Faithful Christians that are almost always eager Bible students understand the times we are living in and what lies ahead if not in specific detail, generally. This is because they do not read into Bible prophecy to concoct theories, spiritualize, or reject it, but reverence the Source enough to allow His illumination and instruction (Mark 13:23; 2 Peter 1:19-21). They also understand and accept it as it is written along with all other objectively understood portions of the Bible. Finally, unlike some theologians of history such as Augustine that rendered allegorical what he could not understand, the faithful realize some Bible prophecy would not be opened up by God until now (Daniel 12:4, 8-10)!
Those professed Christians that are selling themselves out to rebellion against God’s program with the world in unbelief do not know what time it is.1 The Lord Jesus and His apostles repeatedly make it clear however, that the faithful--every aspiring strong man and great woman of God as I write in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics--must live fully by faith in Him; enduring to the end to obtain the promised salvation (Matthew 10:16-39, 24:13; Romans 1:16-17, 8:18-25; Hebrews 3:5-19).2 The Lord led me to write this edited 2012 Commentary to encourage aspiring strong men of God to remain faithful as Bible prophecy is fulfilled before our very eyes.
Originally Published April 2012
I stand amazed at our God who has made us both observers of and participants in the times such as are now unfolding. For unknown to the wicked and apparently even many professing Christians, the times we are living in were foretold millennia ago by the prophets of God in the Bible's Old Testament as well as Jesus Christ and His apostles in the New. This is all to the glory of God who reveals the end from the beginning and events long before they occur (Isaiah 44:6-8, 45:20-22, 46:5-10, 48:3-5)! God, the eternally living God who spoke time into existence (Genesis 1:3-5, 14-19) and fulfills His Word at the right time is resolutely ratcheting up this world's troubles (Matthew 24:6-7).
Not since the global flood of Noah's day had the world experienced a paradigm shift of such magnitude as the incarnation of the Son of God in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, now over 2,000 years ago. Planned from eternity (1 Peter 1:20), preliminarily announced by God in Eden on the day Adam sinned (Genesis 3:15) and fleshed out over time in revelation to His prophets, Jesus came to “save His people from their sins,” (Matthew 1:21, NKJV). In God’s perfect moment, at the right time He arrived to fulfill His mission as the apostle Paul later affirms (Romans 5:6). Interestingly, unlike the flood of Noah’s day, the world did not know He had come except those God revealed Him to.
For thirty years He grew up quietly in the ways of His people--a carpenter’s Son. After this, He engaged in a three and one half-year ministry of preaching, teaching and mighty miracles that authenticated His identity as God’s Anointed One. Then, before the eyes of His disciples, He was arrested and crucified. They did not understand that to save them from their sins, Jesus had to die in their place by divine decree (Romans 5:7-9). They buried Him the same day He died, but on the third day after, He showed Himself to His disciples alive from the dead and explained to them from prophecy all that had happened to Him in fulfillment (Luke 24:1-45).
The Lord then revealed to His still startled disciples that they were witnesses of all that had happened to Him. They would now take on the important responsibility to proclaim what they had seen and heard as well as the resulting good news to the nations in the power of God (Luke 24:46-49)! After leading them out to the appointed spot, the Lord ascended into Heaven with the promise He would be with them (and us) to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20b; Luke 24:50-53). The mission has continued through Christ's disciples in every generation since to this hour and will continue until the last soul known to God is saved; for He has a number in mind (Romans 4:13-18, 11:25-36).
Echoing his Lord, the apostle Peter in his first and second recorded sermons told Jewish hearers that what they had been witnessing in word, power and events concerning Jesus of Nazareth to that time had been foretold by their prophets (Acts 2:14-32, 3:18-24). They were living in a divinely ordained time of prophetic fulfillment with still more to come. It is for this reason that as led by the Lord I assert we have continued all of these years since in a time of prophetic fulfillment and therefore, remain in what should be properly understood as "God's times." This being true, those who walk by faith in His Son and obedience to God have never been out of step with or behind "the times!"
From the first appearance of Christ and His successful mission, “the times” have been “God’s times” in which He is presiding over His eternal plans and superintending His longsuffering work through the faithful to preach the Gospel to all the nations. God’s longsuffering has been of His unrelenting desire in love to save (Matthew 24:14; 2 Peter 3:1-9). While by His providence, men have advanced technologically during the last 20 centuries and exponentially so in the last two, they have made no self-generated improvement spiritually or morally. Indeed, lawlessness has been increasing, love decreasing and evil men grow worse as foretold (Matthew 24:12; 2 Timothy 3:13).
Confirming prophetic fulfillment shows us closer to the end of this present age than we imagined and the next great paradigm shift in God's program: the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ! In step with "God's times," we that love Him see that we are descending like an airplane into the foretold period of severe turbulence our Lord describes as an intensifying "beginning of sorrows” or “birth pains" to include global persecution caused tribulation (Matthew 24:8-9, 15-22, NKJV). However, it leads to a safe landing in His presence (Revelation 7:9-17). Every aspiring strong man of God will be very glad he did not sell the Lord out to be in step with the world's times (Mark 8:34-38). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Read the April 28, 2019 post, God’s Program Matters!, under the category, Call To Repent.
2 The book is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
Looking back over everything the Lord has led me to post this year thus far, I am struck by how many bedrock New Testament commandments and instructions are being blatantly trampled upon by the many leaders and people that profess to be Christians in the churches they make up. I wrote about how as “ambassadors” of the “one Lord” Jesus Christ we are all supposed to be saying the same thing (2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Ephesians 4:1-6, NKJV).1 Ambassadors represent a country or kingdom and speak and do among those in the nations they are assigned what their leader that appointed them has commanded. Not to do so is to invite certain consequences including dismissal!
The apostle Paul rhetorically asserts our Lord Jesus Christ is not divided (1 Corinthians 1:13), but we are and willfully so as each theologian, denominational leader, pastor, etc. teaches his following in accord with what is right in his own sight in spiritual lawlessness rather than what the Lord has purely declared in His Word; not “repeating God’s words after Him” as the religious educated elite are fond of saying (Judges 17:6; Proverbs 14:12). Paul also tells us why this is all so. In fulfillment of his prophecy each one teaches with a nuance that attracts followers to his wisdom and himself, not God and His wisdom in the Gospel resulting in followers for Christ (Acts 20:26-30; 1 Corinthians 1:17-25).
Because His program matters as I write in this edited 2012 Commentary, God’s judgment of the errant, disobedient and usurping ambassador/teachers is just (1 Corinthians 3-4:13; 2 Peter 2:4-11).
Originally Published March 2012
As I remind pastors in the closing chapter of my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics,2 Scripture plainly holds Jesus Christ up as Lord and Head of His Church (Ephesians 1:15-23). Christ presents His will (God's program) for those that belong to Him through new birth and supposedly make up the churches in the same Scripture He is proclaimed Lord! The local churches therefore, are not free to do as they please apart from the will of Christ. Yet, the evil spirits of disobedience, heretical corruption and apostasy that well began their work before the passing of the 1st century eyewitness apostles have brought their efforts in these latter days to a near frenetic intensity.
The aspiring strong man and great woman of God in the image of Christ delight to honor Him as Lord. They honor Jesus as Lord in their personal lives, in the local churches and before a watching world. They willingly honor Jesus as Lord out of their embrace of that factual truth from Scripture, the reality of meeting and walking with Him in His Lordship (John 14:18-20) as well as the joy of Holy Ghost fired affirmation (1 Corinthians 12:1-3)! As a result, they are not rebellious against or selective in their obedience to the Lord as the normative experience of their lives. When they sin, they do not delay to confess and repent before the Lord in all sincerity (1 John 1:5-2:6).
In the churches aspiring strong men and great women of God eagerly seek to fulfill His program to preach the Gospel to and make disciples of the nations; baptizing and teaching them to obey all of His will expressed in commandments communicated by His eyewitness apostles (Matthew 28:19-20). They do their part in God's program according to the gifts, calling and ministries they receive from the Lord through the agency of the Holy Spirit. They fully understand the Church is the Body of Christ and He the eternal Head. They labor in love to faithfully serve the members therein; being careful to obey the Lord's order of His assembly presently on earth (1 Corinthians 12:4-14:40).
Too many times I have heard preachers, teachers and professed Christians dismiss obedience to God's Word as an unimportant side issue to relationship with God. They portray God the Father as some benign, doting grandfather, Jesus as a cool, anti-rule keeping hippie sage and the Holy Spirit as a feel good force that just want us to love the Lord. However, Christ died to reconcile us back to God who had breached the relationship beginning with the disobedience of our forefather, Adam (Romans 5:6-21). Willful disobedience is not to characterize the New Covenant relationship of the Christian with the Lord he loves (John 14:15, 21-24; Hebrews 10:15-22; 1 John 3:4-10, 5:3).
The apostle Paul upbraided the Jews of his day for their hypocritical conduct that caused the Gentiles to blaspheme the name of God. How much more would he upbraid Christians in likeness today (Romans 2:17-24)? Indeed, the name of our God and His Son are regularly blasphemed in the media and on the streets of our nation due to the hypocritical conduct of professed Christians and churches that have no shame. The Gospel is maligned because racial division and bitterness mark the churches more than love. God's Word in the Bible is maligned because proud church leaders and teachers in disobedience will not say the same thing doctrinally (1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Peter 3:8).
If professed Christians and their churches will not honor Jesus as Lord and obey the divine will revealed in Scripture, then who else on the planet will? If professed white Christians and those of color refuse to love one another in disobedience to Christ, then how will the world know that we are truly His disciples (John 13:34-35)? If professed Christians regard the instruction of Scripture on God's family order, gender roles and responsibilities as dated, then how valid is Scripture as a continuing source of authority for other aspects of our faith and practice?3 Clearly, the foretold latter day apostasy and deception are upon us to the eternal detriment of the guilty (1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 4:3-4)!4
God's program matters because men are saved and built up when we who say we love Him remain true to it. Moreover, God's program matters because Christians as aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ are the living signs of His Kingdom coming to earth; lights shining in a dark world (Philippians 2:14-16). Finally, God's program matters because the Father, Son and Holy Spirit share a holy disposition and wrath toward unrepentant sinners including those that profess to be Christians (Psalm 2:7-12; Isaiah 63:7-10; Matthew 7:21-23; John 8:21-29; Acts 5:1-11; Hebrews 10:26-31; Revelation 19:11-16). Repent! The time is nearer than you think. The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 See the opening of the March 31, 2019 post, Technically Speaking…, under the category, The Cause.
3 As the Lord led, I wrote the following as an addendum to this Commentary in our March 2012 Strong Man Of God Newsletter: “The final source of Christian authority is
the unchanging Word of God contained in Bible translations that are true to the earliest preserved manuscripts (2 Timothy 3:14-17). It is not what fallen men say or
even say about the Word no matter how credentialed who easily read into the texts and twist the Word to say what they want bringing judgment on themselves (James
3:1; 2 Peter 3:14-16).”
4 In the same addendum I concluded: “Christians have been forewarned by the Lord Jesus and His apostles that false messiahs, prophets and teachers would rise up
to deceive (Matthew 24:4-5, 11; 2 Peter 2:1-3). It is so. They also warn about latter day apostasy (as the Commentary above references) that is very unambiguous in
its full blown form (Matthew 24:9-10; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3). It has been unfolding in earnest for a generation complete with outrageously deceitful teachings and
growing hostility toward the faithful. If the Lord Jesus and His apostles warn that falsehood and apostasy are to typify the days leading to His return, then professing
Christians need to snap out of their worldly slumber, strengthen their resolve to stand firm on God’s Word alone and prepare for worse (2 Timothy 3:1-13).”
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