The Cloud of Glory is moving – out from the backslidden church system

A call to faithful believers in Christ Jesus to be part of God’s move, in these last days, to build His Church according to His divine structure, out from the backslidden church system (the adulterous bride of Christ – the great whore in Revelation 17) and the lifelessness of its organized religion.

Revelation 18:4 (NKJV)
“And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.”

Rapture? Or No Rapture – Part 3 [Two shall be… one shall be taken]

Then shall two be in the field; one shall be taken, and the other left, Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left

(Matthew 24:40-42)

 

Last time, God in His mercy, opened up 1 Thessalonians 4:17 for us to understand and draw encouragement from. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is the passage that talks about being caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And now we understand what it truly means and how we should prepare to be part of it.

 

As the Lord helped us to understand that passage, so we trust Him to mercifully open Matthew 24:40-42 to us:

 

“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” [Matthew 24:40-42, KJV]

 

Many of us are quite familiar with this verse, especially because of Rapture.

But does this passage actually refer to Rapture?

Truthfully, IT DOES NOT, and we can tell from Luke 17:37

 

34 I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left.

36 Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left. 37 And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?” So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”” [NKJV]

 

Now this answer “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together” does not sound like Rapture. Rather, it is a great separation¾a great separation of the eagles in these last days. But to understand this separation we should ask three questions:

  1. Who are the eagle?
  2. What is the body?
  3. Where is the body?

 

WHO ARE THE EAGLES?

 

Isaiah 40:31 says: “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” [NKJV]. Such are the people symbolized as eagles. They are believers who faithfully maintain a healthy relationship with our Lord Jesus, and by so doing, are able to remain strong spiritually. They are the ones gathered to where the body is because their spiritual ears are open to hear what the Holy Spirit says to the church.

 

WHAT IS THE BODY?

 

The body is the body of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the bread of life. In John 6:51 He said:

 

51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world… 53 … Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” [NKJV]

 

This is what these eagle believers are gathered to do: to eat the flesh of our Lord Jesus and drink His blood so that they can have life. But how do they eat His flesh and drink His blood to gain eternal life? Our Lord Jesus explains in John 5:24 saying:

 

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” [NKJV]

 

And in Luke 11:28 He said:

 

“… blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” [NKJV]

 

So we see that the eagle believers eat of our Lord Jesus’ body [to gain eternal life] by hearing His words, doing them and using them to grow in faith in God. Moreover, when we remember that our Lord Jesus is the Word of God, we can understand that eating His body simply means feeding on the Word of God.

 

Knowing these [that the body which the eagles feed on is the body of our Lord Jesus and that they feed on Him by hearing His Word, believing it and doing it] we can move to the next question:

 

WHERE IS THE BODY?

 

With what we have learnt from the previous question, this question can be rephrased as: where is the Word of God? Or: where can we feed on the body of our Lord Jesus? And our Lord Jesus has already answered it. In Matthew 18:20 He said:

 

“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

 

This means that our Lord Jesus is spiritually present to feed His eagles with His word wherever and whenever they are gathered together in fellowship.

 

We can therefore understand that the prophecy of “… two shall be … one shall be taken …” is pointing to a time when God will gather His true believers out from wherever they may be to where they can truly feed on the word of God. Or to be more specific, it is pointing to a time when God will move His true people out from the backslidden church system and lead them into simple fellowships that operate in Spirit and in Truth, just as it was with the early church [gathered out from the backslidden organized Jewish religious system]. This is so that He can finally have a church that is truly without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish [not incorporated under any person, group of persons, or government, but fully owned and headed by the Lord Jesus Himself]. This is a very significant event in these last days, to get the bride of Christ ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb, but only the eagles will have ears to hear the call of the Holy Spirit¾a call made through the different messages He is sending among His people in these days.

 

This gathering of the eagle believers is so important that it is prophesied again in Revelation 12:14. There it is compared to the exodus of Israelites from Egypt to the wilderness. It reads:

 

“But the woman 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, from the presence of the serpent.” [Revelation 12:14, NKJV]

 

In this passage, the woman represents the true bride of Christ. This woman is made up of the eagle believers who are gathered to where they can feed and be nourished with the true word of God. The great eagle represents the people God will use to carry out this gathering. They are symbolized as a great eagle because their ministry is similar to that of Moses. In Exodus 19:4 God also symbolized Moses’ ministry as eagle’s wings. It reads:

 

“And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4 You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.” {NKJV]

 

The eagles’ wings by which God brought the Israelites out of Egypt into the wilderness refers to the ministry of Moses. And God used a similar symbol to represent the people He will use to lead the exodus of His eagles out from “Egypt” into “the wilderness”.

 

We can thus understand that what our Lord Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:40-42 and Luke 17:34-37 is actually A GREAT EXODUS OF EAGLE BELIEVERS FROM “EGYPT” TO “THE WILDERNESS” [where the body is], through the ministry of people who are already mature eagles. We are then faced with two questions:

  1. What is the Egypt the eagles are gathered out from?
  2. What is the wilderness they are gathered to for nourishment?

 

When we understand these two things, we will appreciate how important it is in these last days, and why we must be among those eagles that are gathered, if we want to be part of the marriage supper of the Lamb.

 

THE EGYPT AND THE WILDERNESS

 

This Egypt is mentioned in Revelation 11:8. It reads:

 

“And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” [NKJV]

 

Our focus is on the great city which is also spiritually called Sodom and Egypt. This great city is the Egypt that God’s eagles are being gathered out from in these last days. But what is this great city? Revelation 17:18 gives us a clue. It reads:

 

“And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.” [NKJV]

 

But who is this woman? Verses 1-6 of the same chapter reads:

 

“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup of full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.”

 

From this passage, we see that this woman [this great city Egypt] is also symbolized as a great harlot [a great whore]. But why is she called a great harlot? If we read Jeremiah chapter 3, we will see that God called the Israelites a harlot [a whore] when they backslid from Him to worship idols. It reads:

 

1 “They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man’s, May he return to her again? Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; yet return to Me,” says the LORD … 6 The LORD said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. 7 And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to me.’ But she did not return… 8 Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. 9 So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees… 11 Then the LORD said to me, Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous that treacherous Judah… 14 “Return, O backsliding children,” says the LORD; ‘for I am married to you… 20 Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, So have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel,” says the LORD… 22 “Return, you backsliding children, And I will heal your backslidings.”…” [NKJV]

 

From this passage, we see that God called the Israelites a harlot [a whore] because they backslid and committed spiritual adultery by turning away from Him [their Husband] and going to worship idols of stone and trees. But this was the Old Testament. In the New Testament, however, the church is the bride of Christ; and so a whore used as a symbol in the New Testament represents a church that is backslidden and commits spiritual adultery. This is what the great harlot in Revelation 17 represents. This is what the great city represents. This is what “the Egypt” represent. This is what God’s eagles are gathered out from. A backslidden church system. In the days of our Lord Jesus, this great city was expressed as the backslidden Jewish religious system of the priests, the pharisees, the sadducees and the scribes. But it is has evolved to be expressed as the backslidden church system. Beginning with the Roman Catholic Church [the whore riding on the beast [the Roman Empire]], down to her harlot daughters, many of whom are Pentecostal, Evangelical and Charismatic churches. The entirety of this backslidden church system [mother and daughters] is what God’s eagles are gathered out from. And since this backslidden church system is symbolized as Egypt, we can understand that this gathering is A GREAT EXODUS, with the pharaohs being the false prophets and leaders in the backslidden church system, the Israelites being the eagles, and the Moses being the great eagle. This is what is about to happen, and we must pray to get out of Egypt quickly because God has said in Revelation 18:4:

 

“And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” [NKJV]

 

The wilderness, on the other hand, represents simple fellowship gatherings without a “city-structure” [not incorporated or registered as an organization], where Jesus Christ is truly the Head, they worship in Spirit and in Truth, operating in oneness as a body [as described in Ephesians 4:1-13], according to the pattern God set for His New Testament church, as can be learnt from the early church in scriptures.

 

It is those who are part of the eagles [collectively shown as the true bride in Revelation 12:14] that will be nourished and prepared for marriage to our Lord Jesus. They are the ones later described in Revelation 19:7:

 

“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine lined, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”” [NKJV]

 

Indeed, only those who are gathered as eagles out of the backslidden church system will be called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. This is particularly true in these last days, because all those who remain in the backslidden church system will be taken over by the gentiles and be made to accept the mark of the beast.

 

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” [Revelation 3:22, NKJV]

 

Amen.

 

For more information, you may contact us at: lightintheeveningtime@gmail.com. God bless you.

 

 

 

 

Preparing for the great tribulation – the coming spiritual winter

 “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

[Matthew 24:20-21, KJV]

 

What is the great tribulation?

It is a time of great pressure, trouble, distress and persecution for Christians, to such a level that has never happened before in history since the world began. It has already begun, but there is a particular three and half year period where it will be most intense. It is this period that is mentioned in the bible. Why will this three and half year period be most intense? It is because at that time, the whole world would have come together under one antichrist world government, which will lead the world to oppose Christ and His people to the highest level possible. It will indeed be a difficult time for many Christians, but for some, it is written:

 

“… but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”

[Daniel 11:32, KJV]

 

We will all need to be among such people who know their God, so that we can be strong and still be able to do God’s service even in those difficult time. That’s why we need to actively, consciously and prayerfully prepare now. And for those who don’t prepare, our Lord Jesus has said:

 

10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” [Matthew 24:10-12, KJV]

 

May we not be among those whose love for Christ goes cold. In Matthew 24:20, this great tribulation period is symbolically referred to as winter, because it is a period that will pressure the faith and love of many Christians to freeze and become cold. But how do we prepare for physical winter? We put on layers of thick clothing, including a good winter jacket. Likewise, spiritually, to prepare for this great tribulation, we need to put on the necessary layers of spiritual clothing. What are they? We can find them in Ephesians 6:11-18 and Colossians 3:12-14:

 

Ephesians 6:11-18 reads: “11 PUT ON the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” [KJV]

 

Colossians 3:12-14 reads: “12 PUT ON therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things PUT ON charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” [KJV]

 

From this passage we see that to adequately cover ourselves so that our faith and love for Christ does not grow cold during the great tribulation, the great spiritual winter:

  • we need to put on an attitude of always telling the truth no matter how difficult,
  • we need to have a heart of righteousness [thinking only things that are right],
  • we need to always be prepared to share the gospel wherever we go,
  • we need to be strong in faith [not doubting God not matter the situation],
  • we need to maintain a consciousness that we have been saved and also maintain a hope that we will be fully saved [from sin, from satan, from death, and all things that are not God’s will for us],
  • we need to fill ourselves with God’s word [reading it, meditating on it and talking about it],
  • we need to pray always in the Spirit [speaking in tongues as an act of faith that the Holy Spirit should pray for the things we do not know of],
  • we need to be patiently watchful for one another so that no one falls or grows cold [else it will have a negative effect on our faith],
  • we need to be merciful to people,
  • we need to be kind to people,
  • we need to have a humble mind [not thinking of ourselves higher than others],
  • we need to be meek [gentle in the way we relate with people, not harsh],
  • we need to be willing to suffer long,
  • we need to bear with one another and forgive one another, and above all,
  • we need to have love [charity]. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 tells us that love is willing to suffer long and still be kind, love does not envy, love does not parade itself, love is not puffed up [is not proud], love does not behave rudely, love does not seek its own, love is not easily provoked, love does not think evil of people, love does not rejoice in sin [in things that are wrong], love only rejoices in the truth, love is willing to bear all things, believe all things [about God and His Word], hope all things [in God’s Word] and endure all things [while doing God’s will]. And by doing so, 1 Corinthians 13:8 says love never fails. As such, if we are serious about enduring through the great tribulation and remaining strong for Christ then we need God now to help us put on love properly.

 

These are things we need to put on now [and get used to having them on] so that they can serve as layers of covering to protect our faith and love for Christ during the spiritual winter [the great tribulation].

 

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL.

 

There’s one more things our Lord Jesus instructed us to do. In Matthew 24:15-16 He asked us to flee from the defiled temple to the mountains: “15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:” [KJV]. And then in verses 20 and 21 He said that we should pray that our flight [our fleeing] is not during the great tribulation: “20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Meaning, we are supposed to come out of the defiled temple and flee to the mountains before the great tribulation if we want our faith and love for Him to survive.

 

So what is the defiled temple we are to come out from?

And what is the mountain we are to flee to?

 

The temple is the house of God. In the Old Testament, it was a physical building, but in the New Testament, it is a spiritual building, it is the Church, the assembly of God’s people together. 1 Timothy 3:15 makes this clear saying: “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” [KJV]. As such, the defiled temple in the New Testament, refers to churches that have turned away from God and are doing things that does not please God. Or put differently, the defiled temple represents the backslidden church system. This is what God wants His people to come out from in these days if they want to survive the great tribulation. We will discuss more on this later. But what is the mountain God wants us to go to? It is the mount of Olives [but symbolically speaking]. In Matthew 24:1-3 when our Lord Jesus began saying the things in Matthew 24, we are told that He departed from the temple and went to the Mount of Olives. It is from there He did all His speaking. This was a prophetic act to say that His presence is no longer in the defiled temple [in the backslidden church system]. And so, His people should come out from there to where He is. But where is He? In Matthew 18:20 He said: “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” [KJV]. So, the Lord is wherever His people are gathered. We can therefore understand that what the Lord is saying is that, after coming out of the backslidden church system, He wants us to go to simple holy gatherings of His people. That is where He is in these days that the mainstream organized church system has been defiled. He is in simple holy fellowships of His people who gather wherever convenient, without the add-ons of an institutionalized structure or registration as a religious organization. It is such simple fellowships that are symbolized as the Mount of Olives, where He is. So when He says “… flee to the mountains” He is saying Christians in these last days should flee to simple fellowship assemblies where the focus is truly on the Word of God, prayer, oneness and being led by the Spirit of God.

 

Why is it so important to come out of the defiled temple now?

Why must we urgently flee to the mountains?

 

It is because like our Lord Jesus said in Matthew 24:15, the abomination in the defiled temple will cause desolation. Desolation means destruction. Meaning, the abomination will cause destruction to come to the church system. Luke 21:20-21 adds more detail. It says: “20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.”.

 

Here, we see that part of the reason why it is urgent for Christians to run out of the backslidden church system is because Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies. Jerusalem? What does Jerusalem have to do with the Church? Jerusalem is another name for the Church. This is explained very well in Galatians 4:22-26. It reads:

 

22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” [KJV]

 

This passage explains the two covenants: the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. It shows that the Old Covenant is what produced the physical Jerusalem [the Jews], while the New Covenant is what produced the spiritual Jerusalem. This spiritual Jerusalem is called “Jerusalem which is above” because it is made up of Christians who are spiritually sited together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus [as we are told Ephesians 2:6].

 

Revelation 21:2, 9 and 10 also confirms this – that the Church is called Jerusalem. It reads:

 

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,” [KJV]

 

This passage shows us that the Lamb’s wife [which is the Church – the bride of Christ] is spiritually called New Jerusalem – the Jerusalem of the New Covenant. This is the Jerusalem we care about. So when we are told that Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies, then it means that the church system will be surrounded and pressured by governmental forces. So we definitely need to flee before this happens.

 

Revelation 11:1-2 further reiterates this – that the church will be surrounded and pressured by ungodly governmental forces. It says: “1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” [KJV]

 

In this passage, the holy city is Jerusalem. But as we have learned, this Jerusalem is not the physical Jerusalem, but the spiritual Jerusalem [the New Jerusalem which is the Church]. So, this passage is telling us that the Gentiles [the ungodly governmental forces] will tread down the Church for forty two months. These forty two months are the final three and half years when the great tribulation is most intense [as we mentioned in the beginning of this message]. It is this situation of gentiles tramping on the church that our Lord Jesus described as Jerusalem surrounded by armies in Luke 21:20. And why will God allow this? It is because, just as the Jewish religious system had backslidden to the point of not recognizing the Son of God, so also the church system has backslidden to the point of not knowing that Christ has departed out of her and has gone to “the mount of Olives” [simple and holy fellowship gatherings of His people where He is present, through His Spirit, to teach and guide them into all truth].

 

The temple [the house of God] in the above passage [Revelation 11:1] also refers to the Church. So when the passage says “… Rise and measure the temple of God …” it means: Rise and measure [evaluate] the church. Obviously, at this point, the measurement reveals that the church [the temple] is defiled, which is why our Lord Jesus says we should flee to the mountains where He is [we should flee to simple holy gatherings of believers where He is present to teach and guide them through His Spirit].

 

Not yielding to this call to flee to the mountains will mean that you will still be in there when the gentiles [the antichrist world governing powers] surround and take over the institutionalized church system. Obviously at that time you will want to come out but it will be much difficult then. So, in Matthew 24:20-21 our Lord Jesus warns to pray that we do not begin to flee during the great tribulation. If you are caught in the temple [in the church system] when the gentile antichrist governing forces move to take over the church, the following are the things our Lord Jesus said will happen:

 

“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” [KJV]

 

What does it mean to fall by the edge of the sword? In Ephesians 6:17 we are told that the sword of the spirit is the Word of God. This is the weapon of a believer. But for an unbeliever [for an ungodly person, a gentile] their sword is definitely not the word of God; rather, it is the word of satan. So how will people fall by the word of satan? It simply means that the faith of many Christians will be killed through the deceitful words and ideologies of ungodly antiChrist forces. Our Lord Jesus hinted of how great this assault [through deceitful words] will be when He said: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” [Matthew 24:24, KJV]

 

What does it mean to be led away captive into all nations? It means to be taken away from Jerusalem and led somewhere else. Since Jerusalem represents the Church, the other nations represent other religions and ideologies foreign to God’s truth. The physical version has already happened to the Jews, such that they are scattered across almost all nations of the world. But the spiritual version of Christians being led away from the core truths of God’s Church into other religions and ideologies is about to happen. These other religions and ideologies will be contained within the antiChrist one world religion. It is this one world religion and its governmental influence that will surround the institutionalized church system to make it conform by force. And the people they find still in the church system [still in the defiled temple] they will lead them away captive to accept the ideologies of other religions as equally valid, and that Christ Jesus is not the only way to God.

 

These are what will happen to those who remain in the registered/institutionalized church system by the time the great tribulation starts, and it will be more difficult for them to come out then. Our Lord Jesus explains how difficult it will be to come out then by likening the great tribulation to the winter and the Sabbath day. Thinking physically, imagine how difficult it will be to climb a mountain in the winter, especially when you don’t even have the necessary clothing. It will be terrible. The person may never make it. That’s how terrible it will be for a person trying to depart from the organizational church system after it has been taken over by the gentile world government powers. The person may never make it. Our Lord also described it as the Sabbath day. On the Sabbath day nobody does any work. If you are caught doing any work you’ll charged as guilty of the law. Likewise, during the great tribulation, no one is allowed to do any work for God. It will be deemed unacceptable and seen as a resistance to the new order. If a person then wants to oppose the gentile forces by going away from the captured church system, such a person will be seen as an enemy to the new order and will be dealt with. As such, it will truly be a difficult thing to come out of the defiled temple [the organizational church system] during the great tribulation, after the antiChrist world powers have taken over all church organizations.

 

Now is the time to flee to where our Lord Jesus is – simple and holy fellowship gatherings of His people, wherever convenient, and where the focus is the Word of God, prayers, oneness in love and being led by the Spirit of God. He has said:

 

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” [Matthew 18:20, KJV]

 

May the Lord help us to heed this call. Amen.

 

For more on this, kindly reach out: lightintheeveningtime@gmail.com

  • LIGHT IN THE EVENING TIME

Rapture? Or No Rapture -Part 2

For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first

(1 Thessalonians 4:16)

 

Last time, by God’s grace, we focused on verse 17 of First Thessalonians chapter 4. We learnt that the clouds represents the presence of God and the air represents the spiritual realm of the earth. We understood that to be part of those who are caught up to meet the Lord in the air, we need to always remain in the clouds, in God’s presence, and allow Him to put His laws into our hearts and write them in our minds.

 

Now, we will focus on verse 16 to learn something very interesting. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 reads:

 

“16 For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” [KJV]

 

Verse 16 tells us that our Lord will descend from heaven. Meaning, His journey begins from heaven. Then verse 17 says that we will meet Him in the air. Meaning, His journey concludes in the air. But the fact is that it’s not just a journey. It’s a progressive take-over. It’s like the coming of the sun in the morning. As the sun approaches the darkness begins to fade away because of the sun’s light until the sun’s light completely takes over. So also, as our Lord is descending from heaven to the air, He is actually progressively taking over from the powers of darkness. But this will make more sense when we realize that the heaven and the air are different spiritual realms. There are three spiritual realms from heaven to the air. The heaven our Lord is coming from is the third and highest spiritual realm [as Paul calls it] because there the Kingdom of God is fully established and His glory is fully shown. But as He descends, He takes-over the other two spiritual realms¾the air being the final one He will take-over. We will now proceed to discuss these three spiritual realms, and we trust God to help us. Amen.

 

The Three Spiritual Realms – from heaven to the air

 

We should know that there are actually three spiritual realms, counting from heaven to the air. The highest of these three spiritual realms is heaven, and it is also known as the third heaven, or paradise. We can find this in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 which reads:

 

“1 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago, whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows, such a one was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know such a man, whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows 4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” [NKJV]

 

In this passage, Paul referred to heaven as the third heaven to show that it is the highest spiritual realm. Highest in the sense that it is the most glorious spiritual realm: the realm where the Kingdom of God is fully established, the will of God is perfectly done, and the glory of the King is greatly shown. Now, because he called it the third heaven, we know that there are two lower spiritual realms. These two spiritual realms came into existence when God created the heaven and earth of this world. We should keep in mind that when God created this world, He created both a physical and spiritual world. Our physical bodies exist in the physical world, while our spirits exist in the spiritual world. Just as the physical world has a heaven and an earth, so also the spiritual world has an upper and a lower realm. The “upper” in spiritual context simply means a realm of higher authority. So the upper realm in the spiritual world is the position of spiritual authority over the lower realm, and this lower realm is the air. It is called the air because it is the spiritual equivalent of the physical space filled with air: the space below the clouds. Physically speaking, this space filled with air is where all general human activity takes place. Similarly, the lower spiritual realm, the air, is where all human spirits exist [except those who are seated with Christ in the third heaven].

 

We can learn more about the upper and lower realms of this world from Genesis 1:6-7. It reads:

 

“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. [7] And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.” [KJV]

 

From this passage, the upper realm of this world is the one above the firmament, while the lower realm is the one below the firmament. The firmament is essentially made up of the clouds. As such, the upper realm, physically speaking, is the one above the clouds, while the lower realm is the one below the clouds; and as we know, it is this lower realm [below the clouds] that is filled with air.

 

But our main desire is to learn about the spiritual upper and lower levels of this world. Romans 1:20 tells us that we can use the visible things that God has created to understand the invisible things [the spiritual things]. So, to understand the spiritual realms of this world, we can look at how God set the physical realms. Genesis 1:16-18 says:

“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.” [KJV]

 

From this passage we see that God set the sun, moon and stars in the upper realm of this world. And the reason He put them there is so that they can rule over the lower realm and influence it with their light. This therefore gives us a clue to understand that just as the physical upper realm is the place of authority and influence over the physical realm, so also the spiritual upper realm is the place of spiritual authority over the spiritual lower realm. This spiritual upper realm is the spiritual heaven of this world. And we can also call it the spiritual second heaven, since the third heaven is of greater authority than it. As for the spiritual lower realm of this world, it is the spiritual realm Paul referred to as the air, and we may also call it the spiritual first heaven. These are the three spiritual realms from heaven [the third heaven] to the air [the first heaven]. The Kingdom of God is already fully established in heaven [the third heaven]. But the plan is not for the Kingdom to only be established in heaven. Our Lord Jesus taught us to pray saying:

 

“… Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. 10 Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” [Matthew 6:9-10, KJV]

 

Notice that He said “… in earth…” not “… on earth…”. This is a spiritual statement. The heaven and earth referred to here are spiritual not physical. It is in the spiritual heaven [the spiritual third heaven] that the will of God is perfectly done. But the plan is that the will of God will also be perfectly done in the spiritual earth. The spiritual earth refers to the realm where all human activity takes place, which is the realm of the air. As such, our Lord’s prayer is that just as the will of God is perfectly done in heaven [the third heaven], so also the will of God will be perfectly done in the realm of the air [the first heaven]. But as we discussed, the place of authority to influence the air is the spiritual second heaven [the spiritual heaven over this world]. As such, for the will of God to be perfectly done in the air [the first heaven], then His will must also be done in the heaven over this world [the second heaven]. We can therefore understand that our Lord’s prayer which says “… Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven …” is a prayer that God’s Kingdom will expand beyond the third heaven to take-over the second heaven [the spiritual heaven over this world] and the first heaven [spiritual the realm of the air where the spirits of human beings exist]. It is this progressive take-over of all three spiritual realms that is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 as our Lord descending from heaven to the air. And as we said before, He is coming as a Sun, as a shining light, to recover this world [its spiritual upper realm and its spiritual lower realm] from the powers of darkness that took over when Adam and Eve fell. That’s why our Lord Jesus is also referred to as the Last Adam. But just as it was the fall of both Adam and Eve that gave satan and his angels access to heaven of this world to exercise authority over the air and become the prince of the power of the air, so also it takes the rise of both the Last Adam and His bride to completely cast satan and his angels down from this heaven [the second heaven] and out from the air [the first heaven] into the bottomless pit [the spiritual dungeon, the spiritual prison]. That’s where we come in. That’s why in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 we are told that our Lord will descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, with the trumpet of God. In other words, our Lord’s progressive take-over of the upper and lower spiritual realms of this world [the second heaven and the air] will be through the ministry of the archangel; and this archangel is a symbol for a symbol for a group of people who are part of the Bride of Christ. We should now proceed to consider the archangel. We trust our faithful Father to help our understanding. Amen.

 

The Archangel

 

Now, we should note that this archangel is the same angel that sounds the seventh trumpet in Revelation chapter 11. This angel is not referring to the spirit angels like Michael or Gabriel. At least, in this context, it is not. Rather, this angel refers to a body of people who serve as God’s messengers to declare His word to His people and the world. They are like Isaiah whom God instructed in Isaiah 58:1 saying:

 

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” [KJV]

 

They are called archangel because, of all the ministries that God has anointed to serve as His messengers, they are the greatest. They are like John the Baptist whom our Lord Jesus described as the greatest ministry. Why? Because he was the one whose ministry went ahead to prepare the way for our Lord’s first coming. Similarly, these people referred to as the archangel are the ministry God will empower to announce and prepare the way for our Lord’s second coming. They are the ones our Lord Jesus referred to as “the clouds of heaven” and “his angels” in Matthew 24:30. From verse 29 it reads:

 

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” [KJV]

 

In this passage, the clouds of heaven and the angels refer to the same people: the people referred to as the archangel in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Hebrews 12:1 and Jude 1:12 show us that clouds are used as a symbol to represent people. But these people are not just clouds. They are clouds of heaven: clouds of the third heaven. And it is through their ministry of sounding the truth of God’s Kingdom that God will prepare His Church and progressively take-over the second heaven and the air.

 

The effect of their ministry is just like that of the seventy disciples our Lord Jesus empowered and sent to preach the gospel in Luke chapter 10. Luke 10:17-20 says:

 

“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name. 18 And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” [KJV]

 

In this passage, after the disciples came back and reported the success of their ministry, our Lord Jesus told them of the vision He had while they were ministering. He told them that He beheld satan falling down from heaven as lightning from heaven. This means, satan was losing that position of spiritual authority over the cities where the disciples preached. Similarly, the people that collectively make up the archangel, or the clouds of heaven, will have such an effect on the powers of darkness. The only difference is that they will not just be preaching to some cities. God will spread them into all cities to preach the gospel of the Kingdom in all the world for a witness unto all nations. As such, the effect of their ministry is that satan and his angels will be completely cast down from the heaven of this world [the second heaven], not just in some cities, but in all cities of the world. It is this event of satan and his angels being permanently and completely cast down from the heaven of this world that is described in Matthew 24:29 as:

 

“… the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:” [KJV]

 

Revelation 6:12-14 also takes about the same thing. It says:

 

“And I beheld when He had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together;…” [KJV]

 

In these two passages, the sun, the moon and the stars refer to persons that make up satan’s spiritual government of darkness operating from the heaven of this world [the spiritual second heaven]. The sun [the principal star] is the head of government and that refers to satan. The stars refer to satan’s fellow fallen angels, the ones he appointed to operate as spiritual principals and powers over different regions and people. The moon refers to satan’s human allies. Persons that have made league with satan to rule and influence this world in a path of darkness. They are the ones that will have a bloody experience since they are human. These symbols, the sun, the moon and the stars, were also used in Joseph’s dream in Genesis 37:9. Joseph dreamt that the sun, the moon and the eleven stars bow down before him. When his father interpreted it, he said the sun was himself, Joseph’s Father, the head of the family, the stars were Joseph’s brothers who are also of the male gender and their father [the sun], and the moon was Joseph’s mother [who was of another gender different from the stars]. Keeping these in mind, we can understand why the sun refers to satan, the head of the spiritual government of darkness that was over the world. We can understand why the stars refer to satan’s fellow angels since they are of the same spiritual nature. And we can understand why the moon refers to humans, since they are of another nature [human nature] which is different from the sun and the stars [who are spirits].

But at least we can understand that satan and his angels will be cast down from the second heaven [the heaven over this world] through the ministry of the portion of the Bride of Christ that makes up “the clouds of heaven”: the messengers of God collectively symbolized as the archangel. This is what is shown as the war in heaven in Revelation 12:7-9. It is as they faithfully carry out their ministry under the spiritual Headship of our Lord Jesus, that there is war in the heaven of this world and the territory of our Lord’s Kingdom is expanded beyond the third heaven to the second heaven and finally to the air. Then at this point, the rest of the Bride of Christ who are not part of the archangel will be called into glory to join our Lord Jesus and their brethren to rule the world spiritually. At that time, the third heaven, the second heaven and the air will become one heaven. It will no longer just be the third heaven that is a paradise of God. The third heaven, the second heaven and the air will become one great spiritual paradise of God. And what is the paradise of God? It is a field beaming with life, full of fruitful trees¾trees that are full of sap. These trees are people. Isaiah 61:3 tells us that we are to be trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that He will be glorified.

 

By calling the third heaven paradise in Second Corinthians 12:1-4 Paul was saying that the third heaven is full of persons who are like fruitful trees of God. These persons in the third heaven are mentioned in Hebrews 12:23-24. They are the innumerable company of angels; the members of the church of our Lord Jesus Christ¾not just all who go to church, but those whose names are truly written in heaven. 1 Timothy 2:19 says: “… The Lord knows those who are His. And, Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”¾it is those who truly belong to God that are part of the trees of the Paradise of God. Other trees include the spirits of just men made perfect. And the principal tree, the one in the center of the Paradise of God, is our Lord Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant. When therefore the second heaven is taken over, it will no longer be a field of thorny and dead trees, which is what satan and his angels and their human occult partners where. Rather it will now be occupied with the trees of God, the trees of righteousness who are now trees of life like our Lord Jesus. The air will be worked on because that is where the spirits of the rest of humanity are. During the thousand years, with satan and his angels bound up in prison [the bottomless pit], the humans will be cultured in the path of righteousness so that they could also be trees in God’s Kingdom. But not all will submit. Some will rebel and will be sent to the lake of fire, which is the second death.

 

But central to the flow of this plan is that we be faithful and make ourselves available to carry out the ministry God is empowering us His people to carry out. But those who will be empowered are those who make up the clouds of heaven. Those who live as trees of righteousness in the Paradise of God. Those who live like heavenly people and not earthy. May the Lord help us to leave in this way.

 

Amen.

 

Rapture? Or No Rapture – Part 1 [Caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air] – 1 Thessalonians 4:17

 

 

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, KJV]

 

Many of us are familiar with this verse, and many of us desire to be caught up into the air.

But how many of us actually know what that means?

 

Keep in mind that Paul who wrote this verse [1 Thessalonians 4:17] is the same one who wrote Ephesians 2:2:

 

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” [KJV]

 

Obviously, the power of the air in this verse does not refer to the physical air. And similarly, “caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” also does not refer to the physical air. Meaning, to think, or believe, that we will fly into the physical air IS WRONG. But there is a sweet truth hidden in that verse which we all as children of God deserve to know. We trust God, in His mercy, to open this truth to us as we read on. Amen.

 

Let us now take a careful look at what verse 17 says to pick out three main points.

  • First, it tells us that we who are alive, and remain in faith, at the coming of Christ, will be caught up.
  • The next point to note is that this caught up experience will take place in the clouds. As such, it is only people in the clouds that will be caught up.
  • Then finally, it tells us that those caught up in the clouds will go to meet the Lord in the air. Meaning, the caught up experience will move us from the clouds to the air, and we shall remain in the air with the Lord forever.

 

When we sit back to consider these, we may begin to suspect that it is not the physical clouds and air that is being referred to. If it were physical, then it means this verse is saying that we and the Lord are going to be floating in the physical air forever. But that doesn’t sound quite right. It is therefore, again, not correct to think that the clouds and air in this verse are literal as the popular doctrine of Rapture preaches.

 

We may then ask: if the clouds and air are not literal, then what do they represent? Well, we thank God for mercifully granting us some insight into what they mean. We will begin with the clouds, after which we will discuss the air.

 

The Clouds

 

To understand what the clouds represents, or to understand what it means to be in the clouds, we can look for another passage in the bible where we are told of someone entering into the clouds.

 

One passage we can consider is Exodus 24:12-18. It reads:

 

12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to Me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. 13 And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God. 14 And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us, until we come again unto you: and, behold, Aaron and Hur are with you: if any man have any matters to do, let him come unto them. 15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. 16 And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day He called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. 18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.” [KJV]

 

From this passage, we see that the cloud was formed at the top of the mountain, and it was a visible show of God’s presence. We also see that in order to enter this cloud, Moses had to climb up the mountain. It was as he climbed the mountain that he entered into the cloud, into God’s presence. God’s instruction to him, in verse 12, was that he should come up and remain there, so that he will receive His law. Moses faithfully remained there, at the top of the mountain, in the clouds, in the presence of God, until he received the law of God written on stone tables. This is a good example of how we should live¾faithful and obedient.

 

Unlike Moses who received the law on stone tables, we receive the law in our hearts and minds. Hebrews 10:16 says:

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” [KJV]

 

Just as Moses had to remain in the clouds to receive God’s law on stone tables, so also we must remain “in the clouds” [in God’s presence] to receive God’s law in our hearts and in our minds. God was quite deliberate in His instruction to Moses about remaining in His presence. In Exodus 24:12, He said: “… Come up to Me into the mount, and be there … ”.

 

As He was deliberate with Moses in the Old Testament, so He is deliberate with us in the New Testament. He requires us to remain in His presence; whether during our quiet time, or as we go about our daily activities, no matter what or where, He wants us to always be in His presence; this is so that He can put His laws in our hearts, and write it in our minds. Putting His laws in our hearts means that His laws become our conscience, and writing them in our minds means that His laws become the foundation of all our reasoning. It is people that remain in His presence, in the clouds, and allow Him to do this to them, that will be caught up to meet Him in the air.

 

Just as Moses had to climb up the mount Sinai in order to enter into the clouds, so also we have to climb a mountain in order to enter the clouds. However, we are not going to climb a physical mountain like Moses did. Our climbing is a symbolic process. The way we do this symbolic climbing is by drawing away from the noise of our daily activities so that we can fellowship with God. For example, if we think of Moses, we’ll observe that as he was climbing the mountain, he was going farther and farther away from the noise of the people’s activities, and was drawing closer to God, until he was alone with God at the top of the mount. So also, we can climb upwards to God by drawing away from the cares of this world, and focusing our attention on God until we are alone with Him in our hearts – at this point of being alone with God in our hearts, all wandering thoughts, and desires, are silenced. God wants us to remain in this condition at all times. In Exodus 24:12, He told Moses: “… Come up to Me into the mount, and be there …”. So also, He wants us to remain alone with Him in our hearts, even in during our daily activities.

 

Paul is an example of someone who symbolically climbed up to God. In Philippians 3:14 he said:

 

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.” [NKJV]

 

As such, we see that God is calling us upwards to obtain a prize. And we also see that this upward calling is in Christ Jesus. Meaning, God is calling us to follow the path of our Lord Jesus till we become like Him. As we follow this path, we are to drop our earthly lifestyle and move up to live a heavenly lifestyle. Colossians 3:2 says:

 

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” [KJV]

 

This means that, even though we are in this world, and we have to go to work, go to school, and do other necessary things, we must not love those things more than God. Our true desire should always be for the hope [the prize] that God has promised us; and we should always create time to read about this hope, meditate on it, and share it with people, because it is real. And beyond just knowing and talking about it, we should live a life of preparedness so that we can receive this hope.

 

Rather than rigorously pursue a career here, like the people of the world will do, or seek after fulfilment by doing earthly things, we should seek fulfillment by doing the will of God. God is faithful; if He sees that we desire Him more than other things, He will bless us with those other things. In Matthew 6:31-33 He said:

 

31 … do not worry, saying, ‘what shall we eat?’ or ‘what shall we drink?’ or ‘what shall we wear?’ 32 For after these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” (NKJV)

 

Also, Psalm 37:4-5 says:

4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.” (NKJV)

 

And finally, 2 Corinthians 9:8 says:

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” [KJV]

 

So we see that God prefers us to set our affection and devotion on Him and His business, putting Him first in all things. As for our needs, He is faithful; He will provide for us, and bless the work of our hands so that we do not lack any good thing. Such is the type of life lived by people who are climbing upwards to God [people who want to remain always in His cloud]. A life of total dependence on God for daily guidance and instruction. A life of receiving God’s laws, not just as head knowledge, but as practical life experiences engraved into our nature. A life that is not distracted with the cares of this world, nor the pride of life, nor the deceitfulness of riches, but is focused on God at all times, just as Moses was when He was on the mountain [in the clouds].

 

Remember, as Paul said, there is a prize for those who will agree to come up to God by living this kind of God-centered life. This prize is putting on the divine glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, and joining Him to rule the world spiritually. Isaiah 57:15 says:

 

“For thus saith the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose Name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” [KJV]

 

This prize is to dwell in a high and holy level of life and divinity with God, and from this level rule this world [and all creation] spiritually. It is this prize that is symbolized as being caught up to meet the Lord in the air.

 

We will now move on by God’s grace to consider what the air represents so we can better appreciate the hope in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

 

 

The Air

 

To understand what the air represents, we can begin by noting that air in motion is called wind. This is an important thing to note because in the scriptures wind is usually used to represent the move/activities of spirits over people: it may be the move of the Holy Spirit, or it could be the move of unclean spirits.

 

For example, in regards to the Holy Spirit, John 3:8 says:

 

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” [NKJV]

 

This passage is telling us that when you observe a person on whom the Holy Spirit has laboured, that person will be as unpredictable as the wind, because the Holy Spirit will be the one leading him where he should go, and telling him what he should do at all times. We therefore see that the wind, in this case, is used to refer to the move of the Holy Spirit on a person.

 

An example of a scripture where the wind refers to the move of unclean spirits is Daniel 7:2. It reads:

 

“Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.” [KJV]

 

In this passage, the sea refers to all humanity that has no relationship with God; in other words, the world. Isaiah 57:20 says: “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.”; and Revelation 17:15 says: “Then he said to me, The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.”. The four winds, on the other hand, refer to the activities of unclean spirits over all the world, and we know this because we are told that four beasts came up from the sea after these winds blew over them, and these four beasts represent four kingdoms all of which were pagan.

 

We have therefore seen that the wind can be used to represent the activity of spirits, whether the Holy Spirit, or unclean spirits. But just for the sake of reasoning, we may still wonder why wind is used to represent the move, or activity, of a spirit. The reason is that wind is invisible to the eyes, but has the ability to visibly move things around. Its activity can only be known by observing the things it is moving. That is essentially how a spirit operates. We cannot see a spirit with our physical eyes, but we can discern the spirit’s activity by observing the person the spirit is influencing.

 

Now that we have some understanding of how wind is used symbolically, we can begin to understand how air is used symbolically. Remember that we noted that when air is moving it is called wind. Therefore, if wind represents the move of a spirit, then air should represent either a spirit, or the spiritual realm. As it turns out, air actually represents the spiritual realm, where spirits operate in. But not just any spiritual realm. It particularly refers to the spiritual realm over the earth, not including other spiritual realms like paradise. This is because, physically speaking, air is only present around the earth. But beyond the clouds, in space, there is no air. So we know that the air [when used symbolically] only refers to the spiritual realm of the earth, and it is from this spiritual realm that spirits can influence the world.

 

Ephesians 2:2 is an example of a scripture where air is used symbolically to refer to the spiritual realm of the earth. From verse 1, it reads:

“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” [NKJV]

 

In this passage, Paul refers to satan as the prince of the power of the air. The word prince means chief, or first in rank, while power of the air refers to the principalities and powers that influence the world from “the air”. It is these principalities and powers in the air that are mentioned in Ephesians 6:12 which reads:

 

“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 heavenly places” [NKJV]

 

These are the spirits that operate in the air, the spiritual realm over the earth, and as such, they are collectively referred to as the power of the air, with satan as the chief over these spirits. That’s why Paul calls him the prince of the power of the air. Although we should note that God never gave satan this position. Rather, he stole it from Adam to whom God appointed power over all living things in Genesis 1:28. That is to say, the original prince of the power of the air was Adam and his wife Eve.

 

Now that we have some understanding of what the air represents, and we have seen an example of how it is used symbolically, we can return to consider what Paul was saying in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. It reads:

 

“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” [KJV]

 

With everything we have discussed so far, we understand that the cloud represents the presence of God that we are supposed to remain in daily in order to receive the laws of God in our hearts and in our minds. We have also understood that the air represents the spiritual realm over the earth – the realm from which the world can be influenced spiritually. And we have seen that currently, there are principalities and powers of darkness operating in this realm, with an agenda of turning this world into satan’s kingdom, by promoting wickedness, immorality and rebellion against God through various means.

 

Knowing these, when Paul says we will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, he means that we will join the Lord in this spiritual realm over the earth [after these principalities and powers have been cast out – Revelation 12:7-9]. While there, we will not be idle. Instead, He will organize us into a government under His Kingship, and assign us as godly principals over different cities, with a mission to turn this world into God’s kingdom by promoting righteousness, peace and joy among men. Then, our Lord Jesus shall not be alone as the Holy Spirit. His wind over all humanity will then be also propagated through us, his brethren, whom the Father will establish as holy spirits. Isaiah 32:1 has said it:

 

“Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.” [KJV]

 

The King is our Lord Jesus. The princes are we His brethren who shall be caught up to meet Him in the air. And this will be God’s government over the world beginning from the 1000 years till eternity, with a mission to accomplish our Lord’s prayer:

 

“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven …” [Matthew 6:9-10, KJV]

 

But in other for us to join the Lord in doing this, Paul says that our catching up will take place in the clouds. This means that for us to be caught up, we must remain in the clouds [in God’s presence] at all times, and while in His presence, we must allow Him to put His laws in our hearts, and carve it permanently in our minds – just as Moses remained in the clouds and received God’s law on stone tables. Only those who allow Him to do this to them will join Him in the air to rule the world spiritually.

 

Finally, we should mention that at the instance when we are being caught up, we will change from our current natural bodies and put on a spiritual body. As Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:44:

 

“… There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (KJV)

 

It is this spiritual body that we will put on when we are caught up. It is a heavenly body, and it is immortal, meaning, it cannot die. It is with this body that we will join the Lord in the air to rule the world spiritually. Because as Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 15:50 “… flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God …”. Meaning, we cannot with this natural body join the Lord in the spiritual realm to rule the world spiritually. We will therefore change, by the mercies of our God, from this natural body to the immortal spiritual body at that instance we are caught up.

 

But remember that it is those who remain in the clouds and receive the laws of God worked into their nature that will take part in this “caught up” experience. May the Lord strengthen us to faithfully and obediently remain in His cloud daily.

 

Amen.

 

If we have any questions, we may kindly forward them to lightintheeveningtime@gmail.com, and, by God’s grace, a timely response will be sent back to us.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

Do you feed where the eagles feed?

These are important questions that you as a Christian should ask yourself in these last days. Why? Because the eagles are already being taken to where the body is, and you shouldn’t be left behind.

 

WHO ARE THE EAGLES?

 

Isaiah 40:31 says:

 

“But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” [NKJV]

 

This passage shows the characteristics of those represented as eagles. Some of us already have all these characteristics, some of us are still growing in these characteristics and some of us don’t have these characteristics but desire to have them. So long as your heart hungers for God, you are an eagle. However, some eagles are more mature than others. Some are fully grown, and some are still babes. But all who desire the Lord are eagles. And in these last days, God is moving His eagles. To where? Our Lord Jesus said: “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” He is moving them to where the body is.

 

WHAT IS THE BODY?

 

The body is the body of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the bread of life. In John 6:51, He said:

 

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world…Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

 

This is what these eagle believers are gathered to do: to eat the flesh of our Lord Jesus and drink His blood so that they can have life. But how do they eat His flesh and drink His blood to gain eternal life? Our Lord Jesus explains in John 5:24 saying:

 

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

 

And in Luke 11:28, He said:

 

“… blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

 

So we see that the eagle believers eat of our Lord Jesus’ body [to gain eternal life] by hearing His words, doing them and using them to grow in faith in God. Moreover, when we remember that our Lord Jesus is the Word of God, we can understand that eating His body simply means feeding on the Word of God.

 

Knowing these [that the body which the eagles feed on is the body of our Lord Jesus and that they feed on Him by hearing His Word, believing it and doing it], we can move to the next question:

 

WHERE IS THE BODY?

 

This is probably the most important question. It’s important because our Lord Jesus said the eagles will be gathered to where the body is. So if we are to be gathered, we need to know where the body is.

 

With what we have learnt from the previous question, this question can be rephrased as “where is the Word of God?” or “where can we feed on the body of our Lord Jesus?” Interestingly, our Lord Jesus has already given the answer. In Matthew 18:20, He said:

 

“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” [NKJV]

 

This means that our Lord Jesus is spiritually present to feed His eagles with His body [with His word] WHEREVER AND WHENEVER they are gathered together in fellowship. But for Him to actually feed them [for them to actually receive His body to eat] they must consciously allow Him to lead their meeting through His Spirit. They must not display any of the characteristics He complained about in His letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3. Some of the characteristics are:

 

  • Revelation 2:4: “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” If a gathering of God’s people has left love for God’s word and pursued other things, or if they have replaced the leading of the Holy Spirit with organizational procedures, then they have left their first love. They cannot truly feed on the body of our Lord Jesus.

 

  • Revelation 2:14-15: “But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.” The doctrine of Balaam represents using immoral means to get what you want. Balaam told Balak to use ladies to seduce the Israelites so that they would sin and Balak would get rid of them. As such, if a gathering of God’s people use immoral means to get anything [e.g. financial support, membership, etc.], then the body of our Lord Jesus [the true Word] will not be available among them. Our Lord Jesus also complained about the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. The Nicolaitans were followers of Nicolas and Nicolas means “to be victorious over the people.” Having this doctrine means that in a gathering of God’s people, some people are regarded as the “Nico” [the clergy] while the rest are the laity. Under this arrangement, the clergy dominates the laity contrary to the teachings of Matthew 23:8-11 and 1 Peter 5:1-3. God hates this doctrine because it sets up a structure where man takes the place of Christ [as Head over the church]. Churches that operate in this pattern are represented as the great whore [the adulterous bride] in Revelation 17 instead of the faithful bride in Revelation 19:7. All such assemblies that have man as head of the church instead of Christ cannot have the body of Christ [the true Word] to feed on. They may appear rich, but spiritually, they are poor. They may seem to be feeding, but the word has little or no spiritual nutrients.

 

  • Revelation 2:20: “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” If a gathering of God’s people has sexual immorality going on among them and it is not addressed, then they cannot receive the true word of God.

 

  • Revelation 3:1-2: “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God.” If a church judges their progress by how much money they get, how large their membership and assets are, or by how much religious activities they engage in, rather than by how spiritually mature the people are and how much of the life of God is revealed among them, then in God’s eyes they are dead. Such a gathering cannot feed on the body of our Lord Jesus [the true Word of God].

 

  • Revelation 3:15-17: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” If a gathering of God’s people is lukewarm then it means that they are mixing the things of God with the things of the world. They are comfortable seating on the fence on many issues, not going all the way with God so as not to offend the world. They try to be politically correct in order to be accepted by the world, something we notice in many churches today. Such behaviors are symptoms of an assembly of people whose connection with God has weakened significantly, and such an assembly will not be able to feed on the body of our Lord Jesus Christ [the true Word of God that is able to give life to their spirits].

 

These are characteristics that can deprive a gathering of God’s people from having the body of our Lord Jesus to feed on. So, when our Lord, in Luke 17:34-37, says “… in that night…wherever the body is there the eagles will be gathered together,” He means that in these last days where there is so much darkness, God is moving His eagle believers out from assemblies where His body is not available to assemblies that allow Him to feed them.

This move of His eagles in these last days is so important; that’s why our Lord Jesus chose to mention it. It is important because it is the last push to build His faithful church – the church that will be a bride without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish, ready for marriage to Him. Majority of what is called church today have backslidden from God. But out of these unfaithful church systems, God is gathering His eagles to simple fellowships where they can worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, and can be well nourished with His living Word – His Word that is able to transform them into His likeness.

 

God spoke about these things again in the book of Revelation, chapters 11 and 12, using symbols. In those passages, He likened this move of His people out from the backslidden church systems to how He moved the Israelites out from Egypt to the wilderness. He used the ministry of Moses and Elijah to symbolize the type of empowerment He will give the people He will use to begin this move. And just as He referred to Moses as an eagle in Exodus 19:4 [the eagle that He used to bring His people out into the wilderness], so also God used a great eagle, in Revelation 12:14, to symbolize the people He will empower in these days to move His people to the symbolic wilderness – where they can be nourished with the body of our Lord Jesus [the true and sincere Word of God].

Moreover, God, in Revelation 11:8, has shown that the backslidden church system is also spiritually called Sodom and Egypt. In that verse [Revelation 11:8], the backslidden church system is referred to as the great city, which in Revelation 17:18 is also called the great whore [the great harlot]. And this great whore is the symbol for the adulterous bride of Christ, just as God through the prophet referred to the Israelites as a whore in Jeremiah 3, because they had backslidden from Him and become an unfaithful bride. This great whore had therefore evolved from being the backslidden Jewish religious system, which lasted till the days of our Lord Jesus, to being the backslidden church system in these days.

 

It is from this great whore, this adulterous bride of Christ that has structured itself into a great city, this church system that is also spiritually called Sodom and Egypt that God is moving His eagles out from to the symbolic wilderness – to the simple and true gatherings of His people – the gatherings that are truly in His own name alone. It is there, in such gatherings, that He will wash them [Ephesians 5:26] and feed them, with His word, so that they can grow into the bride that gives Him pleasure and is ready for marriage [Revelation 19:7]. May the Lord help us to be part of such people, especially now that His return and the marriage supper are near. Amen.

 

As for us [your brethren sharing these things with you], we are a people who have heard the call of God and have been gathered out of the denominational church system of man. We simply fellowship in Spirit and in Truth, consciously desiring that the Lord Jesus leads each of our meetings through His Spirit. And He has been faithful to feed us with Himself, working on us individually and collectively, and leading us toward the standard in Ephesians 4:13. That is, till we [as a fellowship] have unity of spirit, unity of faith, unity of our knowledge of the Son of God; till we [as a body of people] become stable in operating as one perfect man, under the singular Headship of Christ Jesus alone, and till we [as a body of people] measure up to the full stature of life we see in our Lord Jesus Christ [such that the virtues found in Him are also found in us].

 

This is the mind of God in these last days. God is building His church to be a bride without spot or wrinkle, holy and without any blemish. And to do this, He is gathering His eagles [as many as desire to feed on the true Word of God], out from churches that do not allow Christ to lead, to simple fellowships where Christ is the one and only Head.

 

Kindly reflect on these things and judge whether or not the church you are part of is an Egypt; judge whether or not it is a place where God’s eagles can feed. If it isn’t, pray and ask God to lead you to where the body is. Remember:

 

Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” [Luke 17:37, NKJV]

 

Moreover, in Revelation 18:4-5 He has said:

 

4 … Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” [NKJV]

 

The “her” He is referring to is the great whore, the adulterous bride of Christ, the backslidden church system.

 

May the Lord guide your heart as you prayerfully consider these things. And may He cause you to be among those who are taken to where the body is, and not left behind to share in “her” sins and receive of “her” plagues. Amen.

 

God bless you.

The Seven Stages – Stage 4

As we will see, this is the stage we are currently in. We continue by looking at the visions shown when the fourth seal was opened, the fourth trumpet was sounded and the fourth cup of judgment was poured; and we trust God to explain them to us. Amen.

 

The opening of the fourth seal – Revelation 6:7-8

 

7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. 8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” [KJV]

 

This vision speaks of a time when the spirits of death and hell have access to cause death of different kinds on earth. The word “hell” is from the Greek word “hades” which means a state of losing one’s body. As such, death and hell are names used to represent the spirits of darkness that cause physical death. We are told that power was given them to kill, not because God wants it so, but because sin in people’s lives and in the systems of men have given them access to carry out their wickedness. Stage 4 is therefore a time when death of different kinds is observed on earth: through sword [political, economic, racial and religious wars/conflicts], through hunger [famine], through death [sicknesses, diseases, earthquakes, tsunamis, natural disasters, homicide, suicide, terrorism, mass murders], and through the beasts of the earth [animals on land and in water]. These are things that we can observe going on around us today, in a way that has not been in human history. So we know that this is the stage we are currently in. We can learn more by looking at the sounding of the fourth trumpet and trust God to explain it.

 

The sounding of the fourth trumpet – Revelation 8:12-13

 

12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise. 13 And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!” [KJV]

 

The emphasis of this vision is in the words “… so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.” It speaks of a time when a third of the world will experience darkness. Ezekiel 32 can help us understand the context of this darkness. Verses 7-15 reads:

 

7 And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. 8 All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord God. 9 I will also vex the hearts of many people, when I shall bring thy destruction among the nations, into the countries which thou hast not known. 10 Yea, I will make many people amazed at thee, and their kings shall be horribly afraid for thee, when I shall brandish my sword before them; and they shall tremble at every moment, every man for his own life, in the day of thy fall. 11 For thus saith the Lord God; The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon thee. 12 By the swords of the mighty will I cause thy multitude to fall, the terrible of the nations, all of them: and they shall spoil the pomp of Egypt, and all the multitude thereof shall be destroyed. 13 I will destroy also all the beasts thereof from beside the great waters; neither shall the foot of man trouble them any more, nor the hoofs of beasts trouble them. 14 Then will I make their waters deep, and cause their rivers to run like oil, saith the Lord God. 15 When I shall make the land of Egypt desolate, and the country shall be destitute of that whereof it was full, when I shall smite all them that dwell therein, then shall they know that I am the Lord.” [KJV]

 

From this passage, especially verses 7-8, 11-12 and 15, we learn that “darkness over a land” can be used a symbol to represent the destruction of that land through war. In the case of this passage in Ezekiel, the destruction of the land came through battle with the king of Babylon. Having this in mind, we can understand that when we are told in the vision of the fourth trumpet that a third of the world will experience darkness, it means that a third of the world’s landmass will be exposed to war. Looking into history, World War 2 seems to fit this description. It was a war that covered about a third of the world’s landmass [Europe and almost all of Asia]. This war marked the beginning of Stage 4 and the end of Stage 3. It marked the beginning of death’s and hell’s end time killing rampage. But we can learn more by looking at the vision shown when the fourth cup of judgment was poured.

 

The pouring of the fourth cup of judgment – Revelation 16:8-9

 

8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.” [KJV]

 

This vision tells us that people will be burnt with fire. Ezekiel 5 can help us understand what this means. In verses 1-4, God gave Ezekiel an instruction. He said:

 

1 And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber’s razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair. 2 Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them. 3 Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts. 4 Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel.” [KJV]

 

Then in verses 12-17, God explained what it meant. He said:

 

12 A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them. 16 … I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread: 17 So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee: and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the Lord have spoken it.” [KJV]

 

From this explanation and the original instruction, we can understand the hair represented the people of Israel. The portion of hair that was burnt with fire represented the portion of the Israelites that were to die with pestilence [disease epidemics], famine and evil beasts.

 

With this, we can understand that when we are told in the vision of the fourth cup that people were burnt with fire, it means that people will die with pestilence [disease epidemics], famine, and wild beasts. These are the same things we are told in the vision shown after the fourth seal was opened. As such, it further confirms that Stage 4 is a period where the world will witness a lot of deaths through various means, just as we are witnessing in today.

 

Our Lord Jesus spoke of this period in Matthew 24:7-8. He called it the beginning of sorrows. He said:

 

7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.” [KJV]

 

Just looking around and paying attention to all the news, we would agree that these things are already being fulfilled. We are currently in this Stage 4. But God, in merciful wisdom, is revealing these things [the seven stages] to us now so that we [His people] can prepare to be faithful in Stage 5.

 

Let’s go and see why.

The Seven Stages – Stage 3

As we have been doing, we will trust God to help us understand the visions shown when the third seal was opened, the third trumpet was sounded and the third cup of judgment was poured.

 

The opening of the third seal – Revelation 6:5-6

 

5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. 6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” [KJV]

 

From this vision, we get the feel that Stage 3 is a time of famine, or scarcity of food. But we’ll realize that it’s actually not a physical famine but a spiritual one. We can learn more by considering the sounding of the third trumpet.

 

The sounding of the third trumpet – Revelation 8:10-11

 

10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; 11 And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.” [KJV]

This vision further explains the famine in the previous vision. It shows that the famine is not because there was no water, but because the waters had become bitter. In scriptures, water is used as a symbol for the Word of God. For example, Ephesians 5:25-26 says “25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; 26 That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,”. Here we see that the Word of God is described as water which is meant for cleansing His Church. Also, in John 4:13-14, when our Lord Jesus was talking to the woman by the well, He told her that He is able to give her water which when she drinks will bring her to eternal life. This water is His Word. It is His Word, His voice, His knowledge that gives eternal life, as we are told in John 6:68, John 10:27-28 and John 17:3.

 

Knowing this, that the water is the Word of God, we can understand the context of this famine. It is a spiritual scarcity of the true Word of God, because the waters had been contaminated to become bitter and cause death. This contaminated water represents false doctrines, false voices, false knowledges which cause spiritual death to the true faith of anyone who takes them in. And why did this contamination happen? It is because a star burning as a lamp landed on the rivers and fountains of water. This star is a person. For example, in Jude 1:13, when Jude was describing the ungodly men that had entered into the church, he called them wandering stars. So, in the context of this vision, we know that this star is a person – a person with a lot of influence. It is as this person got involved in the rivers and fountains of water that they became contaminated. Since we know that water represents the Word of God, we can understand that rivers represent the flow, the ministration, the preaching, the communication of God’s word, while the fountains of water represent people who are in positions of responsibility to dish out the Word of God to His people. These rivers and the fountains of water were generally pure until that star involved himself with them.

 

Looking into history, the one person that fits this description well is Constantine. He is the star that fell on the rivers and fountains of water. He is described as a star “burning like a lamp” because he had a lot of zeal, but unfortunately, his zeal was misplaced. As the new Roman Emperor, he ended the persecution of Christians, which was good. But he began to assume a presiding role over church affairs. The reason for this was that the Roman Emperors were the guardians of the Roman culture and the head of their religious rites. So, after adopting Christianity as the official religion of the empire, he felt he had a role to play in Church governance. It is this his involvement that accelerated the contamination of the Word of God and led to the rise of the Roman Catholic Church. Many believers knew it was wrong, but many others loved the affiliation with the emperor. They were like Balaam who loved the gains of unrighteousness [2 Peter 2:15]. Constantine, using his influence as emperor, gave a lot of gifts and money to the church, and got more involved in setting up councils to determine doctrinal interpretations of the Scripture. As the church got richer, they began sewing special garments and capes [special bishop hats] for themselves and deviated away from being the church of God, the bride of Christ, to being the Roman Catholic/Universal Church, the great harlot in Revelation 17 – the one who rode on the strength of the Roman Empire [the beast]. As we know, the Roman Catholic Church is responsible for propagating many false teachings [bitter waters] that cause spiritual death to the true faith of any believer who takes them in, and unfortunately, it all began with Constantine’s involvement in church affairs. But there’s more to learn about Stage 3. Let us move on to the vision shown after the third cup of judgment was poured.

 

The pouring of the third cup of judgment – Revelation 16:4-7

 

4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. 7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.” [KJV]

Notice that the rivers and fountains of water show up again. But this time they have a bloody experience. They are being judged, after being contaminated and evolving to become the Roman Catholic Church, the great whore in Revelation 17. The words we just read in verses 5 and 6 reveal the main reason why they were judged: “… they shed the blood of saints and prophets…” Looking into history, we realize that the Roman Catholic Church was responsible for killing many of the faithful people of God, especially during the dark ages, because they opposed their false doctrines and practices. Many of these believers that were killed are recorded in Foxe’s book of martyrs, which can easily be downloaded online. So, God decided to bring judgment on them.

 

But it’s not only the Roman Catholic Church that God brought judgment on in Stage 3. Yes, in the New Testament, they are the corrupted rivers and fountains of waters that became the great whore, but in the Old Testament, the backslidden Jewish religious system was the corrupted rivers and fountains of waters, and was the great whore. In fact, in Jeremiah 3, God used this name “whore” to refer to them because, in the Old Testament, they were supposed to be His symbolic bride, but they backslid from Him to worship idols.

 

In Revelation 17, in verse 6, we are told that the whore is drunk with the blood of saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. This is something that both the Old Testament whore, the Jewish religious system, and the New Testament whore, the Roman Catholic Church, are responsible for. Looking into scriptures, in Matthew 5:12, Matthew 23:28-31, 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15, and more, we are told that the Jews persecuted and killed the prophets. As such, when the vision of the third cup of judgment says that the rivers and fountains of water were judged because they shed the blood of the saints and prophets, it is actually referring to a time when both the Roman Catholic Church and the Jews were judged.

 

Looking into history, we see that the time when both the Roman Catholic Church and the Jews had a bloody experience was under Hitler, during the Nazi regime and the holocaust. When we research into the holocaust and the operations of the Nazi regime, we would see that in addition to the Jews, the Roman Catholic priests suffered a great deal and died in concentration camps in large numbers.

 

That’s the prophecy for Stage 3. From the time of Constantine to the time of Hitler – the dark ages, a period of great scarcity of God’s true Word; the rise of the Catholic Church as the New Testament whore and a contaminated version of God’s true church; and the time of the Holocaust: a period of judgment both on the Catholic Church and the Jews.

The Seven Stages – Stage 2

Again, we will continue with the same pattern. We trust God to explain to us the visions shown when the second seal was opened, the second trumpet was sounded and the second cup of judgment was poured.

 

The opening of the second seal-Revelation 6:3-4

 

3 And when He had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. 4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” [KJV]

 

Upon reading this, we can tell that this vision is talking about a time of war and conflict in the world. But to understand the context of this world conflict, we need to consider the vision shown at the sounding of the second trumpet.

 

The sounding of the second trumpet-Revelation 8:8-9

 

8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; 9 And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.” [KJV]

 

In this vision, the mountain represents a kingdom. We know this because in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2:44-45, the Kingdom of God is represented as a mountain. Thus, a mountain is the symbol for a kingdom. And since we are told that this mountain is great, then it means that when compared to the other kingdoms on earth, this kingdom is very great and powerful. Considering the time period of Stage 2, this kingdom is definitely referring to the Roman Empire, which was the greatest kingdom on earth in its time. When we are then told that the mountain was burning with fire, it means that the kingdom was raging with a lot of internal conflict. We are therefore looking for a time in the history of the Roman Empire when it raged with a lot of internal conflict, and the Civil Wars of the Tetrarchy seem to be a possible fulfillment of this vision.

 

We are told that this great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea and this caused a portion of the sea to become bloody. From Revelation 17:15 we learn that the sea represents the people of the world. As such, a great mountain burning with fire cast into the sea is referring to the situation where the conflict in the Roman Empire caused a portion of the world to have a bloody experience-because the Roman Empire covered a great portion of the world and this civil war must have impacted a lot of people. It was a war caused by the different aristocrats struggling to gain the position of emperor, until Constantine emerged victorious. This was the situation in Stage 2, but we can learn more by considering the pouring of the second cup of judgment.

 

The pouring of the second cup of judgment-Revelation 16:3

 

“And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.” [KJV]

 

This vision further confirms the vision shown when the second trumpet was sounded. Knowing that the sea represents the people of the world, we would realize that both visions-this vision and the previous vision-have a general theme of a bloody experience for the people of the world, which is consistent with the initial vision shown when the second seal was opened. And this bloody experience was due to a great internal war within the Roman Empire.

The Seven Stages – Stage 1

As discussed earlier, we will learn about each stage by considering the visions shown when the seal is opened, the trumpet is sounded and the cup of judgment is poured. And we trust God to explain them to us.

 

The opening of the first seal-Revelation 6:1-2

 

1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. 2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” [KJV]

 

This rider on the white horse is our Lord Jesus. He is shown in the same way in Revelation 19:11-13 and Psalm 45:3-5. Revelation 19:11-13 says: “11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. 13 And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.” And Psalm 45:3-5 says: “3 Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O Most Mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty. 4 And in Thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things. 5 Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; whereby the people fall under Thee. 6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy Kingdom is a right sceptre.”

So we see that this rider on the white horse is our Lord Jesus. His riding is obviously not a physical one, but is symbolic. He rides and conquers the enemy as His people on earth launch out to preach His Word. It is His Word that is symbolized as His arrows. When they are sent, through the preaching of His people, His words are sharp in the heart of all who hear it. For example, in Acts 2:37, when the apostles began to preach, the arrows of our Lord Jesus went sharp into the heart of the hearers. It says: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

 

We can therefore understand that this vision shown in Revelation 6:1-2, after the first seal was opened, is referring to the period of the ministry of the apostles-a period where the gospel spread and our Lord Jesus was conquering through their preaching.

 

The sounding of the first trumpet-Revelation 8:7

 

“The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.” [KJV]

 

From the previous chapter we learnt that the angel sounding a trumpet in each stage represents the body of people in that stage that serve as God’s messengers to declare His word to the world. In this stage 1, the first angel is made up of the apostles and many of the early disciples that served as God’s messengers to sound His gospel. The vision shown here, in Revelation 8:7, after the first trumpet is sounded, is a prophecy of the effect of their ministry.

 

We are told that hail and fire mixed with blood came down and burnt up some of the trees and all the green grass. The trees and green grass represent the people of God: those who are green-the people who are spiritually alive. Psalm 61:3 helps our understanding as it says: “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Thus, we see that the trees and the green grass refer to believers: though of different maturity levels, but all are believers-those whom God has planted. It’s a symbol similar to what as our Lord Jesus used in His parable of the tares in Matthew 13:36-43 where He said: “38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;”

 

Knowing this, we can understand that hail and fire mixed with blood coming down to burn the trees and all the green grass means that the believers in Stage 1 had a “fiery” experience of persecution. Looking into history, we would be able to verify that truly the apostles and early Christians endured great persecution under the Roman Empire.

 

The pouring of the first cup of judgment-Revelation 16:2

 

“And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.” [KJV]

 

To appreciate what this vision is saying, we need to understand what the mark of the beast is. Simply put, the mark of the beast is the means of identifying all who belong to the beast. From Daniel 7:23, we know that a beast represents a kingdom. It says: “Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth…” As such, the mark of the beast is actually a means of identifying all who belong to a kingdom. In Stage 1, the kingdom is the Roman Empire. So the mark of the beast represents a system implemented within the Roman Empire to identify all whose allegiance was with the emperor and the Roman state. Looking into history, we will see that in the days of the early Christians the Roman Emperors were deified as gods and it was mandated that before a person entered the market square they were to offer incense and swear by the emperor, or before they have access to the water fountains, they were to acknowledge the emperor as the giver of life, and so on. These were laws particularly aimed at Christians, because the Roman Empire did not like that they preached about another King whose Kingdom will be established on earth, Jesus Christ the Lord. Many Christians refused to comply with this new rule because it was blasphemy, so they were persecuted, just as we learnt from the previous vision. But the rest of the people in the empire went ahead and accepted this mark as part of their daily life, since they were already used to idol worship. These people experienced a great plague as punishment for their ungodliness. Looking into history, the Antonine small pox plague of the Roman Empire fits as the fulfillment of this vision shown when the first cup of judgment was poured. It was a plague that is said to have killed up to 2000 people daily and resulted in a final death toll of about 5 million people.

 

This is the summary of the things prophesied for stage 1, and looking into history they have been fulfilled. It was the era of the apostles and the early church, their persecution and God’s judgment on the people of the Roman Empire for their ungodliness.

 

We will now move on to Stage 2 by God’s grace.

The Seven Stages-The trumpet and the Cups of Judgment

By God’s grace, we will use three scriptures to learn what it means to sound a trumpet and pour a cup of judgment: Isaiah 58:1, Jeremiah 25:15-30, and Ezekiel 2:8-3:4. We will understand that both sounding the trumpet and pouring the cup of judgment symbolize prophesying God’s word.

 

Isaiah 58:1 says:

“Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins.” [NKJV]

 

This passage shows us that sounding the trumpet simply means deliver a message from God to a people: to alert them, correct them, or direct them.

 

Jeremiah 25:15-30 says:

15 For thus says the Lord God of Israel to me: “Take this wine cup of fury from My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it. 16 And they will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them.” 17 Then I took the cup from the Lord’s hand, and made all the nations drink, to whom the Lord had sent me: … 27 “Therefore you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Drink, be drunk, and vomit! Fall and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.”’ 28 And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “You shall certainly drink! 29 For behold, I begin to bring calamity on the city which is called by My name, and should you be utterly unpunished? You shall not be unpunished, for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth,” says the Lord of hosts.’ 30Therefore prophesy against them all these words,…”

 

From this passage, we see that the act of prophesying God’s judgment against a people is symbolized as making them drink the cup of God’s judgment.

 

Now that we know what it means to sound the trumpet and to pour the cup of God’s judgment, we can understand what it means when we are told, in the book of Revelation, that an angel sounded a trumpet. It simply means that the angel declared God’s word to the people of the world. And when we are told that an angel poured a cup of God’s judgment, it simply means that the angel prophesied God’s judgment against the world.

 

However, we should note that the angel does not refer to a spirit angel; it actually refers to a human messenger. In Revelation chapters 2 and 3 our Lord Jesus asked John to write letters to the seven churches. Each letter was addressed to “the angel of the church”. For example, in the letter to the church of Ephesus He said: “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write…”. This angel of the church is obviously not a spirit angel. A physical letter will not be written to a spirit angel. The word “angel” simply means messenger. As such, the angel of the church of Ephesus is referring to persons in the church of Ephesus who consistently make themselves available to serve as God’s messengers to shine the light of His word to His people. In the same way, the angel that sounds a trumpet in each stage is not referring to a spirit angel. Rather, it is referring to the people in each stage who serve as God’s messengers to declare His word to the people of the world. And likewise, the angel that pours the cup of judgement in each stage refers to the people who serve as God’s messengers to prophesy His judgments against this world. For example, the fifth angel that sounds the fifth trumpet refers to the people who serve as God’s messengers in Stage 5 to preach the gospel of the Kingdom to the world and the fifth angel that pours the fifth cup of judgment refers to the people who God will use in Stage 5 to prophesy His judgments against the world. Usually, the people who sound the trumpet are also the ones that pour the cup of judgment later on in the stage they serve in.

 

Now that we understand the angel, the trumpet and the cup of judgment, we can look at Ezekiel 2:8-3:4 to understand how they relate to the book. It reads:

 

8 But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” 9 Now when I looked, there was a hand stretched out to me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. 10 Then He spread it before me; and there was writing on the inside and on the outside, and written on it were lamentations and mourning and woe. 1 Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.” So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness. 4 Then He said to me: “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them.” [NKJV]

 

From this passage, we can pick some lessons about those who serve as God’s messengers in each stage. Just as Ezekiel needed to eat this book, so also God’s messengers in each stage need to eat the revealed portion of the book when a seal is opened. From Ezekiel’s experience, we see that eating the book simply means receiving God’s word. It is after a person has received God’s word that he/she can speak it. This is what God’s messengers, the angel in each stage, experience. When a seal is opened, God reveals truths to them and they accept it with all their heart; they live by it; and then they serve as messengers to sound it to the world. And when the world does not accept it, they serve as messengers to prophesy God’s judgment. The vision shown when a trumpet is sounded, or a cup of judgment is poured, is a prophecy of the effect of the ministry of God’s messengers in each stage. While the vision shown when a seal is opened is an overall prophecy of the main theme of each stage.