The "Church" is Not Prepared for the Return of the King!
There is an End to This Madness; a Dark and Foreboding Day.
A Simple Question - A Simple Answer?
Not long ago someone posted upon this website a question concerning the early believers and the imminent return of the King: "Did the early Church actually believe that the return of Jesus was something they would experience in their lifetime?" (My paraphrase) The author went on to illuminate that which is now common knowledge among current bible scholars as to the necessity of certain world events, political alliances and Sodom-like wickedness on a global scale. Then posed the rhetorical - Why would the writers of the epistles express this doctrine if that which we now know to be factual was not the case during the first 60 or so years of the fledgling Church's existence? The writer displayed an extremely erudite argument and heavily relied on a "more accurate" literal Greek translation to build his argument - were the early epistles incorrect in their doctrine? My argument I hope will be most elementary in why it was absolutely necessary:
- The writer of the epistles was the Holy Spirit - the men were the pens in the hand of God. I would tread lightly questioning His wisdom.
- We are such wicked creatures; could you imagine thinking - Don't worry, live as you wish for these events are so far in the future, we have nothing to worry about. The absence of a godly admonition and the common lazy disposition of the flesh is not a healthy combination.
- In reality, for nearly 2,000 years, Christians have lived as if Christ could return at any moment and have been found worthy of His name in death, whether by martyrdom or not.
- None of us know when we shall meet our Savior; whether it be through death of the body or the rapture of the soul, our lamps are to be trimmed at ALL times. God knows the frailty and the fickleness or our flesh and our need for constant encouragement.
We are the simple that confound the wise, the weak that overpower the strong and the nothings of this world that bring to naught the elite of this world.
Too Many Take Too Much For Granted!
When Did We Get Our Modern Bible?
We must remember this also - the epistles of the New Testament were personal letters written to specific believers in a specific geological location: fax machines, email or even the pony express were not in vogue in the first century. A sovereign God purposefully delayed the coming together of all the scriptures we now hold dear according to His own thoughts and ways which in no way resemble anything close to our thoughts or ways. What follows is a brief history:
- 397 A.D. Council of Carthage establishes the 27 books of the New Testament for the first time.
- Circa 400 A.D. - The Latin Vulgate of Jerome - Greek to Latin
- 1380 A.D. John Wycliffe translates the whole bible, Old & New Testaments into English.
- 1516 A.D. Erasmus' Greek New Testament published which would become the forerunner to the Textus Receptus used by the KJV translators.
- 1525 A.D. William Tyndale - first translation of N.T. Greek into English and in 1536 was executed by those unappreciative of his work.
- 1560 A.D. The Geneva Bible, the work William Whittingham while exiled in Geneva would become the cornerstone of the KJV.
- 1606 - 1611 A.D. King James VI of Scotland and James I of England commissioned the work that we know today as the KJV.
Note on King James: He hated the Geneva bible, not for the translation but for the marginal notes it contained. When he ordered the KJV, his underlying principal was - "NO bishop, no king". The translation had to be for everyone. A good read is a work by Stephen A. Coston Sr. "King James, Unjustly Accused". It is well documented and the rumors I hear today that he was a heretic appear to have been the product of the high-ranking papists in England. He opposed the pope's authority and had many enemies within Church of England during his reign.
I am not much of a pragmatist but in the case of the KJV there is too much evidence not conclude that God's hand was heavily upon its creation for OUR benefit. For over 400 years it has changed Christianity into a world-wide phenomena; the basis for 100's of other language translations, the missionary's standard for centuries and the basis for every Christian reader of this blog coming to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ! How can I make such an outrageous statement you ask? Over a hundred years ago there were no other translations readily available to the public at large and everyone of us are the result a Christian heritage long before we or our grandparents existed. Our lineage dates back to the Day of Pentecost and in that timeline, a translation came into being that was used to convict our forefathers in Christ and we stand redeemed today because of a God authorized book - the KJV!
In How Many Ways Must We be Warned?
We Are Not Looking At The Situation From God's Viewpoint.
There Is Nothing New Under The Sun!
Just prior to the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah, wickedness seemed to prevail, but we as believers tend to live and act as if it never happened at all. Empires have risen and fallen but one trait was common to all; wickedness in the government and among the people seemed to prevail. The book of Judges is a history of godly leadership followed by "...but every man did that which was right in his own eyes." and wickedness once again began to prevail until God intervened. From the hardening of Pharaoh's heart to calling the evil empire of Assyria His rod against Israel, God has used the ungodly to drive those He has chosen to save to their knees.
Why is it that during some of the greatest periods of persecution there have arisen many of the great revivals of history? The problem of our perception is not the overwhelming evil around us of which the scriptures have duly warned believers; we are the problem. We have become lazy and presumptive in our fellowship of which today's churches tend to constrain to one or two days a week; in our patriotism to America being on par with our devotion to our Lord; to the physical cost to our bank account and the American dream or the indignities' of our senses when we observe the world embracing that which is evil. The problems is that sinners do best what sinners do; they SIN! We need to learn to do that which true believers should do; trust the Word and Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith. We have truly deceived ourselves; these are just a few of my observations.
- The terrible "I Will" deception. I will praise Him with every breath, I will follow wherever He may lead, I will never deny Him, I will, I will, I will - all unfulfillable statements this side of heaven; gently spoken as unrealistic or harshly spoken - a lie. We can do nothing apart from Christ and that includes being able to praise, follow or acknowledge Him most of the time. I won't sing any song that uses the terrible "I" word when comes to serving our Lord. I ask Him to help me to praise, follow or proclaim Him for I know that I will fail more than once. Paul acknowledged that he did the things he knew should not do and not do the things he should; by my estimation, Paul was a great deal more righteous than any one of us. We are so full of ourselves.
- We use the name of Jesus like its utterance has magical powers. I have heard it and seen it within the social media - Christians boldly proclaiming the binding of Satan in the name of Jesus; yet Jude 9 states very clearly that the archangel Michael dared not to bring a railing accusation the master of darkness but petitioned his Lord. If one looks closely at verse 8, a very unflattering term is used for those who speak evil of the powers of darkness for they underestimate the enemy and the God given powers they possess. If your spiritual ears are very attentive you may hear the devil and his minions chuckle - "oh no, we are so bound, heh, heh". Every time we invite the unsaved, aside from immediate family, we invite the uninvited guests they bring with them. They are only accepting our invitations.
- We seem to be very good at claiming this or that in the name of Jesus, yet the only thing we can claim is that we are a needy lot and that we can do nothing without Him. Peter and Paul were bold but they were not arrogant for both learned humiliation and their absolute need of the Holy Spirit. The testimonies of the Amy Carmichaels, the Spurgeon's and the martyrs speak volumes to the power of the humble servant. Whether it was Abel with a more perfect sacrifice, the stuttering Moses, the suffering Jerimiah and our Savior being the perfect example, all laid their lives out before the Father and depended upon Him alone. It is not what would Jesus do but what did He do! We need to stop glorifying ministries and learn to humble ourselves that He may lift us up.