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The Church: Past, Present, Future Prt. 5

Luke 18:   KJV
1  And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
2  Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3  And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6  And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7  And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
8  I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Revelation 2:   KJV
1  Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2  I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3  And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4  Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
6  But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Jude 1:   KJV
3  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Basic facts on understanding end – time prophecy:

  1. Before the cross – Israel – Dispensation of Law
  2. After the cross –  The Church – Dispensation of Grace
  3. The Woman – Israel
  4.  The Bride – The Church

Many Bible scholars, students of the Bible and this writer agree, we are living in the “grace dispensation”.  God’s clock stopped after the resurrection of Christ.  The focus now turns to the church, and then to the Gentile nations.

However, this current dispensation is coming to a close and God will turn His focus towards Israel.  I do not the exact time, yet, Christ told his disciples that they should know the season. He related the parable of the fig tree.

Mark 13:   KJV
28  Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
29  So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
30  Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
31  Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

I know what the church should be by knowing the Word of God and properly discern it.  However, I am not sure it is ready for what is about to come upon this earth.  

Christ, than later, Paul, speak about the church in the sense of future as a bride preparing to meet the bridegroom, or a wedding.  

Christ speaks about this event using a parable of the ten virgins.

Matthew 25:   KJV
1  Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4  But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5  While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

Paul in his epistles talks about the bride’s wedding garment.

Ephesians 5:   KJV
27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Then John the Revelator describes what he is shown concerning this wedding, he calls it the marriage supper of the lamb.

Revelation 19:   KJV
6  And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
7  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
10  And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

As I see it the exact prophecy that Jesus gave about the last days is now already upon us.  The church is also caught up in it’s party like mood with little thought about the bridegroom coming.  There is little preparation going on, instead the building of kingdoms on earth, men erecting monuments that heap praise of the builder.

Matthew 24:   KJV
36  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40  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.
43  But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

As followers of Christ, a member of God’s church we should be filled with anticipation of the coming of the Lord.  A preacher once said, “if a man is fixing up the house it means he is planning on staying”.  Too many are fixing up dwellings here on this old world.

Reader, this is truly those days as Christ spoke about in the previous portion of Scripture.  We are instructed to be on a full watch for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For the church the days that lay before it are going to get rough.  As I have stated in previous articles the only thing we have for sure to build our hope on is Christ, the cornerstone that the builders rejected.

This is my reason that the church should not be aligning itself with any government of man, for it will be a man, the son of perdition, the anti-christ who will turn on the church.  This man will give his soldiers the orders to hunt down Christians and give them two options.  One, deny Christ and live.  Two, affirm Christ and lose your head.

Remember, the government of the land in the days of the early church ordered Stephen to be stoned, Peter was crucified upside down, Paul was beheaded in Rome, and John was sentenced to live out the rest of his life in a prison colony on the Isle of Patmos.

These will be the same actions carried out by the anti-christ towards the church of Christ in these last days.

As I write this article there is a hymn that I heard growing up speaking about this church.

A Glorious Church

Ralph E. Hudson

  1. Do you hear them coming, brother?—
    Thronging up the steeps of light,
    Clad in glorious shining garments,
    Blood-washed garments, pure and white!

    • Refrain:
      ’Tis a glorious church without spot or wrinkle,
      Washed in the blood of the Lamb;
      ’Tis a glorious church without spot or wrinkle,
      Washed in the blood of the Lamb.
  2. Do you hear the stirring anthems,
    Filling all the earth and sky?
    ’Tis a grand, victorious army;
    Lift its banner up on high!
  3. Never fear the clouds of sorrow,
    Never fear the storms of sin:
    We shall triumph on the morrow—
    Even now our joys begin.
  4. Wave the banner, shout His praises,
    For our victory is nigh!
    Following our conqu’ring Savior,
    We shall reign with Him on high!

I fervently pray that you are making yourself ready to be part of this glorious church!

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