THE GOOD NEWS MINISTRY AND MISSIONS OUTREACH PROCLAIMING THE GOOD NEWS OF THE SOON RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST!
1. The True Church is Waiting
Most of us in speaking of the church think primarily of our own local church or denomination. This is what we call the visible church.
However, the Bible emphasizes most of all, that the True Church, the Spiritual Church, or invisible church is made up of all those who are truly born again through the precious blood of Christ and the infilling of The True Holy Spirit. The Greek word "ekklesia" translated "church" means "the called out ones."
For a proper understanding of the true meaning of the church we must observe that the church itself did not have its beginning until after the exaltation of Christ and the descent of the Holy Spirit. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said: "I will build my church." It was not as yet in existence.
The True Church that Christ is building now, in this day of Grace, is His Spiritual Church.
Christ's physical Church and God's physical government, will not be established on earth until the Second coming and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom.
In Eph. 1:20 - 23 we have the divine order:
(1) The exaltation of Christ to the right hand of God the Father that all things might be beneath Him;
(2) the giving of Him to be "head over all things to the church, which is his body." A church before the death of Christ would be an unredeemed church. A church before His resurrection would have been a church without the indwelling Spirit (John 20:22). A church before His exaltation would have been a headless body.
You may ask what the relation of the church is to the Old Testament saints. The answer is that the church is related to the Old Testament saints as a bride is related to the "friends" of her bridegroom. This is clearly set forth by John the Baptist in John 3:29: "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom; but THE FRIEND OF THE BRIDEGROOM, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: THIS MY JOY THEREFORE IS FULFILLED." Abraham was called the friend of God (James 2:23).
I am going to be very direct with you and ask you a personal question: Are you a member of the True and Faithful Bible Believing Church which is the true = body of Christ? Now I am not asking if you belong to a church or to a denomination. You can belong to every church in the land and still die and go to Hell. You can be christened, baptized as a child, confirmed, take communion, say prayers, read your Bible, go to church and still be lost and die and go to Hell.
Here is the question that will help you to determine whether or not you are truly born again by the True Spirit of God. If you should die right now, do you know for sure that you would go to be with the Lord which is far better? Oh, you say, "Pastor, can anybody know? I am not sure where I am going when I die."
My friend, God wants you to be saved and God wants you to be sure that you are going to heaven.
People have often said: "But pastor, I am not such a great sinner. Why do I have to be saved?" You have to be saved because you are as great a sinner as has ever walked this earth. The greatest sin any person can commit before God is to reject His Son's salvation. You have said "No" to Jesus Christ since you have never personally received Him as your own Saviour. I plead with you today to lay aside your pride and confess to the Lord the sin of your heart and receive Christ by faith as your own personal Saviour.
All who are truly saved become members of His body, which is the Spiritual Church. The Lord is still building His True Spiritual Church as men and women - - Jews and Gentiles - - are being regenerated by the power of the True Holy Spirit, and become vitally, Spiritual united to Christ and to one another by baptism and receiving the infilling of the One True Holy Spirit.
This True and faithful Bible Believing Church as we know it today is not a part of the present world system. We have been called out of the world and to be separate from the world and the things of the world. The true and faithful Bible Believing church is not to be involved in the things of the world, we were called to take the gospel of Christ to all the nations of the world, then the end will come and Christ will return. We are not to be involved in the business, economics, politics, social order or the education, science and technology of the world, but to be separate from all worldly things. The purpose of the Spiritual church is to witness to the realities of the Gospel. The true church's task is not to save the physical world, repair it, restore it, or build a physical world church system.
God will do that with the establishment of His Physical kingdom after His return. He will at that time, establish His Millennial Kingdom and then He will physically rule the earth. God's purpose in this age is the "calling out" of His Spiritual church. When the last soul is saved to complete the Spiritual body of Christ, then the Spiritual church will be caught away to be with her risen Lord.
The True Bible Believing Spiritual Church is a waiting church. As members of this Spiritual church we wait for five great events to take place.
*Firstly, the Spiritual Church is waiting for the coming of the Bridegroom. We are not waiting for the Lord to come as king but as the Bridegroom. Notice these important Scriptures. II Cor. 11:2: "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." The same thought is found in Eph. 5:25-30.
The picture is one that speaks of union, affection, tenderness, and nearness. In Eph. 2:4 - 6 we read: "God, who is rich in mercy...hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." As the queen sits beside her husband, so the bride of Christ waits for that day when she shall rule and reign with Him.
*Secondly, the Spiritual Church is waiting for the Rapture when the dead in Christ shall be raised to incorruptibility, and the living in Christ shall be changed to immortality, and the both will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
*Thirdly, the Spiritual Church is waiting for the judgment or "Bema" Seat at which time her works will be approved and for which she shall receive her rewards. God says in Rom. 14:10 and II Cor. 5:10 that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
The Bible has so much to say about this important event. Only the True Bible Believers of course are included in this scene. All those "Left Behind" be they apostates or unbelievers will receive their judgment at the "Great White Throne" which is described in Rev. 20:11-15.
John 5:29 speaks clearly of the two resurrections:
resurrection of life which takes place at the rapture for all True
Bible believers and
Now the Bema Seat is not a place of judgment for sin but it is a reward seat. In I Cor. 3:13 we read: "the first shall try every man's work of what sort it is." It is not a question of our salvation but of our works as believers in the Lord. It will be a matter of reward, or loss of reward.
While we are here as believers waiting for the return of Christ, we are told to watch. Rev. 16:15: "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."
There is a day coming when the Lord will reward us according to our faithfulness in watching. The Lord has crowns for each one of us:
(a) There is the crown of life (James 1:12). This crown is for those who endure trials. If we are going to be faithful to God and His Word we can expect many trials. So often we are tried here in our faith ministry. Many of you are being tried and tested today - - poor health, family problems, financial needs. But friends, put God to the test. Trust Him. Honor Him. There is a crown of life waiting you in that day.
b) There is the crown of righteousness (II Tim. 4:8) for all who love the appearing of our Lord and are therefore faithful in service. Friend of mine, are you being faithful to your Lord? Are you honestly tithing your money and your time and your talents for the Lord?
(c) There is the incorruptible crown (I Cor. 9:25) for all who run the true Christian race with his eye upon the one goal.
(d) There is the crown of glory (I Per. 5:4) for the under shepherd who faithfully feeds the flock of God. Here is a crown for every pastor, Sunday School teacher, parent, evangelist, radio pastor, who is faithful and true to God's Word.
(e) There is the martyr's crown (Rev. 2:10) for those who lay down their lives for Christ. We may not be asked to die for Jesus but we are asked to live for Him.
(f) There is the crown of rejoicing (I Thess. 2:19-20) or the soul - winner's crown. What a thrill to win souls. Every one of you could be a soul - winner by making a little sacrifice for God this week. It is when we sacrifice ourselves that we truly get the blessing from the Lord.
*Fourthly the Spiritual Church is waiting for the Spirit's presentation of herself unto the Bridegroom as a glorious thing without spot and wrinkle or any such thing. She is not waiting for the conversion of the world but for that glorious presentation day.
*Fifthly and finally, the Spiritual Church is waiting for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. (Read Rev. 19:7-9). In Rev. 19:8 we read: "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."
When the bride - to - be looks forward to the wedding she fills her hope - chest with fine linen to be ready to meet her bridegroom. We as believers have a hope - chest wherein God puts every righteous act. One day we shall stand before Him and shall be presented to Him - - to the praise of His glory.
May I continue by asking this important question: What have you put in your hope-chest for Christ today? Or yesterday? Or the past week? God wants us to be faithful and to place our good works as believers in this hope-chest. Let us be faithful in prayer, in our time, in our money, and lay up treasures in heaven.
It was Roger Babson who said: "$1 spent for a lunch lasts five hours. $1 spent for a necktie lasts five weeks. $1 spent for an automobile lasts five years. But $1 spent for reaching lost souls lasts for eternity."
Only one life, 'Twill soon be past; Only what's done for Christ Will last.
2. Will the Church go through the Tribulation?
As we continue today our study on the return of our Lord we recognize that much confusion has come from the various views held in Christendom. There are many schools of thought regarding the Rapture.
Those who believe in the premillennial return of Christ are divided into various groups which we shall mention:
Pre - tribulation rapture of the entire Church.
Today we consider the Tribulation period in relation to the church. At the beginning we should present the different scriptural passages that deal with this period of time:
it is described as
"a time of trouble."
It should be emphasized that while there have been periods of tribulation down through the years this particular period is called "The Great Tribulation." In Rev. 7:14 the literal translation is: "...These are they which come out of the tribulation the great...." The emphasis is upon the word "great" so that this passage has reference to a particular period called "The Great Tribulation."
In order to see the sequence of events let us consider briefly the seventy weeks of Daniel Chapter 9, which have not come to pass as yet. It is only when we see the break between the 69th and 70th week that we can see clearly that the Great Tribulation is to occur in this 70th week.
In the first few verses of Jeremiah 30 we have a prophecy concerning the restoration of Israel to the land of Palestine, when "they shall possess it." It cannot refer to the temporary return under Ezra and Nehemiah for they did not possess it except for a very short period of time. In verse 4 we have the description of the hour of trial coming upon the land which is "the time of Jacob's trouble." This is not the time of the church's trouble. When this trouble comes upon Jacob we are told that "he shall be saved out of it." The Great Tribulation period will end with the deliverance of Israel. All the other historical persecutions and tribulations upon Israel have resulted in a scattering of God's chosen people. But the Great Tribulation will mean the saving of them.
Daniel presents the same truth. In Chapter 11 we have the prophecy relating to the close of the Jewish dispensation down to the very "time of the end." We read of Israel's sorrows and sufferings under the Antichrist. "A king which shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished."
In Chapter 12 of Daniel we have a picture of the terrible time of trouble that is coming upon Israel. Many tell us that this refers to the suffering of Israel during the Roman Empire which was dreadful indeed. But the last part of the verse tells us "at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book." Israel was not delivered in the time of the Roman persecution for they were scattered everywhere.
To what time then does this refer? Notice verse 4: "But thou O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." Here we have a very remarkable sign of the time of the end; a great increase in travelling and a wide diffusion of knowledge. Surely we are living in this time today with so much travelling and with such a widespread increase in knowledge throughout the world.
How long then will this Great Tribulation last? In Matt. 24:22 we are told that for the elect's sake it shall be shortened. In Dan. 9:24-27 we saw that the "seventy weeks" began with the return of the Jews under Nehemiah to rebuild the walls in the city of Jerusalem. The sixty-ninth week ended with the crucifixion of the Messiah and the destruction of the city and the temple taking place between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth week.
God gave Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks during the time of the evening oblation, or at three o'clock in the afternoon. It was the same time that the passover lamb was slain and the same time that Christ, the Son of God, bowed His head and died.
Now these seventy weeks or more accurately, sevens of years, are seventy weeks of seven years each or 490 years when all things would be accomplished, transgression would be finished, and all prophecy fulfilled. This period is further broken up into seven weeks or 49 years; sixty-two weeks or 434 years; and one week or 7 years. Within the first 49 years Jerusalem was to be rebuilt. Within the 434 years the Messiah was to be cut off or crucified. Within the last period of 7 years the Antichrist was to appear and be finally destroyed by Christ.
We know, of course, that it was not given to Daniel to understand the church, the return of Christ to take away His Church, and to take unto Himself His bride. Sixty-nine weeks or 483 years have already been fulfilled which leaves only one week or seven years which will be the time of The Great Tribulation when God will deal with Israel and not with the church. So the tribulation period will be seven years in length.
Let us now ask ourselves one final important question: Who will go through the tribulation?
In I Cor. 10:32 we have presented God's division of all mankind into three classes: "The Jews ... the Gentiles ..., the church of God." The Jews as the nation Israel will pass through this great tribulation for we have seen it described as "The time of Jacob's trouble." The Gentile nations will go through this tribulation for it will cover the whole world. John saw in Rev. 7:9-14"a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues." There will be the martyrs of that period, who refuse to bow their knees to the Antichrist.
However, the True Church Jesus founded, which is neither Jew nor Gentile, will not pass through the Great Tribulation. Yes, the church will pass through many tribulations before the Lord returns. But the true church will not pass through the tribulation, the great one.
The True Church is not included with the Jews and Gentiles. We are all members of His body so that there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female, for all are one body in Christ Jesus. While the church may be called upon to suffer at the hands of wicked men and a cruel world yet this is not the suffering of the tribulations of "The wine - press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God"(Rev. 19:15).
The true Church cannot pass through His Wrath. God has already dealt with her sins, washed them in His blood, and she shall not come into condemnation. John 5:24 says: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." The True Church shall not come into condemnation or judgment.
In 1 Thess. 1:10 we are also told that Jesus Christ has "delivered us from the wrath to come." How wonderful it is to know that while we are often called upon here to suffer for our Lord, yet one day He is coming back to receive us and we shall be with Him for ever more, safe from the doom of the ungodly.
Another passage to show the true Church does not go through the tribulation is found in II Thess. 2:7-8: "The mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who hindereth will hinder (literal translation), until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked (Lawless one) be revealed." The Wicked one is the Antichrist. Who is He who hinders Satan's working in this world? It is the Holy Spirit of God. He "will hinder" the manifestations of the man of sin only until the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way.
And the true Holy Spirit who dwells in the true church, which is His Temple, will be "taken out of the way" at the rapture of the church. "THEN shall that Wicked one be revealed." With the seventieth week of Daniel not beginning until the Antichrist is revealed, and since the Antichrist cannot be revealed until the Holy Spirit (with His true Church) is "taken out of the way" we can surely see that the church cannot go through the Tribulation, the great one.
What a blessed hope we have. In the light of this hope He wants us to wait and watch, to occupy until He comes. And for those who are not saved how dreadful it is to realize that the Lord may come at any moment and each one of you may be called to go through this terrible tribulation period. Or you may die even now before the Lord returns and go to Hell, without Christ and without hope. Humble yourself today as a sinner and cry to Christ: "God be merciful to me A SINNER."
3. The Great Tribulation
In our studies we considered the fact of whether or not the Church would pass through the tribulation. By the tribulation we meant not the ordinary tribulations that often beset the Church, but The Great Tribulation as it is revealed in so many parts of God's Word. In our study we presented various reasons from scripture why the True Church will not pass through this tribulation.
Today we consider The Great Tribulation with the emphasis upon the event itself. The first important aspect is its political significance. During this period there will be a revived Roman Empire made up for the most part of ten different kingdoms or nations. In Dan. 7:1-28 it is revealed in the ten horns, and in Rev. 13:1-10 we have the same picture, with the addition of the crowns which stand for their power and rule. Then in Rev. 17 we have the picture of the last world ruler ridden by the great whore, which is the false church that has come through the Tribulation.
At the beginning the religious system of the period will control the government, but later the system under the Antichrist will turn upon the adulterous woman and will destroy her. (Most of us believe that this harlot represents the Church of Rome, and if so, then the very powers which she has nourished will destroy her.)
From the religious point of view, let us keep in mind that the True Church will have been raptured to meet the Lord in the air.
All of God's true and faithful children will have gone to be with the Lord which is far better. The false, counterfeit church will go through this Tribulation. During this period there will be in the world a person who will come in his own name whom the false church and apostate Israel will receive.
Jesus said in John 5:43: "I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not; if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." This person is presented in Rev. 13 as the first beast whom they worshipped. He is the same Antichrist of the Epistle of John and "the man of sin" mentioned by Paul.
Rev. 17:1-6 tells of the adulterous woman who is sitting upon the beast. Here is pictured for us one religion of the Tribulation which will be a union of all apostates of that time. Today all over the world we have this system in its beginning. The desire for a "One World Ecumenical - Ecclesiastical Church" is but the beginning of this great union of the Tribulation. Of course all believers will be raptured away at the coming of the Lord so that this union will consist of a federation of apostates and unbelievers.
Now let us see what will happen. The beast will make a covenant with apostate Israel, giving her protection, which will enable Israel to rebuild the temple and to restore her sacrifices. Then the Antichrist will not tolerate even this religion, will destroy the harlot, and will demand that all bow down and worship him. II Thess. 2:3-4: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 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."
In Rev. 13:12-14 we are told that this beast or Antichrist will have power over the first beast and will cause all to worship the first beast. All kinds of wonders and deceptions will be used to make man worship him and terrible punishment will come upon all who refuse to give him the place he demands.
Not only do we see the political significance of this event, and the religious emphasis, but also we have the event viewed in relation to Israel. Jeremiah describes this period as "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer. 30:7). Jeremiah also tells us that Israel "shall be saved out of it."
Now this word "trouble" certainly describes the entire history of the Jewish people. The record of God's Word sets forth Israel as disobedient, a nation enduring hardships, trials, murmurings, sin, which can all be summed up in the one word "trouble". The climax was reached with the crucifixion of Christ and from that day to this day God's ancient dearly - beloved people have had nothing but "trouble".
In Romans, Chapter 11, God sets forth very definitely the fact that Israel did not fulfill God's purposes because of her sin. In verse 11 we read: "I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy." God's Word does not say that because of their fall that they would fall to destruction.
But God does say that by their fall (which is a different Greek word from the first one) or by their trespass, offence, sin or fault, salvation came to the Gentiles. While the Jewish nation has stumbled, it will not be destroyed. The fact is that until their restoration and blessing, their sin in rejecting Christ as Messiah is being used unto the blessing of the Gentile world in that they have the privilege of hearing and receiving the Gospel message.
However, before Israel is restored, the nation will go through the time of Jacob's trouble which is The Tribulation, the Great One. Ezekiel tells us that God's people will go back into the land of Palestine in unbelief. After the rapture of the Church, the Antichrist will make a covenant with this apostate nation in her land, so that she will again rebuild the temple and restore her sacrifices. But in the middle of the seventieth week (Dan. 9:17) this prince will demand that all sacrifices cease. It is then (Rev. 12:13) that Satan is cast out of heaven, and the tribulation, or the "time of Jacob's trouble" will begin in earnest.
What can we say about the outcome of this terrible period? We know today that Israel is passing through the "night" experience of her history. This age is truly the "Jacob" age for the nation Israel for as a nation they are not Israelites or princes having power with God. Praise God there are Jews who have come to Christ and are princes indeed. Like Nathaniel of old it can be said of this remnant: "Behold an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile."
The nation itself is truly like Jacob but praise God there is still today a man wrestling with this people - - a man whose name has not yet been revealed to them. He is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
All the troubles of this nation since the Cross can truly be seen as God wrestling with them. Their unbelief can truly be likened to Jacob's resistance to the Man who wrestled with him (Gen. 32:24-32). The Great Tribulation period with all its suffering and sorrow will be like the final stroke that fell upon Jacob when his thigh was thrown out of joint. Only then will Israel cry to God: "We will not let thee go except thou bless us."
Yes, Jacob surrendered and he became Israel indeed. He was made a new creation. And that is exactly how the nation Israel will one day enter into the true meaning of that word Israel. What a day it will be as we read about it in Zec. 12:10-13:1: "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first born... In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness."
I love the passage in Ezekiel 39:25,27-29: "Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name. When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them into their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I have my face any more from them: for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God."
Yes, there are dark days ahead for Israel. But God shall deliver them from them. In that day shall the Son of Righteousness rise with healing in His wings. They will try to destroy this nation.
They will cry: "Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee" (Ps. 83:4-5). Confederacy against Israel is a confederacy against God. When the moment is darkest Christ will return and deliver Israel. Antichrist will be destroyed.
There will be universal mourning amongst the inhabitants of Jerusalem, followed by the national conversion of Israel. yes, Christ shall occupy David's throne as Lord and there shall come the millennial reign and the blessing through Israel of the whole Gentile world.
And as "the sun rose upon Jacob" as he walked away from that terrible night of wrestling and struggle, so will Israel walk in the light of God's glorious countenance.
Let us thank God for the hope of His eternal word. There is no hope apart from God and apart from His divine revelation in the Bible. I plead with each and every one of you, Jews and Gentiles alike, if you are not born again, to come to Jesus. He alone can save you from sin. He along can give inward peace. He alone has hope for every longing heart. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as well" (Isa. 1:18).
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me" (John 14:6).
4. Prophetic Types
We are trying this month to include in our Bible study those truths that are not too often mentioned and are not always understood by the average believer. Our concluding study is on some of the Bible types that present great prophetic truth.
A "type", as used with reference to Bible teaching, is a divinely purposed illustration of some spiritual truth. The Bible tells us in I Cor. 10:11: "Now all these things happened unto them (Israel) for ensamples (types): and they are written for our admonition...." Types are illustrations of the truth. The are like shadows or symbols but they help in the full understanding of the Bible.
Some of the familiar passage setting forth types centre around the Old Testament tabernacle, or the Levitical offerings of Melchizedek, Isaac and Joseph, Moses and other leaders depicting the Person, work, and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Leaven and leprosy are familiar types representing sin. The seven churches of Rev. 2 and 3 are types of the entire history of the church from Acts to the coming of our Lord.
When we consider types in relation to prophecy, we think first of three men who picture for us a "taking out" or a rapture. These men are Enoch, Noah, and Lot.
Jesus, in speaking of the last days, said: "As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be"(Matt. 24:37). He also said: "Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot... even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed."
When we look more closely at Enoch we see a type of the rapture of the church. However, before considering Enoch let us refer to a wonderful type not commonly recognized, in Methuselah his son. God had already revealed to Enoch that the dispensation in which he had lived was rapidly drawing to an end. In Jude, verses 14 and 15 we read that he preached judgment when the Lord would come with ten thousand of His saints to execute judgment upon all.
Up until Methuselah's birth the time of this judgment had not been revealed to Enoch.
When Methuselah was born God gave to Enoch a new revelation concerning the exact time of this coming judgment. The name Methuselah means "while he liveth it (the flood) shall not be."
For those who believe in verbal inspiration, this prophecy becomes very significant. God promised that as long as Methuselah lived the judgment prophesied by Enoch would not become a reality. We now know that Methuselah died in the very year that the flood came upon the earth. Here we have the reason why he lived all those years. It portrays God's long - suffering toward man in giving him more time to turn from his sin.
This is exactly the picture we have in II Pet. 3:9 where Peter gives to us the divine explanation of why our Lord has not yet returned: "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
God lengthened Methuselah's life because his death would mean the end of that day of grace. The coming of our Lord is being delayed because it will mean the end of the day of grace for this old world of sin.
This helps us in our consideration of Enoch. Enoch walked with God and enjoyed fellowship with God for three hundred years in an age of increasing wickedness and under the prophecy of coming judgment. Suddenly, without previous warning either to himself or to the world he was translated (Raptured) from earth to heaven.
This is a picture of all believers as members of the church. The church, like Enoch, has been called of God. The church is to have fellowship with her Lord in an age of spiritual darkness and unbelief. Suddenly, like a thief in the night, one day she shall be caught up in the air to meet the Lord. In Heb. 11:5 we read: "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated Him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that He pleased God." So the church which our Lord loved and gave Himself for truly pleases Him and He desires us to walk closely in fellowship with Him until the shout is heard and we are ushered into His very presence.
Let us now turn to the second person by the name of Noah. Jesus said in Luke 17:26,27: "And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all."
The main type picture here presents the two - fold aspect of the coming of the Lord which shall inaugurate the day of judgment.
In God's appointed time Noah was called into the ark and the door was shut. The world did not understand God's summons to Noah until his elect family had disappeared from sight. In the meantime, the world went on marrying and giving in marriage, eating and drinking, and living in sin. Then, came the storm of God's judgment.
So we have two parts in this important event: first, the evacuation of Noah's family of eight and second, the outward downpour of judgment from heaven. A vivid picture of this is given to us in Matt. 24:36-51. Surely there is not a clearer picture or type in the entire Bible dealing with the rapture of the church and the coming judgment of God after the rapture.
Now when we come to Lot we find in him the life and characteristics of the worldly believer. He "pitched his tent towards Sodom," then he "entered" Sodom, then he made Sodom his home, becoming an office holder "sitting at the gate", having lost his testimony for God altogether. When God could put up with the wickedness of this city no longer He sent His angels to snatch Lot from out of the city just before His flaming judgment fell. Notice very specifically that the judgment was withheld until Lot was taken out.
I wonder if we realize today the tremendous influence of believers in this Sodom - like world in which we live. While sin abounds and certain doom is pending the church must first be raptured before the judgment of God falls. Luke 17:28 - 30:"Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot: they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; /but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed."
Another marvellous prophetic type is found in Dan. 2. Here we have the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in which he beholds a giant image with head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, feet part of iron and part of clay. Then he sees a stone cut out of the mountain without hands which falls upon the feet of the image, breaking it into pieces, the fragments of which are carried away as the dust of a summer's threshing floor. This stone in turn becomes a great mountain filling the whole earth.
The interpretation is given to us in verses 36-43. The image represents the whole Gentile rule from the days of Nebuchadnezzar until the coming of the Son of Man to set up His Kingdom. Concerning this termination we read in verses 44-45:"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure."
This stone cut out of the mountain without hands is surely the Lord Jesus Christ, "the stone rejected by the builders". Several references should be looked up to verify this truth: (Psalm 118:22; Matt. 21:42-44; Luke 20:17-18; Acts 4:11; I Peter 2:7-8.)
The falling stone brings to an end the times of the Gentiles and speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ coming in judgment upon the ten kings (the feet of the image) under the man of sin, the Antichrist. Both Matt. 21:44 and Luke 20:18 tell us that the judgment of Christ is to be seen in the falling stone: "And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." This removes all doubt as to the interpretation of this type.
Israel stumbled against this stone which to her is a stumbling - stone and a rock of offence with the result that she has been broken as a nation and scattered throughout the world, as the Jewish people are today.
To the Gentile world this stone will be a smiting stone of destruction, when the Christ - rejecting world of the Gentiles will also be broken, crushed, and completely destroyed as the stone falls. The coming of Christ will grind to powder the enemies of the Son of God. Man's day with its boasted progress and self - deification will come to an end. Its sun will set in the judgment of God's wrath, sweeping away all who rejected His Gift of love, the Lord Jesus Christ.
So we have considered just a few of the types used of God to explain some of the deep things of the divine plan of the ages. But most of all, I believe God would have us see, through these types, that "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
God has spoken and provided a way of escape from the wrath which is to come. Why not today, come as you are - - a sinner - - and trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Saviour?
Let Us Pray Together--
PRAY: "God be merciful to me a sinner. Receive me now for Christ's sake. Cleanse me from my sin by your precious blood, shed on the cross for me; lead me to be Baptized and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Teach me to pray each day; to read Your will for my life from your word, the Bible; and help me to worship and serve You in the fellowship of your church. I thank you Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN!