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March - April 2006
   

European American Evangelistic Crusades

 

The Flaming Sword
Contending For The Faith – Jude 3

 

A CATASTROPHIC YEAR FOR THE HUMAN RACE?

A MESSAGE FROM GOD GIVEN TO JOHN S. TORELL

 

WARNING! Reading this Newsletter is hazardous to a careless, sinful life style!

During the early part of the month of April, 2006, swarms of tornadoes swept over the Midwest and caused, not only material destruction, but also the death of dozens of people who were killed in their homes. The northern part of Tennessee was hit the hardest and houses, businesses and trailer courts were hit with houses ripped apart and others lifted off their foundations and tossed hundreds of feet away. Church buildings were destroyed; power lines down and millions of people were without power for a long period of time. People are asking, “What is going on? Why are these catastrophic events taken place in the area known as the Bible belt? Why could this not have hit Las Vegas, which is known as a sinful place, just as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah? And what about San Francisco or Hollywood?”

For the last 2000 years there have been no prophets living on the earth in the same class as the Old Testament prophets who spoke for God and foretold events which were going to happen in the future. Thus it is difficult for the believer in Christ to find out in advance what is going to happen. It is also hard for Christians to discern if catastrophic natural disasters are the result of judgment from God. Has God spoken concerning this issue? The good news is that He has and the first statement from God to which we are going to look is found in this Bible reference:

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Hebrews 1:1-3

GOD HAS SPOKEN ONCE AND FOR ALL THROUGH JESUS CHRIST

            There will be no more prophets as in the Old Testament times. Prophecy from God will be given to individual believers in Christ as recorded in chapters 12 and 14 of First Corinthians. From time to time God will reveal future events to believers in Christ.  The most well known prophecy is one that was recorded in 1852 and fulfilled in 1914 and given to the Armenian people living in Turkey. Here is a written record, which has been preserved by the Shakarian family:

Demos Shakarian (1913-1993)

Founder of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship

“Demos was named after his grandfather, a remarkable man who fled from Armenia in 1905 to settle in Los Angeles, California, USA. The family left their homeland in response to a prophecy in 1852 that a time of unspeakable tragedy would come to Armenia and that hundreds of thousands of people would be killed. When the same person who had given the prophecy announced the time for the tragedy was near, it was the sign for many people, including grandfather Demos to move.

“The prophet was a true prophet. In 1914 the Turkish people drove the Armenian population out into the Mesopotamian desert. Over a million men, women and children died. They massacred another half a million people in their villages, often by locking them in barns and burning them to death. Everyone who stayed in the home village of grandfather Demos died! The world did not respond to what was happening and allowed it to continue. Later on they reaped a reward for their shameful inaction. When Hitler started his campaign to exterminate Jewish people, he believed that ‘no one cared about the Armenians; they will not care about the Jews.’” (www.christianheroes.com)

            In order for the reader to better understand the structure of the New Testament Church, let me quote the following from the Bible:

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16

            The Bible as we have it today with its 66 books is a completed work and God is not adding any more to it. What is written stands and the work of leaders in the body of Christ is to study the Bible, interpret it, teach it, and apply it. I have written this based on the understanding that the Holy Spirit has given me and now it is up to you to follow the instructions the Apostle Paul gave to the church in Corinth.

Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 1 Corinthians 14:29-33

WHO IS JESUS?

            In order to understand biblical truth, it is essential to know more about Jesus. Who was He, and what did He do? Over the years, Jews have accused Christians of having more than one God and reject the concept that Jesus is the Messiah. The New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus is God; furthermore, Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit are one. Let’s briefly look at the offices Jesus is holding:

            JESUS IS THE CREATOR

                        JESUS IS THE SAVIOUR

                                    JESUS IS THE JUDGE

            When the translators of the King James Version did their translating, they chose to use the word “God” rather than the Hebrew words used in the Old Testament when referring to God. Therefore, unless an English speaking person is willing to grab a concordance and look up the names of God, they will not have a complete understanding of what God has said about Himself.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2

            In the first two verses of the Bible, we are informed that God created the universe and that the Holy Spirit was moving upon the earth. Later in this chapter, the translators tell us that God was speaking to someone else when He was ready to create man. Who exactly was God talking to before He created man? This was something I did not understanding for many years. Look at these verses:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:26-27

            The Old Testament is written in Hebrew, the language of the twelve tribes of Israel. But Hebrew is not the language that Adam and Eve spoke. When God created Adam and Eve, they spoke a language that no one knows about. There is no archeological evidence for it, it is a language that God removed from the human race at Babel. Here is the description the Bible gives us:

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. Genesis 11:1-9

THE BLOOD LINE OF NOAH

            If we put the day God created Adam to year zero, we will find that Noah was born 1,056 years later. His ancestors are these: Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah and his father Lamech. The flood took place 1,656 years from Adam’s creation. The Bible does not tell us how many years there were after the flood until God changed the languages on the earth. But for Noah, most of his life, he spoke and wrote in the original language of the earth; but with the change of languages, he had to write down the account of the creation in his new language, which must have been Chaldean. 

            Abraham was born 1,948 years after Adam and was raised as a Chaldean. He was ten generations from Noah, and it is obvious that Abraham not only had access to the written history kept by Noah, but he had his own copy of it. Abraham was 58 years old when Noah died, and it is therefore possible that Abraham had met Noah in person.

            Moses came on the scene 2,596 years after Adam and was born, 473 years after Abraham had died. At the time of Moses, the descendants of Abraham had developed their own language, Hebrew, which is a mix of several different languages from the Middle East. Moses compiled historical events prior to his own life, and then set forth to write a written account in what today is known as the Five Books of Moses.

In the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, there are seven names for God:

YAHWEH – THE EXISTING ONE (Found in Exodus 3:4 and translated LORD)

EL – MIGHTY ONE (Found in Genesis 14:18 and translated God)

ELAH – AN OBJECT TO WORSHIP (Found in Ezra 4:24 and translated God)

ELOHIM – GODS OF WORSHIP (Found in Genesis 1:1 and translated God)

ELOAH – OBJECT OF WORSHIP (Found in Deut. 32:15 and translated God)

TSUR – A ROCK (Found in Isaiah 44:8 and translated God)

HAYAH – TO EXIST, TO BE (Found in Ex.3:14 and translated “I AM THAT I AM”)

            Please note that the Bible does not tell us the personal name of God, but rather each name is an attribute. The same holds true for the Son of God. Jesus is Greek for the Hebrew word “Joshua”, which means “Saviour”. Christ is Greek for the Hebrew word “Messiah”, which means “The Anointed One”.

            When Jacob wrestled with God, he wanted to know God’s personal name, but it was not given him (Genesis 32:29). And in the book of Revelation we find the same thing, no man knows the personal name of the Son of God.

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. 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. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. Revelation 19:11-13

            For many years I believed that Jesus, the Son of God, did not come into existence until he was born by Mary in Bethlehem. Even after I gave my life to Christ and had been active in the church for a number of years, I still believed that Jesus began his life in Bethlehem. I thought that God the Father was the creator and that Jesus actually was God, was foreign to me. I saw God as a mean and judgmental God, whereas Jesus was kind, loving and did not judge people.

            For many years I believed that Jesus, the Son of God, did not come into existence until he was born by Mary in Bethlehem. Even after I gave my life to Christ and had been active in the church for a number of years, I still believed that Jesus began his life in Bethlehem. I thought that God the Father was the Creator and the concept that Jesus actually was God was totally foreign to me. I saw God as a mean and judgmental, whereas Jesus was kind, loving and did not judge people.

            It was not until I began to really study the New Testament that the Lord began to open my understanding on this matter. In the following Bible references you will find Jesus explaining his relationship to the Father: John 8:54-55, 14:7-11, 14:23, 14:26.

            Look at this statement: When Jesus walked on the earth, the Father was in heaven and the Holy Spirit made it possible for Jesus to communicate with the Father. Now let us look at this reference:

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth. John 1:1-14

            When I did a deep study of this last Bible reference, it became clear to me that Jesus was God and that He was also the Creator. I now searched the New Testament to see if I could find some more references on this issue. Here is what I found:

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: Ephesians 3:9-11

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. Colossians 1:12-20

            With two solid references from the writings of the Apostle Paul, there can be no doubt that Jesus is indeed the Creator. In the beginning of this writing, I started off with a reference from Hebrews 1:1-3, which also asserts that Jesus Christ is the Creator. If we then add what the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:22-28, it becomes clear that of the Godhead, the Father has chosen to manifest Himself to mankind in the form of the Son, who is the Creator, Saviour and Judge.

            Accordingly, we can also draw the following conclusion: It was not the Father but Jesus Christ who walked in the Garden of Eden. It was Jesus that spoke to Abraham, Moses and all the other saints in the Old Testament. It was Jesus who came in the form of a man at times and was also referred to as the “Angel of the Lord”.

Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. John 8:54-58

            The apostle Paul clearly states that Moses dealt with Jesus, not the Father.

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 1 Corinthians 10:1-3

            Knowing this, we can really understand the full impact of what Jesus meant when he said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15

            Jesus was the lawgiver and judge that meted out punishment during the Old Testament times and now He is the Supreme Ruler in the Universe. One day He will come back to this earth, not as the Saviour of mankind, but as the Judge!

And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Revelation 1:13-18

GOD HAS TWO KINDS OF WRATH

            God is a God of love, but there comes a time when God will not extend any more mercy when believers in Christ sin, regardless if we are looking at people before or after the cross. God’s wrath against his people has one purpose, to bring them back into repentance and to let unbelievers know that sin will not be unpunished. Let us look at some examples from the Bible:

MOSES

Moses was told to speak to the Rock, which in reality was Jesus himself. Instead, he became so irritated at the people that he took out his anger on Jesus, and instead of speaking; he struck the Rock with his rod. Numbers 20:1-12

Moses did not lose his salvation, but he lost the great joy of leading his people into the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 34:1-7

KING SAUL

Saul did not obey the word spoken to him by the prophet Samuel with the result that he was removed as King of Israel. 1 Samuel 15:1-31

Even though Saul repented and confessed his sin, the judgment from God was not changed, and his entire bloodline was removed from the kingship of Israel. 1 Samuel 31:1-7

KING DAVID

David committed adultery and then he became a murderer. God sent Nathan to confront David. 2 Samuel 12:1-12

David repented and God forgave him, but the child which was conceived in the act of adultery was not spared. 2 Samuel 12:13-23

THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL

The people of Israel sinned and the wrath of God was moved against them. As a result, God allowed Satan to entice David to sin, by numbering his armed forces.
2 Samuel 24:1-9

As soon as David received the result of the survey, he recognized that he had sinned and he repented. God forgave him but there was a punishment. 2 Samuel 24:10-25

NEW TESTAMENT TIME

God has made it very clear that He will judge His people and all believers in Christ would do well to heed this warning. God is not sentimental, and when a believer in Christ is in rebellion and unrepentant, judgment will come upon them. Hebrews 10:26-31

Discipline is part of the love of God and the Christians should be aware of this and be quick to repent. Hebrews 12:1-13   

GOD’S WRATH AGAINST UNBELIEVERS

            This wrath from God has no redemptive purpose, it is destructive and its purpose is to eradicate the people who have rebelled against the Lord. The first example of this is found in Genesis 6:1-13.

            For some 100 years Noah had been preaching repentance to the people living around him; but they rejected the message of God, and as a result, God rejected them.

            The second example we are going to look at is the drowning of Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. God was making an example of Pharaoh; there was no repentance for him and the people in his army, only destruction and death!  Exodus 14:13-31

            There are many examples in the Old Testament of how God on a large scale exterminated armies and at times whole nations because of the wickedness of the people. There was no mercy or grace, just death and destruction. 2 Kings 19:32-37

THE FINAL TWO JUDGMENT SEATS OF GOD

            THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST:     This is the time that God will do a final judgment on His people, where punishment will be meted out prior to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, and where eternal positions and rewards will be given to each believer. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11

            THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT:    This is the most dreaded court of all time that God has set up. This will be the final judgment of all unbelievers from the time of Adam to the end of the 1000 year kingdom. The people born during the 1000 year kingdom, who rejected the Devil and chose Christ, will be given their rewards and eternal positions in heaven. But for all unbelievers, this is the final time they will see the face of Christ, as he will judge them. Once a person dies without having been born again, there will be no second chance, just a terrible looking for an eternity of torment, which will be worse than what the unsaved people have experienced in hell.

            This is the time when God will do a final rejection of all unsaved people throughout the ages, there will be no mercy and no grace, only harsh judgments and then they will be taken by Gods holy angels to the Lake of Fire, where they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. This is the most terrible fate for a human being. (Revelation 20:1-15)

CONTINUED: A Catastrophic Year for the Human Race?
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