. The Crown of Life or Martyr’s Crown – This crown is also referred to as the Martyr’s crown for it will certainly be awarded to those who died a Martyr’s death. Anyone whose life has been taken from them for their faith in Yeshua is considered a Martyr. This crown is also given to those who have endured testings or trials and temptation. The crown of life itself, is not eternal life but a reward for enduring trails and overcoming temptations. Eternal Life is a gift, by faith alone in Christ alone. The two are separate and distinct – Eternal Life (Salvation) and The Crown of Life (Reward).
James 1:12 LEB (Parenthesis and Underline Emphasis Mine)
Blessed is the person who endures testing, because when he is approved he will receive the crown of life that he has promised to those who love him.
Revelation 2:10 LEB (Parenthesis and Underline Emphasis Mine)
Do not be afraid of the things which you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison so that you may be tested, and you will experience affliction ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life (Martyr’s Crown).
4. The Crown of Righteousness – This crown is a reward given for faithfulness in His service. It is given to those who have used our gifts and opportunities in the service of the Lord and for loving and praying for His appearing. To truly love His appearing, one will live in the light of His return and with an emphasis in one’s life on that goal.
2 Timothy 4:8 LEB (Underline Emphasis Mine)
Finally, the crown of righteousness is reserved for me, that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing.
5. The Crown of Glory also called The Shepherd’s Crown – This crown is a reward promised to Elders for faithfulness in their responsibility to shepherd the people of Yahweh.
1 Peter 5:4 LEB (Underline Emphasis Mine)
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
THE CASTING OF CROWNS
What could possibly be more glorious than the opportunity to cast our crowns at the feet of Yeshua? Without His righteousness, there would be no righteousness among any of us. Without His Holy Spirit nothing could have been accomplished for the Kingdom. Without the Father who regenerated us and called us to come to Yeshua there would be no salvation and thus no rewards. Yeshua alone is worthy for any fruitfulness in our lives by allowing His life to fill ours.
Finally, we will clearly see and understand this as we all cast our crowns before Him in recognition that all we have done is by His Grace and Only He is Worthy of All Praise!
Revelation 4:10-11 ESV (Underline Emphasis Mine)
10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
IN HIS ARMS I REST!
Thanks for taking time for me . . .
Sherry Driskell Griffin
P. S. If this was a Blessing to you . . . be a Blessing and pass it along!
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