“wars and rumors of wars”

Friday, April 20, 2018

For many years now, based on my personal study of God’s prophetic Word for the end-times, I believed and stated that the destruction of Damascus, Syria would be a precursor to the rise of Antichrist and start of the seven-year tribulation. Today, I maintain that belief.

Last Friday morning at about 6:30 AM I published TheFridayLetter.com entitled “The burden against Damascus”, with specific focus on God’s prophetic Word of Isaiah 17:1 foretelling the destruction of Damascus. Less than eighteen hours later the U.S., the U.K and France rained down over one hundred missiles on specific targets in the city of Damascus, Syria.

Russia and Iran, who support Basher al-Assad’s murderous Syrian government, are outraged. Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed a response which remains to be seen. But it will not be much longer before we see the prophesied destruction of Damascus, making it “a ruinous heap” causing it to “cease from being a city” (Isa. 17:1). The warring violence of nations will escalate, and will culminate with a nuclear detonation in Damascus making it uninhabitable.

If you personalize and act upon the parable of “the fig tree” (Matt. 24:32–35), identifying the last generation of this age, based on Israel’s rebirth of May 1948, you are wise. For, therein you have spiritual eyes that see and ears that hear Christ’s warning of the destruction in the end-times.

Jesus said of the end-times, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:6–8).

The twentieth century is marked by its continual wars. More war-torn death and carnage took place in the twentieth century than any other in the history of mankind. Therefore, many of the warnings of “wars and rumors of wars” have already been fulfilled. Wars are now so normal that many are insensitively numb to Satan’s hate and destruction of mankind made in God’s image.

Notice carefully that Jesus said “you will hear of wars and rumors of wars”, with my emphasis on the Word “hear”. This is important, for true saints only “hear” of wars, they do not covenant themselves to the ungodly world for war, nor participate in them. Saints are commanded to love God first, and then also our neighbor as ourselves, which fulfills the law and the prophets. “For though we [saints] walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:3–4).

In the times of the end, wars will increase – tribulation wars that will literally wipe out fifty percent of the world’s population. How can the one born again and washed in the blood of the Lamb agree with the ungodly world for such destructive work? The destruction of redeemable mankind is the work of Satan. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:43–45). Don’t overlook that conclusion.

At the Fourth Seal, “power was given to them [Death and Hades] over a fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth” (Rev. 6:8). And at the Sixth Trumpet, “the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horseman was two hundred million” (Rev. 9:15–16). First, a fourth, then another third of mankind are killed.

Dear saints, we must decide now who we’ll defend: Christ, or this temporal evil nation. Do not delay in preparing until those days are upon us. For, now, we are ambassadors of Christ, 2 Cor. 5:20, and not this evil nation. Now, we are first citizens of heaven, Phil. 3:20, and not this evil world. Now, we are ambassadors of Christ who live holy, loving God and fellowman.

God will mete out the reward of the wicked and unbelieving at the appointed time. It is not the role of any Christian to be judge, jury or executioner. Nor dare we lean to the warring practice of ancient Israel in the Old Testament as justification. God commanded ancient Israel to destroy the nations of giants, the seed of Satan, in the land of Canaan, which Israel was not faithful in doing. Thus, Israel, repeatedly fell into idolatry, and was taken captive to sin, unbelief and judgment.

The Christian is to: “Repay no one evil for evil…Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:17, 19, 21).

If one’s faith is truly in Christ, being born again by His Spirit, that one will then agree with the Lord God who said, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please. And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isa. 55:11). “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).

Therefore, do not even consider making a warring covenant with the world, for it destroys our fellowman for whom Christ died. War among nations is the very dark work of Satan, and not the work of Christ. Heed the Word of the Lord, saying, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3:17).

Jesus said, “you will hear of wars and rumors of wars”. He said what He meant, and meant what He said. And nowhere, in the New Covenant is there even an inference that saints covenant with the ungodly for the warring destruction of our fellowman. Nowhere. Therefore, let the Word of the Lord God and His Holy Spirit arise within you, to lead you in these critical end-time truths.

Marlin J. Yoder

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“The burden against Damascus”

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Middle East has been volatile since the 1948 rebirth of Israel, but there is clearly a renewed military and civil violence that puts Damascus, Syria in the crosshairs of destruction. That’s not unfounded speculation, but is God’s prophetic truth that accompanies the time of the end.

Though Damascus, Syria is the longest continuously inhabited city in the world, its destruction is prophetically reserved for the end-times. Contextually, God said, “The burden against Damascus. Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap” (Isa. 17:1).

Historically, in conventional warfare ruined cities are rebuilt. But Damascus “will cease from being a city”, reasonably indicating that a nuclear holocaust will cause it to be an uninhabitable “ruinous heap”. Nuclear strikes would certainly disqualify it from “being a city”.

Nuclearized nations are now in the Damascus region: the United States is aiding civilian rebels fighting against Bashar al-Assad’s government; Russia and Iran aid the Assad regime believed to have recently killed 40 people with poisonous gas, (Source: Fox News); and Israel is also blamed for a recent air strike on a major airfield near Damascus.

Civilian and military tensions are rapidly escalating. This should not surprise we who believe God’s Word for the end-time. This conflict could lead to the war of Revelation 6:3–4, wherein the second rider on the red horse of the apocalypse is given “a great sword” with which he takes “peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another”.

U.S. President Donald Trump vows a response for Assad again using poisonous gas, while Russian president, Vladimir Putin, promises that any military response by the U.S. will be met with an equal military force. Both are strong-willed men, and unyielding to their convictions, while Iran and Israel, in the meantime, are exchanging their own militant threats.

The situation in Damascus is very serious. This conflict will not be diplomatically negotiated for another generation to resolve. It belongs to and will reach its prophetic fulfillment in this present generation…the last generation of this age. The question is, however, will this be recognized for what it is, or will it be considered as just another unfortunate war to which people born in the war-torn twentieth century have become so accustomed?

The twentieth century has seen more death and destruction than any other. In fact, many have become so desensitized to wars and their death tolls, that it’s become the normal way of life. Warring nations have become a blinding status quo deception of the end-times. Jesus warned, that, as the days of Noah and Lot were, so too will the days of the Son of Man be.

Several deceptively-blinding characteristics of the days of Noah and Lot were this: warnings of imminent destruction was preached by a few, but ignored by most…just like today; violence marked their cultures…just like today; genetically modified humans were real…just like today; homosexuality and immorality was the rule of the day…just like today; false teachers were popular…just like today; and the normalcy of spiritual life meant that God’s love approved of their violence, unbelief and sin…just like today.

Fathers, husbands and Bible teachers, what are you teaching your families and loved ones? Do you see the signs of the end-times that are now gathering like storm clouds? Is your discernment based in the knowledge of the Word of the Lord and His Holy Spirit, or does the culture govern? Are you preparing those in your charge for the very difficult tribulation times in the near future?

WWIII will likely begin in the Middle East. In fact, “War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed” (Dan. 9:26 NIV). But have you prepared your loved ones and those in your care in the Biblical truths of what’s coming? Pray and act now, for you have only a little time.

Marlin J. Yoder

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“But now Christ is risen”

Friday, April 6, 2018

God loves mankind whom He made in His own image, and sent His Son Jesus Christ to suffer the penalty of death to redeem fallen mankind. Herein is God’s love revealed to all who by grace through faith believe Christ, who believe upon His death for the remission of their sins, and also necessarily believe upon His resurrection – these are foundational truths to salvation faith.

But Satan and his fallen angels are the enemies of mankind. They come only to steal, kill and destroy. They inspire lies and proud religious deceptions; they create deceits that ensnare and wars that destroy man. And in this present age Satan is allowed to prosper until God wins the victory for us “at the last day” (John 6:40), at “the last trumpet” (1 Cor. 15:51–52), at “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6), when “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven” (1 Thess. 4:16).

Many argue against the truth that Satan is allowed to prosper in this present age, but God’s Word says that, “the same horn [Antichrist] was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom” (Dan. 7:21–22).

If you are a saint of the Most High, then Dan. 7:21–22 applies to you. Revelation reveals the same, saying, “It was granted to him [Antichrist] to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue and nation” (Rev. 13:7). These truths, however, are disbelieved by most Christians who have been taught the unbiblical pre-tribulation rapture. Sadly, they believe that these Scriptures have no application to them.

But that’s exactly what Satan wants. The demonic pre-trib rapture narrative has been created by Satan to make unfruitful many Scriptures that teach believers for the times of the end. But many, having become spiritually blinded by false teachers, believe their false narrative as it pleases the undiscerning mind of flesh. Ultimately, this is Satan’s attack on the resurrection of saints.

The foundational truth of the Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus Christ; for, “if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty…For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (1 Cor. 15:14, 16–19).

Therefore, since the resurrection of Christ is so vital for Christian truth, it should not come as a surprise that Satan attacked not only the resurrection of Christ, but also the promised resurrection of redeemed saints “at the last day” (John 6:44). It’s clear that the Serpent initially struck at the resurrection of Christ when Roman soldiers bore false witnesses saying Christ’s body was stolen from the tomb, though His tomb was well-guarded.

When that false report didn’t stop the advance of the gospel and truth of Christ’s resurrection, Satan inspired false teachers in the first century church “saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:18). Mission accomplished! The report of an early resurrection caused some to lose hope in the “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), and their faith in Christ was overthrown; they were overcome with hopelessness! It will happen again.

That’s Satan’s specialty, and looking to the end of this age he devised a plot to offend, to cause an overthrow of faith in Christ and the promised resurrection. It began in about 1830 with John Darby’s pre-tribulation rapture. The undiscerning took Satan’s bait – being self-deceived and having learned from other false teachers who also listened to deceiving spirits and fables.

It should be no surprise, then, that Satan, looking to the end of this present age, attacked “the blessed hope”, the resurrection of the righteous by creating yet another “early” resurrection he called the pre-tribulation rapture. The lie consists in saying that Christ gathers His saints before the tribulation even begins – that it occurs seven years before the last day, though Christ “must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything” (Acts 3:21 NIV).

That deception is now widespread and the hook of deceit is set, as many Christians hope in a hopeless lie destined to cause great offense when the tribulation and Antichrist are revealed and they find themselves right here on earth to be confronted by Antichrist in the tribulation. Will the lie be discovered by Christians before it’s too late? Will those who believe the hopeless pre-trib rapture lie be strong enough in the Lord to overcome the offense, and endure to the end?

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). So, the question is this, “If Jesus is the truth, (and He is) and He said He gathers His elect saints “Immediately after the tribulation”, how is it that many so-called Christians do not believe that that truth applies to them? The answer is simple – Satan has caused his lie and deception of unbelief to prosper! Satan’s lie promises an easier end, and many believe him.

False prophets prevail today just as they prevailed in ancient Israel. They regularly rejected the true prophets of God, and more often than not believed false prophets. But you and I are tasked with discerning false prophets and teachers, for God said, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9).

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor. 15:20–21). How do you suppose Christ feels about the fact that millions who profess Him, disbelieve His Words for the time of the end? Knowing His suffering and resurrection, how can one disbelieve Christ who said He is “the truth”? For many, He’s very obviously not “the truth”.

The Spirit said through Paul “that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:50–52).

Jesus said, “this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up [in the resurrection] at the last day” (John 6:40). For emphasis and driving home the point that the resurrection of the righteous dead occurs “at the last day”, Jesus repeats that phrase twice more in verses 44 and 54. Do you believe Him?

Marlin J. Yoder

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“A prudent man foresees”

Friday, March 30, 2018

This weekend as you celebrate Easter, don’t become entangled in the world’s commercialized version of this core Christian truth. Paul said to the Corinthian’s that he chose to know nothing among them except Christ crucified (1 Cor. 2:2), and raised from the dead (1 Cor. 15:20). Yes, Christ died for the remission of our sins, but without His resurrection from the dead, we would remain hopelessly lost in our sin. Eternal life is only possible because of Jesus’ resurrection.

Do you need to validate Christ’s earthly ministry and title, King of kings and Lord of lords? – find it in His resurrection! Does the tempter, Satan, trouble you? – confess Jesus’ resurrection! Do you desire holiness? – meditate on His resurrection! Do you desire victory over sin? – think on Christ’s resurrection! Do you want hope for the future? – it’s found in Jesus’ resurrection!

Now, today’s Letter:

Thus saith the Lord God: “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished” (Prov. 22:3). Noah, a prudent man, believed God about the coming judgment, and by faith prepared accordingly. He did not listen to false prophets, nor was he unprepared like the five foolish virgins, and thus Noah saw the punishment of the unbelieving, see Psa. 91:7–8.

That day millennia past came forth bright and fair, and with its cloudless sky the promise of another day to advance the desires and will of man. People went to work, some to war, some to their business, some to places of worship, while still others fornicated with fallen angels. They tilled the soil, planted and harvested. Only a fool would try to change their selfish culture, for that day was just another day to produce even more of the desires of their own fallen hearts.

They planned weddings, they ate and drank, while others reveled in immorality. Having spurned the wisdom and preaching of the “fool” as they called him, they sacrificed infants and engaged in worldly violence and war to protect their way of life. (Sound familiar?) They mocked the fool for preaching righteousness and coming judgment, just like that of our present day.

But, speaking of the fool, who, for many decades preached righteousness and coming judgment, strangely, both he and his family were nowhere to be found. Perhaps, some may have thought, he finally gave up preaching the coming judgment. After all, no one ever paid attention to him as he built the Ark, not even the fallen angels from heaven who took for themselves the daughters of men as wives, who gave birth to giant offspring. People likely thought that if there were any merit to the fool’s preaching, surely, those fallen from heaven would validate his message.

What a reprieve it was to no longer hear the fool’s preaching, warning them to believe God, to repent and turn from unbelief, and flee the coming judgment. Out of sight, out of mind. Good riddance! The day continued bright and fair and all seemed normal. Their self-centered culture pleased their unbelief. But unbeknown to them, the fool was a prudent man who believed God, but now, could not be found because he and his family had entered God’s safety and provision for the judgment that would soon envelop the world of that time.

Then strangely and suddenly, the sky grew dark. But it wasn’t time for the sun to set, so what was now happening? The sky and clouds turned frighteningly angry, and the sun was hidden as the heavens roared and violent clouds turned black as night. One drop of rain, then another, what was this! Then the heavens produced a judgmental downpour and the fountains of the deep broke forth as water also gushed upward from the earth, for judgment had arrived!

Fear-stricken, the people soon found themselves in flooding waters! So they headed for higher ground seeking refuge from this dreadful deluge that now encompassed them. Escape was now impossible as fear gripped their hearts! Then they realized the fool and his family had gone into the Ark, and that this was now the judgment he had preached. But God had shut the door!

Frantic screams turned to pleas for help. Fearfully, men bellowed: WE BELIEVE YOU NOW! YOU WERE RIGHT! SAVE US! HAVE MERCY! Men, women, children and the elderly all drowned as the raging waters of judgment covered the earth, and everything with the breath of life perished from the face of the earth! Thus saith the Lord God: “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37). Yet, the majority do not believe.

“There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown” (Gen. 6:4). Satan’s fallen angels had corrupted the genealogical bloodline of man in order to destroy the “Seed” of the woman, Christ, who would crush the Serpent’s head.  Today, artificial intelligence, robotics and DNA corruption is leading to the irreversible mark of the beast, when the world worships the “image of the beast” (Rev. 13) which speaks.

Today, Satan’s dragnet of the pre-trib rapture lie has taught many to disbelieve that Christ’s Words even apply to them for the end-time. “For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:5–7).

Likewise, false teachers have led many to ignore Christ’s warnings for the coming judgment and tribulation. But, “concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you…Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thess. 2:1–3). One cannot fall away from that to which he didn’t once belong; in this case, the Christian faith.

Jesus Christ warned everyone who would by faith believe Him, that, “then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matt. 24:21–22). Noah’s family believed God, and were the few who were saved, for they had taken the Matt. 7:13–14 narrow gate and difficult path to life.

Similar to Noah’s Ark, God has a place of safety and provision for those who believe Him. “But the woman [the freewoman of Gal. 4:21–31, the prepared church] was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, [3 1/2 years] from the presence of the serpent…And the dragon [Satan] was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:14, 17).

The inference can be made, that, those who helped Noah build the Ark perished in the flood. Though they worked alongside Noah and his sons in the building of the Ark intended to save them, they disbelieved God. Likewise, today, many work for the Church, but in their hearts they disbelieve Christ. In that context Jesus said, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not…done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt. 7:21–23).

Noah, being an example to us, was a prudent man who hid himself and his family in the safety and provision of God because he actually believed and acted upon the Word of the Lord. The time is now urgent to cast off the dragnet of false teachings and believe what Christ taught.

Marlin J. Yoder

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The Return to the House Church

Friday, March 23, 2018

Salvation comes from obeying God’s command to “Repent and be converted” (Acts 3:19). And when Jesus said “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:18–20), it is a commission of ambassadorship for the redeemed, to the unrepentant.

Because Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, our commission from Christ is to “make disciples” of Christ, not disciples of men and their traditions. But that’s difficult and cannot be undertaken by the spiritually timid more interested in pleasing man than God, because Jesus promised the gate to faith and truth is narrow and its path difficult, see Matt. 7:13–14.

But in this final generation the increasingly worldly, timid, corporate-styled church with its cultural popularity, wealth, and praise of man, has led the watering-down of the Word, with silence and even rejection of select portions of the Word, and traditions of men, all of which have largely replaced the commission to actually “make disciples” of Christ.

But those with discernment of this final generation, who are empowered by God’s Spirit to overcome the desire for popularity and the praise of man, have a decision to make: first, pray, then come out from among those who restrict whole truth, and prepare people in the unpopular, oft-restricted end-time truths, or, secondly, do nothing, and by silence join the increasingly lukewarm mediocrity so prevalent in today’s corporate-styled, people-pleasing churches.

Recently, a concerned brother in Christ, who recognizes the escalating abandon of truth in the institutional churches, asked if I could suggest a fellowship or group of like-minded end time believers. Unfortunately, I don’t know of such a group. But here’s an opportunity for the like-minded to begin such a group via a return to the Biblical house church ordained by God.

The house church is highly valid and God-created. By its nature it’s small and intimate, and its leadership, exclusive of denominational doctrines and traditions is accountable to God’s Word. Thus, the Spirit-led house church advances God’s unhindered Word rather than traditions and business-styled church programs of man. God’s Word powerfully validates the house church.

At Pentecost, the believers were in a house when “suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2). And as Peter preached by the Holy Spirit, “those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41).

Compellingly, nowhere in New Covenant Scripture is there mention of a building campaign undertaken by leadership to then raise funds to build a church “building” to accommodate those new converts. People of the church met in homes, for when the veil of the Temple was torn the abode of God departed the Temple built by man and became resident in the hearts of converts.

The silence of the New Covenant regarding building campaigns for the construction of churches, all of which are today divided in doctrines and traditions, stands as a stark witness against the monetarily debt-laden churches of today, filled with sensational and worldly enticements.

When the reformers came out of Roman Catholicism, they didn’t separate from it sufficiently, nor did they guard against the immediate seeds of doctrinal and traditional divisions sown by Satan. Consequently, many divided denominations erupted, each having its own doctrines and traditions. Though Scripture teaches that Christ is not divided, the institutional church remains divided, then wonders why it’s losing members. To counteract that negative, the church having been wooed by Pope Francis, has been returning to the deceptions of Catholicism, enticing the unrepentant and non-converted with sensational performances. But that’s not of the Lord.

And today, much preaching and teaching of God’s Word doesn’t even give people a reason to “Repent and be converted” (Acts 3:19). They’re happily content in their unbelief as the church increasingly makes them feel as if, they too, are part of the body of Christ, when in fact they’re not, but destined to eternal destruction. Lost people adore the message that all are included.

Scripture goes on to teach, “The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house” (1 Co. 16:19). Again, “Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house” (Col. 4:15). And, Paul, “serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials…[said] I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publically and from house to house” (Acts 20:19–20).

Let me suggest, that, for those of us who are Spirit-led and recognize the signs of the end-times, if you find yourself in a church that avoids, changes, or outright rejects select truths that would otherwise instruct and prepare you and loved ones in the knowledge of God for the times of the end, that you have the obligation in Christ to change the way you do church, for, “to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (Jam. 4:17).

God commands to “Owe no one anything except to love one another” (Rom. 13:8). Financial bondage between the Bride of Christ and this evil world system is inconsistent with the truth, love and freedom of God in Christ. Financial indebtedness will be an asset for Antichrist.

Leadership of many denominational churches have indebted themselves and members to the financial bondage of this world by its construction of church buildings, an activity not ordained by God. That debt will soon come under control of the mark of the beast, Rev. 13:16–17, and to spare itself persecution and loss, the divided congregational churches will then largely acquiesce to Antichrist’s one world government which will greatly fuel “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3).

On the decadal eve of the return of Christ and His gathering of the saints, many churches using manufactured worship, are turning back to apostate Roman Catholicism, just as ancient Israel on the eve of inheriting Canaan, its Promised Land, desired to turn back to apostate Egypt, see Num. 14. Roman Catholicism, which has already tried to destroy God’s true church, is the prophet’s fourth and final beast-kingdom of Dan. 2 and Rev. 13 which seeks to destroy “the freewoman” (Gal. 4:21–31), the true church. But as all that develops, discerning Christians will return to the house church, free of all denominational barriers, bondage and traditions of men. Please pray.

Marlin J. Yoder

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Thus Saith The Lord God

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Seven Mountains Mandate, another end-time deception, is Dominionism on steroids. While some false prophets say the world will grow increasingly better, others preach a pre-trib rapture. Both falsehoods do great spiritual damage, as the evil days of the end-times are now at hand.

Thus saith the Lord God: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money… unholy…having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:1–2, 5). “But evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). False prophets tickle people’s ears for praise and profit.

Thus saith the Lord God: “For the time will come when they [pastors, teachers and people in the church] will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3–4). This is relevant on multiple fronts today.

Thus saith the Lord God: “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies…and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth was blasphemed” (2 Peter 2:1–2). This too is very relevant for these last days.

Thus saith the Lord God: “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars…For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” (Matt. 24:6–7). This has never been more relevant than now.

Thus saith the Lord God: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another” (Matt. 24:9–10). Global persecution of Christians is rising.

Thus saith the Lord God: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ [Antichrist] spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand)” (Matt. 24:15). The rise of Antichrist is imminent as Israel awaits its Dan. 9:27 “covenant”.

Thus saith the Lord God: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matt. 24:21–22). This requires much prayer, holy living and discerning God’s safety and provision.

Thus saith the Lord God; “and the same horn [Antichrist] was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High” (Dan. 7:21–22). Here, “the saints” includes present-day saints.

Thus saith the Lord God: “It was granted to him [Antichrist] to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone has an ear, let him hear” (Rev. 13:7–9).

Thus saith the Lord God: “And he [the false prophet] exercises all the authority of the first beast [Antichrist] in his presence and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed…He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Rev. 13:12, 16–17). During the great tribulation, global economies are ruled by the Antichrist.

Thus saith the Lord God: “Then the woman [the true church] fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days” (Rev. 12:6), and “the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness for a time and times and half a time, [3.5 years] from the presence of the serpent” (Rev. 12:14), so “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). This requires much prayer, holy living and discerning God’s safety and provision.

Thus saith the Lord God: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken…And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matt. 24:29–31). This is the one and only gathering of all saints “at the last day”.

Thus saith the Lord God: “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40). “This is the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:5), and it will not occur pre-tribulation.

Thus saith the Lord God: “But the rest of the dead [the eternally doomed] did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power” (Rev. 20:4–5). Amen!

Thus saith the Lord God: “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15). This is the resurrection rapture!

Remarkably, many Christians have been deceived to believe that Scriptures like those above do not apply to them. Such unbelief is best understood in the words of a pre-trib-rapture-preaching theologian who I heard saying, “I can’t conceive of a God who would drag His bride through the mud of the tribulation, and then marry her”. But if his unbelief has any merit, then God would need to apologize to all the apostles, prophets and saints who have been martyred for Christ!

Because of the overspreading unbelief caused by John Darby’s pre-trib rapture doctrine for the last 180 years, many Christians cannot conceive of other Biblical truths either. But everyone has a free will, to believe or disbelieve God’s Word. I pray you believe the Word of the Lord God, remove yourself from falsehoods, and prepare for the times of the end coming upon this world.

Marlin J. Yoder

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“Do you not remember”

Friday, March 9, 2018

To the terror of principalities, powers and rulers of the darkness of this age, the resurrection of Jesus Christ validated His earthly ministry and title, Messiah, the Son of God. Consequently, the promised resurrection of His saints has been under attack by satanic forces. Even from the first century AD some taught an early resurrection, but they “strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already passed; and they overthrow the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:18).

Scripture shows that the overthrow of Christian faith is the result of false teachings regarding an early resurrection of saints. And, no, this isn’t about knowing “the day or hour”, but the season of, and preparation to endure. The fruit of false teachings of an early resurrection created offense and hopelessness in the first century, and the early pre-trib teaching will do the same again.

The resurrection and rapture of true Christians at the last day will be the ultimate validation for Christians of the earthly ministry of Christ. Until then “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) is just that, a hope, believed by faith. In the meantime Satan has caused great controversy and unbelief as to when the resurrection of saints occurs. Most say pre-trib, others say mid-trib, yet others say pre-wrath, but Jesus Christ clearly taught “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31).

The blessed hope and resurrection of Christians has become convoluted. It’s become a smorgasbord of multiple choice. But Christ did not minister in multiple choice. The way in which the organized evangelical church has closed the door to this discussion, in that it protects the unbiblical and deceptive pre-trib rapture lie, is evidence that Satan has, in fact, caused great unbelief and destruction to the testimony of Christ, and many saints have fallen prey to it.

You might ask, just how important is the when of the resurrection and rapture of the righteous dead? – when will the Lord Himself descend from heaven for the resurrection of and rapture of saints? It was important enough for God’s Spirit to include it in the very first New Covenant sermon preached by the apostle Peter, and it’s intrinsically linked to repentance.

“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19–21). The NIV translation of that last verse says that Christ “must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets”.

Anyone who knows the Scriptures about when God restores everything, knows that He does so at the last day of this present age. Consequently, “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (2 Thess. 4:16–17) at the last day, when God restores everything; not seven years before the last day which would be required for a pre-tribulation rapture.

By the Holy Spirit, Paul preached with equal authority. In his second letter to the church at Thessalonica he said, “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him…[the same gathering of the elect Jesus taught at Matt. 24:29–31] Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?” (2 Thess. 2:1–5). It’s very important that we remember.

The church, today, therefore, must preach the truth of Christ, and be reminded like the first century church that Christians must expect the Lord Himself to descend from heaven when the time has come for God to restore everything “at the last day” (John 6:40, 44, 54), at “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6), “at the last trumpet” (1 Cor. 15:51–52), for only then will God restore everything, “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31) and not before.

Dear saints, be very careful to whom you give ear. If what you are being taught does not agree with the clear, written Word of the Lord, depart from that voice. And do not allow yourself the disgrace of being wooed by groomed speech, those who use swelling words of academic and theological discourse that do not agree with the clear written Word of the Lord.

Paul said of his pre-salvation unsurpassed religious academia, “what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ…and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7–8). And God reminds us, that, “when they [the religious leaders] saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). To spend time with Jesus and feast on His Word equips the believer in truth and is far better than anything man has to offer.

Christian, the Word of the Lord has been entrusted to you. In that context, “Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge – by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen” (1 Tim. 6:20–21).

Why is all this so very important? Because, Satan, the master deceiver, does not want you to know the truth of when Christ descends from heaven for the resurrection and gathering of saints. Satan wants you to believe the flesh-pleasing lie that Christ will snatch you off the earth before the tribulation, a false hope and anti-Christ lie of this age.

The resurrection of Christ is the validation and certainty of the resurrection of true Christians. And the truth of when “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6) occurs is of great importance. But what about you – have you repented of your sins and unbelief and believed, not only in the Lord Jesus, for, “Even the demons believe – and tremble! (James 2:19), but do you truly believe Him?

Spiritual truths require new birth, Spirit-led discernment. And Jesus taught that the gate to that truth is narrow, its path difficult, and few find it. The gate to unbelief, however, is wide and easy and many go in that way, Matt. 7:13–14. The Holy Spirit confirmed this saying, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one” (1 Cor. 2:14–15).

Marlin J. Yoder

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“Now learn this parable”

Friday, March 2, 2018

Confirmation that ours is the final generation of this present age is revealed by Jesus Christ Himself, when, in His Olivet Discourse He gave us the parable of the fig tree. God identified Israel as His fig tree, Hosea 9:10 and Joel 1:7. In that context Jesus identified Israel’s rebirth as the premier marker in this age of the beginning of the last generation of this age.

But many Christians have been deceptively taught to disregard the Olivet Discourse believing it is inapplicable to them, since, from the dispensational view it’s applicable only to national Jews. Jesus’ teachings, however, were only to national Jews, and what dispensational teachers refuse to disclose is that after Jesus rose from the dead, He commissioned Christians to “make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19–20), which destroys dispensational theology’s segregation of saints. [my bold emphasis added]

False teachers are not equipping believers in truths for navigating the very difficult end-times. But then, how can they? Jesus said “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a pit” (Matt. 15:13–14). If they teach one lie, they’ll also teach other lies.

In love, Christ gave us the parable of the fig tree that we might know the season of His return. Just as God warned Joseph in Egypt of the seven-year drought and how to prepare, so too God warned saints in knowledge how to prepare and endure the last seven years of this age. And just as God warned Moses of judgment on every family’s firstborn where the blood was not applied, so too God warned believers of this final generation how to endure the tribulation to its end.

But, largely, it’s being ignored by leadership because it’s an unpopular teaching, a teaching that doesn’t tickle the ears of people; a teaching that calls one to serious self-examination as to his or her faith to endure to the end as Christ taught at Matt. 24:13. A sobering examination to reveal unbelief and deception does not suit the flesh. Thus it’s ignored. But in that ignorance the times of the end “will come as a snare” (Luke 21:35) with many unprepared and offended.

The New World Order, the rise of Rome, the revived fourth and final beast-kingdom of Dan. 7:7, all under the guidelines of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is now engulfing the world, not suddenly, but gradually and deceptively, conditioning people to ignore and accept end-time lies created by Satan himself. But only those with discernment will see, hear and know.

In Jesus’ teachings of the end-times He foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, Matt. 24:2, which occurred in AD 70 by Titus the Roman Emperor. The parable of the fig tree then looks forward to a time future when Israel is once again established as a productive and fruitful nation, which the beginning thereof did not occur until May 14, 1948. And by the Hebrew 360-day per year calendar, May 2018 marks Israel’s 71st anniversary as that reestablished sovereign nation.

Jesus said, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree [the nation of Israel]: When its branch has already become tender [indicating new birth] and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, [Israel’s rebirth, maturation and signs of the tribulation (Matt. 24:4–28)] know that it [the end of this age] is near – at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matt. 24:32–35).

Just as God foretold ancient Israel’s Promised Land and how to get there, so also Christ foretold the end-times that post-Calvary Christians not be deceived by lies of a different return of Christ for the gathering of saints. The testimony of Christ for His return is as applicable for Christians as His testimony of repentance, confession, new birth faith, baptism and sanctification.

Jesus also said “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matt. 24:36). Pretribulation rapture teachers then erroneously use this as a proof text of an imminent return of Christ. But their assumption is again false because there’s a vast difference between knowing the “day and hour” from the season of His return for saints, as in, the unknown day within a period of 90 days for the gathering of saints, see Daniel 12:11–12.

While we keep an eye on Israel, we must discern other signs of the end. The rebirth of Israel is the sign Christ gave that reveals the final generation of this age. Other events like “wars and rumors of wars…nation will rise against nation…famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places…[being delivered] up to tribulation” (Matt. 24:6–8); “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:25–26), are all very important signs to discern.

There are yet other signs that must be discerned, such as Jesus warning that “as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37). Noah’s day was equivalent to modern day transhumanism. The genetic code of mankind was being changed in Noah’s day and it’s reoccurring today. Chimera, the product of comingled animal and human genetics, are now being developed by many nations. Artificial intelligence (AI) is also an extension of the same.

Jesus also warned that “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so it will be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:28–30). Lot’s day appeared normal, but was rife with sexual immorality, the equivalent of today’s increasingly normal LGBTQ and transgender issues.

I recognize the above is a daunting list “of things which are coming upon the earth”, but it isn’t the half of what’s to come. There are also the Seal, Trumpet and Bowl Judgments of Revelation. It takes a man with an undivided love for God and His Word to disseminate these truths to God’s people, to compassionately but boldly equip them beforehand with knowledge and truth.

As you carefully discern Jesus’ parable of the fig tree, also discern that God defines a generation from Psalm 90:10 as being 70 years and possibly 80 if by reason of strength, and realize that we likely have less than ten years before the end of this present age. Then press on to discover that God has a place of safety and provision for the time of the great tribulation. Love for God and people will compel you to teach the truth of the end-times. God, not man, will reward you.

Marlin J. Yoder

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“if indeed you continue”

Friday, February 23, 2018

Increasingly, it’s time to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:10–18).

God’s gift of salvation has come to us “by grace through faith” (Eph. 2:8–9), teaching that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3–4), and that, contrary to human nature, Christians must not “render evil for evil” (1 Thess. 5:15), and “not to resist an evil person” (Matt. 5:39), but to “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you…that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:44–45).

Therefore the murderer is not to be killed, but the evil spirit of murder driven from him by a life-giving faith in Christ; the thief not imprisoned, but the dark principality of theft driven from him by an all-supplying faith in Christ; the adulterer not stoned, but the wicked spirit of lust driven out by a sanctifying faith in Christ, etc. Why? – because God desires all men to be saved.

A true Christian’s spiritual eyes have been opened to see that behind every work of evil lies an evil spirit, a ruler of darkness, a hostile principality and host of wickedness that causes people to commit evil acts. Therefore, as ambassadors of Christ we do not administer wrath against people controlled by the “rulers of the darkness of this age”, but to do good and pray for their salvation, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4).

Until Jesus returns, the world will get darker and more violent, because Satan knows his time is short. Increasingly, the “rulers of the darkness of this age” are ascending from the pit to cover the earth. “And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon” (Rev. 9:11). This accounts for the sharp rise in murders, rage, theft, suicide, violence, hatred, corruption, immorality and disobedience.

Many Christians who hold to the false pretribulation rapture effectively stick their head in the sand and think there’s nothing to be concerned about for God will snatch them out of this world any second now before malevolent tribulation forces affect them, but they deceive themselves, because Christ gathers His elect saints “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31).

Our faith can remain strong in the midst of tribulation forces “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven” (Col. 1:23). However, many will be caught in “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3), for when the tribulation is revealed “many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another” (Matt. 24:10). Why, because Jesus foretold it.

The burden of my heart is this: because the church has largely departed from end-time truth, and rests ignorantly in the pretribulation rapture and “Left Behind” lie produced by evil spirits, most Christians cannot discern evil spirits creating false unions with Rome and many other spiritual traps set by demonic spirits who come only “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10).

Since the pretrib rapture crowd believes they will not be on earth for the tribulation, they gladly remain ignorant of it. But avoiding the gospel’s end-time truths will not diminish the reality of an imminent tribulation. Sadly, falsehoods in the church keep most people in blissful ignorance, but that ignorance will lead to a slaughter of unimaginable proportion, for, it was Almighty God Himself who said that “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6).

God warned us whose hope it is to be participant in “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6), “at the last day” (John 6:40, 44, 54), “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13), when “we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:51–52), when “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven” (1 Thess. 4:16), to “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thess. 2:3).

Many pastors, teachers and church leaders, however, know the truth of all this but remain silent, having a greater fear of men and false tradition than of God. They could otherwise prepare their congregations in the truth for the posttribulation rapture that both Jesus and His apostle’s taught. In this case silence is not golden, but is an end-time death trap and contempt for the truth.

A God-fearing, Spirit-led man will boldly declare the truths Christ taught and make no apology for it. It’s time to resist the protectionist mentality of an indefensible tradition set to sweep many to their destruction. It’s time for men of God to boldly stand and teach the truths for the time of the end – the same truths Jesus taught, and rescue many from “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3).

That’s called being Spirit-led – knowing and believing the truth and waging spiritual warfare in the Spirit, “pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:4–5) in those who teach falsehood, and praying against evil spirits who cause evil and unbelief. We must clothe ourselves in the truth of God.

Pray with me that the church be delivered from false traditions and teachings that promote the flesh and remove God’s authority. If you care about those under your charge, if you care for the church, if you care for praise from God rather than man, then join me in fervent prayer.

Now is the time to, “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:10). One can only do this “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard” (Col. 1:23). Are you prepared to endure to the end?

Marlin J. Yoder

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“Has God indeed said…?”

Friday, February 16, 2018

One cannot have a holy fear of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection with a dismissive attitude of any of Jesus’ and His Spirit’s teachings. That’s not love for Christ who purchased our salvation. We do well to measure what we believe in light of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection “For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him” (2 Tim. 2:11). Have you spiritually died with Him?

An effective deceit Satan uses against people, and especially Christians, is the same used against Eve in the Garden when he said, “Has God indeed said…?” (Gen. 3:1). When doubt regarding God’s authority overshadowed her heart, humanistic justification followed, God was dethroned, Eve was self-enthroned, and death was born. And the medium? – fruit that looked good!

It’s been occurring ever since that fateful day in Eden when “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim. 2:14). Webster says to deceive is “to cause to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid”. In this, many today are shameless.

It’s called pride. That first deception disguised as something good, even so notable as to “make one wise” (Gen. 3:6) causing the fall of the human race was rooted in Satan’s words, “Has God indeed said?” We must take serious note of that event which led to spiritual death, and apply it to everything we believe, what we don’t believe, and why. It’s truly about life and death.

The fruit of actually believing God produces true love, not a humanistic superficial love that avoids truth in order to achieve one’s will and favor of man, but true love for God, His Word and fellowman, a love that exposes deception and currents of humanism, yes, a love that warns God’s people of deceit and false church traditions. Hence, one’s great need for spiritual discernment.

The tempter, the deceiver, the evil one, the son of perdition, Satan, yet sows that same deceptive question into the hearts and minds of people today, in fact, more so today, because he knows that his time is short. And the only resource you and I have as Christians to discern deception from truth is the written Word of God contextually confirmed by the Holy Spirit.

However, many Christians, like Eve, seek justification of their own will and say things like, “The Holy Spirit told me this”, or “God is leading me to that”, when in fact, they haven’t searched the Word of the Lord regarding this or that. Their spirit is open like Eve’s, but clouded by their own desire, disguised even as wisdom. Thus, many are not led by God’s Word but by their flesh.

Here’s a reliable truth: God will NEVER lead anyone into any vocation or situation that is contrary to His written Word for Christians. Nor will God’s Spirit lead anyone to believe or teach that which runs counter to the testimony of Jesus Christ; rather, the one in Christ by faith will lay down his life for the truths of God in Christ who suffered Calvary for our salvation.

Though numerous, let me give you just two examples of humanistic justification many in the church enact in order to undo God’s Word. First, God clearly said, “Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says…If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14:34–37).

Many theologians and church leaders, however, fearing our culture more than God, which hates those who segregate gender in business or religion, bow the knee to cultural dictates and appoint women to offices of headship and authority in the church. They do this on the guise that 1 Cor. 14:34–37 was applicable only to the first century church. How conveniently deceptive.

Though having no Biblical support, they who undo the truth say that because women in the first century were disruptive in church, this exhortation exists. It’s assumed that God’s Word for the first century church is not intended for the church of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. What a deception! This mocks God with conjecture and assumes that He changes! But we must apply the truth, that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:6).

Furthermore, God gave reason why women are to be silent and not hold authoritative offices, i.e., pastor, teacher, deacon, elder, in the church, saying, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim. 2:12–14).

Secondly, many theologians and church leaders, fearing loss of their created pretribulation rapture tradition, assume that when Jesus taught the Olivet Discourse at Matthew 24, He spoke not to the church but only national Jews. Therefore, the gathering of Jesus’ elect “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31) has no application to the church. This, they say, is rightly dividing the Word of truth, but they deceive for their own benefit. Again, how very convenient.

Let’s test their approach to God’s Word. When Jesus, at night, taught “a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews…Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:1, 3), He must have meant that only national Jews needed to be born again, right? Therefore, this cannot apply to the church? But we again apply truth: Jesus said, “what I say to you, I say to all” (Mark 13:37). Yet, the evangelical church teaches that one must be born again to be saved. Thus, their former assumption is deception.

Christians need to discern that Jesus said of His earthly ministry, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24). Therefore, what Jesus taught was specifically to national Jews. But after Jesus’ death and resurrection He told would-be Christians, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19–20). The Words “all things” in that commission includes the Olivet Discourse!

Has God explicitly said “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve” (1 Tim. 2:12–13)? Most certainly. Has God explicitly said Christ “must remain I heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything” (Acts 3:21 NIV)? Indeed. Has God explicitly said that He raises the righteous dead “at the last day” (John 6:40, 44, 54) and in “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6)? Yes, indeed. Has God explicitly said that Christ gathers His elect saints “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31)? Yes. True Christians, then, have the obligation to teach and obey these truths.

Marlin J. Yoder

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