Thursday, June 16, 2011

End Times – Church Age –Part 1

            As I began writing this article there is so much to say, so I've broken it up into two parts. This is an amazing story and I know you will enjoy it.

It's no accident that the spread of Christianity was in full bloom at the time the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. It doesn't take a master's degree in theology to see the connection to the end of an age and the beginning of a new age. Jesus was the promised Passover lamb, the final sacrifice for the sins of the people of earth. 

The primary use of the temple was to worship the Lord (Deuteronomy 12:11-12).  The second purpose of the temple was to bring the sacrifices prescribed by God under the Law of Moses. The sacrifices represented first, cover for sin, which was an abomination in His sight. Sin cost life (Leviticus 17:11, Romans 6:23). Other sacrifices they were friendship offerings of bread and wine. The temple was a place where those who didn't know God could come see Him at work and obtain mercy.

After Jesus surrendered His life as a sacrifice for sin, the animal sacrifices became useless. Jesus had broken down the barrier that separated God from people, which opened the door for everyone to receive salvation. The new temple was not at a place built by human hands, but a temple of flesh and blood, which housed a new spirit [creation] which those who have been born again can worship God in spirit and in truth.(John 4:23-24)

Jesus prophetic words came to pass when Peter proclaimed, “You are the Christ [Savior] Son of the living God. Jesus replied, “No human told you that, but my Father in heaven. Now I say you are Peter [rock] and upon this rock I will build my church and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matthew 16:19 paraphrased).

The church became the new representatives, revealing truth of who Christ is – the foundation stone. The Grace Age or the “Time of God's favor” is the final piece of God's plan for the redemption of all people. Until that time, the sacrifices kept the Lord satisfied, but is was not what He wanted. The Lord wanted people’s heart to obey Him. No amount of animal sacrifices could cause that.(1 Samuel 15:22)

The church was born on the day of Pentecost, a Jewish celebration of the wheat harvest. A significant point to mention is that Christ called those seeking salvation as “great wheat harvest” (John 12:24, Matthew 9:37). Jesus also used the phrase “wheat and weeds” (Matthew 13:24-29) in a parable about the kingdom.

It has been approximately 1978 years since the birth of the church, using the accepted date of 33 A.D. The church has gone through many changes, yet it still has survived. In the book of Revelation, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke to the Apostle John, describing those things that were yet to come. John was the last living Apostle who knew Jesus. In the year 95 A.D. Jesus clearly laid out Church history through the messages to the seven churches. (Revelation 2:1-3:22).

The Church of Ephesus and the Church of Smyrna represents the persecuted church (33-313 A.D.)  First the Christians were persecuted by the Jews and then the Romans. Everything Jesus warned the disciples about was happening. False doctrine was emerging; some were turning back to Judaism. The followers of Jesus were kicked out of the synagogues, driven off their land, and their businesses we confiscated. They were losing everything, remaining faithful to Jesus; they grew at an unprecedented rate. The epistles of Paul, Peter and John along with the book of Acts clearly state this period.

The Church of Pergamum and the Church of Thyatira represents the period of compromise (313- 1453 A.D.) This period could have destroyed the Church. For over one thousand years, the church was growing, even under persecution. The Gospel was reaching the world. When Constantine became emperor, he issued a rule of law authorizing Christianity as the only recognized religion of his empire. Thus, all people under his territories were Christians, without any profession of faith. Paganism infiltrated Christianity as a way of accepting everyone's beliefs and making it a unified body. The universal church was born, thus all people were under the authority of the Church.

The Church of Sardis and Philadelphia  represents the period of Reformation (1453- 1658 A.D.) The church was all but dead under the centuries of poor leadership and Antichrist behavior. False doctrines were being taught. The Word of God was kept from the people. The Holy Spirit began working in those who knew some truth, which began a spiritual awakening throughout Europe. The reformation ignited the industrial revolution. The Word of God spoke blessing into the lives of people, they in turn began walking in the promises of God.

To be continued…….

Copyright©2011 tathorpe-All Rights Reserved-

* dates for church periods are from “The story of the Christian Church” by Jesse Lyman Hurlbur-Zondervan Publishing 1970


Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

Love all the research you've done. So interesting. I knew some of the history, of course, but not quite in the order you've put it. Makes so much more sense. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us.

Terrie said...

The history of the Christian church is quite amazing. With all the bumps and bruises, here we are still receiving the promises.

I am glad you are enjoying thus far- the next few hopefully will be just as interesting.

As you can see I really love history- that what I do for fun sometimes is research... LOL

Anonymous said...

(Thanks, Terrie. Saw this web item not long ago. Finding many who believe we will go through at least some of the trib. Hannah)


How can the “rapture” be “imminent”? Acts 3:21 says that Jesus “must” stay in heaven (He's now there with the Father) “until the times of restitution of all things” which includes, says Scofield, “the restoration of the theocracy under David’s Son” which obviously can’t begin before or during Antichrist’s reign. ("The Rapture Question," by the long time No. 1 pretrib authority John Walvoord, didn't dare to even list, in its scripture index, the too-hot-to-handle Acts 3:21!) Since Jesus can’t even leave heaven before the tribulation ends (Acts 2:34, 35 echo this), the rapture therefore can't take place before the end of the trib! (The above verses from Acts were also too hot for John Darby - the so-called "father of dispensationalism" - to list in the scripture index in his "Letters"!)
Paul explains the “times and the seasons” (I Thess. 5:1) of the catching up (I Thess. 4:17) as the “day of the Lord” (5:2) which FOLLOWS the posttrib sun/moon darkening (Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20) WHEN “sudden destruction” (5:3) of the wicked occurs! The "rest" for "all them that believe" is tied to such destruction in II Thess. 1:6-10! (If the wicked are destroyed before or during the trib, who'd be left alive to serve the Antichrist?) Paul also ties the change-into-immortality “rapture” (I Cor. 15:52) to the posttrib end of “death” (15:54). (Will death be ended before or during the trib? Of course not! And vs. 54 is also tied to Isa. 25:8 which is Israel's posttrib resurrection!)
Many are unaware that before 1830 all Christians had always viewed I Thess. 4’s “catching up” as an integral part of the final second coming to earth. In 1830 this "rapture" was stretched forward and turned into a separate coming of Christ. To further strengthen their novel view, which the mass of evangelical scholars rejected throughout the 1800s, pretrib teachers in the early 1900s began to stretch forward the “day of the Lord” (what Darby and Scofield never dared to do) and hook it up with their already-stretched-forward “rapture.” Many leading evangelical scholars still weren’t convinced of pretrib, so pretrib teachers then began teaching that the “falling away” of II Thess. 2:3 is really a pretrib rapture (the same as saying that the “rapture” in 2:3 must happen before the “rapture” ["gathering"] in 2:1 can happen – the height of desperation!).
Other Google articles on the 181-year-old pretrib rapture view include “Famous Rapture Watchers,” "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," “X-Raying Margaret,” "Edward Irving is Unnerving," “Thomas Ice (Bloopers),” "Walvoord Melts Ice," “Wily Jeffrey,” “The Rapture Index (Mad Theology),” “America’s Pretrib Rapture Traffickers,” “Roots of (Warlike) Christian Zionism,” “Scholars Weigh My Research,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” "Pretrib Rapture Secrecy," “Deceiving and Being Deceived,” and "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty" – all by the author of the bestselling book “The Rapture Plot” (see Armageddon Books).

Terrie said...

Thank you for your well thought and detailed response. I am familiar will those items you have brought up and the verse notations. However that is the real challenge of scripture interpretation- First you must understand who the Lord is speaking too, once that is established, then we can understand the purpose and meaning.

My next post is relating directly to the rapture - I hope you will find it as interesting as well.

Thank you-