NOTE FROM LES
The Great Commission
Suddenly, over the last few weeks, I have been deluged with the same question and that has been ''why, after commanding the 12 in Matthew 10:5 & 6 to go not to Gentiles, does Jesus reverse the command in Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:19, where he tells them just as plainly to go to the Gentiles? It is a good question and hopefully this will show how the Scripture answers that question.
Remembering that the Bible is a progressive revelation, let us go all the way back to the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 12. In verse 2, we have the promise of Israel becoming a nation but in verse 3 God also promises something for the rest of world [the Gentiles]. So obviously some way or another God is going to reach out to the whole non-Jewish world--- someday. We know when Israel was fresh out of Egypt and Moses went up to God on Mount Sinai [Exodus 19:5-6], that Israel was given a prospect--- that someday the Jews would become priests-not just the tribe of Levi, but all the tribes. To be certain that the prospect is not forgotten, Isaiah is led by the Spirit to write in Isaiah 42: 6 that the Jewish people are to be a light of the Gentiles. Again, in chapter 60, Isaiah tells Israel that the gentles ''shall come to thy light.'' And in Isaiah 62, Isaiah writes that the Gentiles ''shall see thy righteousness''. But, in order for Israel to attain this goal, God gave them covenants of promise. After Abraham, they received the covenant of law, [Exodus 19 and 20], the land covenant [Deuteronomy 30:3], the Davidic covenant [II Samuel 7:16] and the new covenant [Jeremiah 31:31-35]. All of this was like a highway to the kingdom but in the kingdom there will not only be the remnant of Israel but remnant of Gentiles. We know that only believers can go into the kingdom so how does God arrange that? He will accomplish that by using 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel [not just the tribe of Levi] which will mean that there are144,000 Jews who will fulfill the great commission of Matthew 28 and Mark 16. And what will they be preaching? The gospel of the kingdom as found in Matthew 24:14-(And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come). And who will they reach? All nations, all kindred's, and peoples of all languages. [Revelation 7:9].
That is the purpose of the so-called great commission. So it follows that when the tribulation ends there will be a few survivors from all the nations of the world [Isaiah 24:6] but there will be lost survivors as well as believers so God will bring them all before the King [Matthew 25:31]. The lost will be sent to their doom while the believers will go into the kingdom. We know from Zechariah 13:8 &9 that a third of Israel will go into the kingdom [approximately 5 million] so compared to Israel, other nations will only have a few. Consequently, Israel will enjoy the privilege of ministering to these Gentiles. Everything fits. So how does Christendom end up claiming ownership of the great commission? They do it by twisting the Scriptures [II Peter 5:16].
So, what then is our instruction? We are all, each and every believer, not just the eleven, to be Ambassadors and reconcilers (II Corinthians 5:19-20). And what is an Ambassador? A representative of his home country while serving in a foreign one. And what is our homeland? Heaven! And what is foreign? Earth!
I was born into a Bible believing Christian home. At the age of twelve I was led to God's saving grace on the last day of Vacation Bible School by the pastor's wife. I grew in grace, knowledge, and a love of the Lord. During high school, one year with state university, and three years of military service, I never deviated.
Everyone I associated with knew where I stood. In the service, I was stationed three different places: San Antonio, Texas; Tacoma, Washington; and Hot Springs Arkansas. In each place I was involved with a good church as in those days a good church was more prevalent than today. After returning to my home church in Iowa, the pastor asked me to teach a Sunday school class of high school boys and girls. After a few years I was invited to teach a nondenominational home Bible study that grew by five or six a week until the Lord forced our move to Oklahoma. After only a week in Oklahoma, a local pastor wanted to start a men's breakfast and Bible study at a local restaurant and asked if I would teach it. Then a second Bible study was started in another town 25 miles in the other direction. That led to teaching a Bible class in a state college one night a week. Tuition had to be paid and we had to have a minimum of 15 students-- for 13 years we never had less than 45! By this time we had four other cities as well, so for 32 years I went down the road five nights a week teaching two hour studies that lasted from 7 to 9 pm. At one of those classes, a young man taped the teaching on a camcorder and took it to a TV station in Tulsa, without my knowledge and they in turn opened the door to our TV Ministry. That was in 1990 and the rest is history. How we thank the Lord for a life full of blessings!
On a personal note, Iris and I were married in Hot Springs Arkansas when I was there on duty with the Army. We farmed in Iowa for 21 years during which time we had our three children: Greg now 53, Laura now 52 and Todd now 48. We also have nine grandchildren. We all are members of the body of Christ and anxiously awaiting the rapture.
What in the World? by Laura
We get a lot of phone calls here at the Ministry and many times people make the comment that they think the rapture must be getting close. I think a lot of people who are into the Word of God understand that the rapture is a very real event and that there is a great likelihood that it is imminent. However, the vast majority of people do not give the idea any credence--even though all areas of science are telling us that various calamities are about to happen-- even touting that one of these calamities could very well be the end of the world. And yet when you try to talk about the rapture to people, they will look at you like you have horns. Peter tells us in his second epistle Chapter 3 verses 3&4 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. And isn't is so true?! People who do not understand things of God want to pass it off as some pie-in-the-sky ideology by those of us who are kooks. There are even believers who want to say that it could very well be another 2000 years or something like that but I have to feel like those people are not very in touch with the news. The news is absolutely packed with clues telling us the stage is set but one argument with good evidence is the one that points to a soon to be world banking system--- which will be in place before the middle of the tribulation because we are told in God's Word that no one will be able to buy or sell without the mark of the beast. Most people know that the actual banks are already online-- computer wise-- all over the world. Those who travel know that you can walk into any bank and buy travelers checks --only they won't be given to you in the form of a paper traveler check-- you are given a piece of plastic. Then you can go anywhere else in the world, find an ATM or walk into a bank, and get your money in less time than it has taken me to write this paragraph. I realize that most already know this. However did you also know that the company ''verichip''-- which is the main manufacturer of the little identifying microchips that go under the skin-- was recently bought out by the same banking system that controls ''nationalcreditreport.com''? That merger, should you want to look it up on the Internet, is now called ''positive ID''.[Can be found by googling positiveIDcorp] If you know anything about credit reporting, you know that somebody out there knows everything about your financial life and this is going to be the same power that is going to be pushing for chips under the skin all in the name of banking.[and healthcare by the way] Personally, I find that pretty exciting.
Note from Laura
As always, I will write about the rapture as that is my favorite subject. Perhaps it is a coping mechanism for me because I am so handicapped, but I truly believe I would be almost as obsessed about it had I not gotten hurt simply because I find myself so very tired of the sin and corruption that we see all around us. I am so ready to leave all the sadness and badness of this world behind. I yearn for whatever God has in store for us because I know it is so wonderful that God tells us it is beyond our comprehension.
As I was telling you in the last newsletter, I spend a lot of time searching for clues that hint to those scenarios that will be present during the tribulation time but I also go to various Internet sites that deal with prophecy and I find that many of the times, the focus is so much on what will happen during the tribulation and the signs of the second coming, that the signs of the rapture-- as taught by Paul -- are sadly missing. We find that Paul tells us explicitly what things we can look for as clues to the rapture itself. There definitely will not be a death and destruction that John tells us will be present to herald the second coming. Rather there will be a marked breakdown in the moral fabric of society. In II Timothy 3:1-8, we find 1.This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4. Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
When I read that, I have to think that we are there. I look at the phrase ''without natural affection'' and I think about the abandoned babies, the molested children, the children that have been beaten and the children that have been murdered-- many times by their own parents. I think about all the abortions and governments that back abortions. I think about the homosexuality that is running rampant not only in America but pretty much all over the world. Europe's morality is worse than ours and South America's even worse then theirs. I don't know how God continues to put up with mankind's sexual perversion--- and in fairness to today's earthly inhabitants, sexual perversion has been so prevalent throughout much of history but not on the scale as far as numbers simply because of our huge population now. Another phrase that absolutely jumps off the page at me is ''despisers of those that are good''. If you do not agree that it hits the nail on the head, watch Fox news. The left wing liberals go after anybody of any decent morality and our legal system kowtows in the name of tolerance. What about the phrase ''ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of truth''? If that doesn't speak of our society right now I don't know what does. We have come so far in the explosion of knowledge even in the last 20 years that it is almost incomprehensible. My brain certainly cannot grasp the idea of nano-technology nor can it understand things like DNA manipulation [modified genetics], trans-humanism, and on and on the list goes. It is all so far above me that I cannot understand it yet these people with all of their learning and all of their intelligence are missing the mark when it comes to spiritual truth. As Paul goes on to say, they resist the truth. Most of them want nothing to do with the Bible and certainly will not say it is the Word of God. What a sad commentary for those who think they are so smart.
So for all of you out there that are wondering if it could be time for the rapture, personally I think it would be safe to say that according to Paul, it could very well be any time now.
Comment out of the Mailbag - "For years, I was sitting in the dark. I caught your program and the stadium lights came on!''
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New Products Coming Soon
The Bible Overview that Les did at Concordia is now available in a Transcript.
Also Book 20 will soon be available in Spanish!
(with more in the Roman series to come)
Our deepest appreciation to Gabriel Baltazar for the time and effort he put in to translate ''Questions & Answers'' into Spanish and also to Martiza Ortiz for the Roman series into Spanish. Much care and diligence was taken to translate from English to Spanish and it is our hope and prayer that there are no errors in the basic message. Should any be found, please contact us here at the Ministry 918-369-7856.
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