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Looking Deeper At The Rapture And Second Coming Doctrines; Introducing The Night-trib Position!

 

 

 

Bible Prophecy: The Seven Letters To The Churches Explained!

 

The Church of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia, and not by chance, owns the most distinguished letter. Without bias, Philadelphia’s Salutation amply glorifies Christ. Again, there is no censure to this people. The key to understanding Philadelphia’s letter centers on the role love plays in New Testament theology. Without question, Philadelphia knows that she has passed from death unto life by the use of her godly, indwelt love for the brethren (1 John 3:14). She is the ultimate Church who knows the love of God contained in God’s Grace.

The Letter to Philadelphia

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia

write; These things saith he that is holy, he

that is true, he that hath the key of David,

he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and

shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy

works: behold, I have set before thee an open

door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a

little strength, and hast kept my word, and

hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make

them of the synagogue of Satan, which say

they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold,

I will make them to come and worship before

thy feet, and to know that I have loved

thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my

patience, I also will keep thee from the hour

of temptation, which shall come upon all the

world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which

thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him

that overcometh will I make a pillar in the

temple of my God, and he shall go no more

out: and I will write upon him the name of

my God, and the name of the city of my God,

which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down

out of heaven from my God: and I will write

upon him my new name. He that hath an ear,

let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the

churches. (Rev. 3:7-13)

“He that is holy” testifies to the purity of Christ. “He that is true” affirms that Christ is willing to work righteousness in our lives by His indwelt power of holiness within us. Philadelphia not only knows these things, she experiences these things.

“He that hath the key of David” reflects the idea that Christ rewards this symbolic symbol of good stewardship to conscientious, developed, loving Christians. Keenly, the Key of David signifies to Philadelphia that they’re a people entrusted with the goods of Christ’s precious truth. To be a steward of truth is to be accountable to the truth. This is why the framework of Philadelphia’s open door connects to her godly works.1

As we know, David was an adulterer. David was a murderer. Nevertheless, David was also was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), achieving righteousness (Psa. 7:8). Now God covered David’s sin (Psa. 32:5), and the Bible declares that David trusted God (Psa. 11:1, 13:5). Not to our amazement, then, David didn’t lose his salvation as some speculate, for it is David’s House alone that the Key of David meticulously fits. Now, anyone can sit in judgment of David for his awful sins. But who would want to after overcoming their sin, as David did? Indeed, God forgave David’s sin, putting it away (2 Samuel 12:13).

The Open Door of Stewardship

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength . . . .(Rev. 3:8)

Contextually, the exegesis of Philadelphia’s letter remains within the confines of David’s Key. But many Bible students haven’t seen this interpretation in misapplying Philadelphia’s open door to a Church stage, in which the Gospel door is open throughout the world. The problem with this theory, however, is that doors may or may not be open, but never shut by Jesus Christ, for any length of time. When Christ commanded the Church to go into all the world, He meant it, even though the Holy Ghost forbade the preaching of the Word in Asia (Acts 16:6). But that instance was temporary, for after a little while, Paul did indeed go to Asia (Acts 20:18). So then, the Spirit’s command had nothing to do with the closing of the Gospel door to Asia as a finality.

As always, the Church is to go into all the world, preaching the Gospel (Matt. 28:19). If Philadelphia represented a historical Church stage surfacing after Sardis (the supposed Reformation Church), that stage of history would entail the eras of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler. Plainly, that would be a long-time closed door, conflicting with the open door of Philadelphia’s letter. Obviously, then, the open door in Philadelphia’s letter is not a Church stage of history representing the unobstructed preaching of the Gospel.

Moreover, spiritual Sardis positively doesn’t epitomize the Reformation Church, which was an alive Church. And those who teach such are grossly mistaken while plundering God’s message to today’s dead Church. It is no mystery that when good things are sown to the Spirit, reaping from the Spirit follows—the open door of understanding. True, Christ is “he that shutteth.” But the Gospel door isn’t what He has shut by the devices of men, for the passage goes on to state, speaking of that same door, “no man can shut it.” As idiomatic as it may sound, “the proof is in the pudding.” Communism shut the Gospel door for years.

If these letters were in strict relationship to Church stages, and not partitions of the Church today, how then can Philadelphia be present upon Christ’s return? “Behold, I come quickly”? Isn’t Philadelphia listed before Laodicea, the supposed last Church stage? By no means, then, does Philadelphia represent a Church stage of history. Far from that idea, Philadelphia is a present segment of the end-time Church who patiently awaits the Quick Return of Christ. Paralleling this fact, the whole end-time Church has not undergone the Laodicean experience.

Considering these facts, the open door that no man can shut has to apply to receiving the truth of Christ. Surely all Christians are of the truth and somewhat know the truth, yet Philadelphian Christians utterly know the truth by receiving the love of the truth. No man can stealthily bind or steal her relationship with Christ. “No man can shut” the door of genuine spirituality, because Christians who fully esteem others, esteem the truth. On this wise, Paul wrote, “But he that is “spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man” (1 Cor. 2:15). As Paul tells us in so many words, a godly person off ends “no man” in a bias judgment; no man can rightfully condemn a spiritual person. In perspective, it is Philadelphia who is to be on guard that no man takes her crown.

“Thou hast little strength” applies to the knowledge of the real walk, since true godliness never derives from one’s own strength. Reverse to that certainty, those who have success in using their own strength, fail to realize that Christ is the only trustworthy fuel of the Christian experience: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).

Mature Christians know that a walk with God requires a step at a time; therefore, if anyone in Philadelphia should at some juncture refuse the walk, they are especially at risk: “He that shutteth.” Arrestingly, here lies a formidable warning to all, as exemplified by Shebna’s loss of stewardship to Eliakim, or literally, Shebna’s loss of the Key of David! Now Shebna was an unworthy steward, and received banishment forever; plus, he died (Isa. 22:15-24). Fittingly, in the Parable of the Ten Talents, the Lord said, “For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath” (Matt. 25:29). Unlike Shebna’s work, pursuing God’s will of loving others with His love is a godly work that will be rewarded, just as Eliakim was rewarded. For the Lord’s virtues are increased when we intentionally use His power, which, when employed, not only opens the door of stewardship (ministry), but also the door of spirituality that no man can shut.

Enduring in Christ

And has kept my word, and hast not denied my name. (Rev. 3:8)

Love crucifies the works of the flesh while fulfilling God’s entire law (Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:14). Admirably, Philadelphia of long ago kept Christ’s Word by patiently making use of it. Today, if we’ll expend God’s inner love in loving others, we will have kept Christ’s Word in the eradication of sin: the fulfillment of the law. And, if in this process we openly confess Christ, even when the opportunity doesn’t present itself, we do uphold His name. Of all environments, the workplace is the most challenging for the everyday Christian, seeing that there, Christians often risk their livelihood in upholding His name. Jesus said, You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 5:14-16)

Common sense tells us that employers don’t compensate Christians to witness Christ. Still, the Lord commands us to be a witness in all the world, which naturally includes the workplace. To this regard, the Lord expects us to make full use of our creativeness in choosing the best ways and means to witness: “Be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). Odd as it may seem, at times Christians aren’t to witness at all: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast you your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matt. 7:6). No, we are not to share biblical truths with those who determinedly profane Christ. Nevertheless, we can always give a witness by the example of our actions, regardless of the situation.

Behold I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do “LIE,” behold I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. (Rev. 3:9)

In John’s day, some were steeped in false doctrine, claiming to be “Jews.” Meaning, these claimed to be of “the true,” but weren’t. In describing them, John used the word “Jews” in conjunction with the word “lie,” which, to us, notably exposes their legalistic adherence to the law’s letter, instead of faith that works by love. Similarly, today, some are overtaken with the legalism of a “lie,” readily condemning those who would disagree with their legalistic view. These neither practice the love of God nor the fulfillment of the law, although some of these name Christ as God’s true people and proclaim the Nicolaitan Doctrine ("true Church"). Much to their dismay, Jerusalem from above is free from the letter of the law (Rom. 7:6; Gal. 4:26).

The present tense in the Greek infers that some of these “Jews” would repent and worship God before Philadelphia’s feet. Worshiping God in this manner displays a willingness to take a place of servitude in faith; that is, faith that works by love. Today, if the faithful continue in “the truth,” the Lord also will favor them by opening blinded eyes. And here lies still another reason to endure patiently in His Word: “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). Those who curse, hate, persecute, and judge us will be far less in number, if we respond to them with virtue and uplift them in prayer. Simply, Satan will see to that, because He knows that Christ answers the prayers of the saints (Psa. 5:1-3, 65:2; Pro. 15:29).

All who partake of the true church declaration, exclude fellowship by their inexplicable condemnation of others. To exclude others is to practice a “lie.” Likewise, to judge legitimate members of the Body of Christ erroneously in assuming that they don’t have salvation, or that they are of another spirit, parallels the very actions of Philadelphia’s “Jews.” Such is to practice the “lie” of Satan’s Synagogue, even though one might not knowingly be a member of that Synagogue.

Believe it or not, the adherence to legalistic tithe teachings is often the culprit for erroneous judgments toward others by modern hard-line Judaizers. So then, as a matter of integrity, especially for those who take this doctrine to the extreme, let us veer off Philadelphia’s mainstream message and examine the traditional Protestant Doctrine of Tithing.

Tithing, Is it New Testament?

Often, good pastors misuse the Old Testament tithe, teaching and preaching that the tithe, or that a mandatory 10 percent giving of one’s income, is “New Testament.” Normally, to teach the tithe is simple error. Still, error is error, no matter how innocently it is cloaked. For some, certain traditions that have nothing to do with the faith of the Gospel are hard to overcome, which often happens to be the case with the tithe. Sustaining the Tithe Doctrine is the fact that many Christians have reported a blessing when tithing. And rightly so, since the Lord blesses all who participate in any form of giving, especially when the believer adds faithfulness. Despite that reality, personal experience is not a biblical validation for the 10 percent tithe as a commandment to the Church.

In searching out the words “tithe,” “tithes,” and “tithing,” which altogether appear seven times in the New Testament, we quickly learn that no such command exists for the Church. In addition to this fact, the inspired writers of New Testament were well aware of God’s will. They didn’t simply forget to tell us that the Church was to tithe. Moreover, it is wise to discern that when the tithe is preached, it can only be preached effectively from the Old Testament, not the New.

Another factual point is that there is no record of the early Church ever collecting or receiving tithes. This in itself ought to be enough to disprove the tithe for today’s Church, seeing that they, the early Church, never recorded the practice of tithing. In Hebrews 7:18, Paul penned a pivotal verse in understanding the tithe. He wrote, “For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment.” Odd enough to “the tithe,” when it comes to commandments of any kind in Hebrews 7, the strict exegesis is the Tithe Commandment (Heb. 7:5). Indeed, Paul references no other commandment within that chapter, or the many surrounding chapters. As a result, the “disannulling of the commandment” is none other than a setting aside of Levi’s Tithe Commandment for the Christian.

Why was there a disannulling of the Tithe Commandment? Paul's answer in the very next verse was that the law made nothing perfect, but a hope in Christ did (Heb. 7:19). Interestingly enough, this shows that Paul considered the tithe as part of the Law of God.

In Hebrews 7:16, Paul tagged Levi's Tithe Commandment as carnal, telling us that Christ wasn't made after a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. Forthrightly, emanating from another priesthood, is why Paul rebuffed Levi’s Tithe Commandment as carnal for Christians. And this why Paul also cited the necessity of changing the law (Heb. 7:12) in his disannulling of the Tithe Commandment for Christians (Heb. 7:18). Of course, because of the Old Covenant’s ties to Israel in the future, the tiniest part of the law will not pass for Israel until all things are fulfilled (Matt. 5:17-18). Nevertheless, again, there is a disannulling of Levi’s tithe Commandment for the Church.

Although there is a disannulling of the tithe, many in the Church still cling to the example of Abraham tithing to Melchizedek. For the record, the only time Abraham tithed to Melchizedek was after his return from the slaughter of the kings, which was a once and only tithe, not a repetitive tithe.2 Fittingly, what is often overlooked here, is that there is no record of Abraham ever paying tithes on his personal income and property before or after this one time tithe. Of course, Christians aren't to slaughter their enemies and tithe to the King of Peace. Quite oppositely, we are to be as wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove (Matt. 10:16).

From the viewpoint that Abraham is the Father of Faith, true, Abraham is largely considered as such, even though Noah predated him in using faith (Heb. 11:7). But this alone doesn't warrant a directive to mimic Abraham in all things, because all things that Abraham did, clearly were not of the faith:

1.) Abraham simultaneously had two wives (Gen. 16:13; 23:19), whereas bishops, deacons and elders are to have one (1 Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6).

2.) According to the Old Covenant to come, Abraham circumcised his flesh (Gen. 17:9-14). Nowadays, to do so for religious purposes is not to practice the "gospel of uncircumcision," which, by the way, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:7), the New Covenant!

3.) Abraham offered a burnt offering unto the Lord (Gen. 22:13).

Not only did Abraham tithe 430 years before Moses wrote the law, he circumcised himself. Without controversy, the Church accepts the fact that circumcision is very much a part of the Law of God (Gal. 5:2-3), even though Abraham did so 430 years before the law existed. Knowing this fact, time wise, there is no reason to claim that the tithe is not also part of the law, just because Abraham tithed 430 years before the advent of the law.

On the onset of the law, the tribe of Levi received the commandment to collect and receive tithes (Heb. 7:5). Nevertheless, the tribe of Levi was also to pay a tithe (Num. 18:26). Concerning their obligation, the Scripture tells us that Levi also paid tithes in Abraham when Abraham tithed to Melchizedek (Heb. 7:9). Here, Paul really tells us that Abraham’s one time tithe was for Levi (the future priesthood of Israel), not for himself.

What about Jacob's tithe? When Jacob promised the tithe he did so by vowing a vow. In vowing his vow he typified the Old Covenant; that if God would ensure his return to Bethel and supply all his needs, he in turn would give a tenth to God. God then would be his God. By the way, his sentiment identifies with the Old Covenant:

And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth. (Deut. 28:1)

Granted, in Matthew 23:23, Jesus approved the tithe of the Scribes and Pharisees. However, we must remember that these were Jews still under the law of the Old Covenant, who also were recipients of Christ's criticism for omitting "the weightier matters of the law." In addressing these religious teachers, Jesus said,

woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (Matt. 23:23)

To omit the weightier matters of the law is to omit love, or the entire fulfillment of the law by love (Gal. 5:14). It is, then, to omit judgment, faith and mercy, or the heart intent of the law.

Now judgment, faith and mercy can't be found within the Tithe Commandment. So what was left "undone" by the Pharisees was the purpose of the law, not the "tithe part" of the law. And this reveals that Christ also counted the tithe as part of the Law of God.

To tally each tiny dill seed, the practice of the Scribes and the Pharisees, was legalism personified. And this is why our Lord said to them, "You blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel" (Matt. 23:24). Christ's objective isn't to put Christians back under the legalism of the law’s letter (Rom. 7:6). But to deliver us from it; that is, if one is wholly led of the Spirit of God (Gal. 5:18).

Oftentimes, good pastors have wrongly accused Christians by the ill use of Malachi 3:8, pointing out that Christians who don't tithe 10% of their income are robbers of God. This ought not to be, for when Malachi preached the tithe, he addressed Jews under the Old Covenant of Mosaic Law (1 Cor. 9:20), not Christians under the Grace of God. To verify this, we must only realize that Christians aren't under the Law of God, much less the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13). In marked contrast, the Jews, even their "whole nation" was to be cursed if they refused obedience to the tithe (Mal. 3:8-9).

The curse of Malachi 3:8-9 is not just a curse of the fields, but the result of the curse of the law. We find this to be true in reading Deuteronomy 28:15-16, that if the Jews would observe all of God’s commandments their fields would be blessed, leaving the clear instruction of how to avoid the curse of the law (Duet. 28:15-16).

Knowing the vast differences of the two covenants, Jesus contrasted the Old with the New. By so doing, He warned of the drawing effect of the Old:

And he spoke also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. (Luke 5:36-38)

Today, many profess that "the old is better." Nevertheless, those who do so can drink strictly of the New (Matt. 26:27-29); that is, if only they will utilize "faith which worketh by love" as a guideline, and not the oldness of the letter of law. Actually, the proceeds of "faith which worketh by love," given time, far surpass the receipts of legalistic 10% giving.3Why? Because faith that works by love represents the seed of an inner growing Christ, whereas the 10% tithe represents the outward oldness of the letter. So when churches claim that they must have the tithe to survive, it is obvious that they aren’t giving agape love a chance by teaching the how of increasing an inner Christ in their congregations.4

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul traversed great lengths in convincing this New Testament Church to give to the ministry. In doing this, he never told the Corinthians to tithe:

Do you not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? And they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. (1 Cor. 9:13-14)

In the above Paul contends that ministers have the right to make a living by preaching the Gospel. In asserting this, Paul alludes to both the Altar and the Temple, but he declined to indicate the tithe in establishing a minister's right to live off the Gospel. If tithing were a New Testament commandment to the Church, Why did Paul neglect to use it in instructing the Corinthians? Profoundly, the answer lies in the fact that the liberty of the New Testament Gospel, God's Grace of the Royal Law of Liberty, overtly contrasts with that of God's Law, the tithe.

Clashing with the contemporary views of some, Christians are never to give of need, expecting a return. Rather, all are to give from the heart, for God loves a cheerful giver. Paul wrote, "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7). In Paul's text, the word "purposeth" in the Greek means to bring forth by choice. This, then, validates that 10% giving was never a viable commandment to the Church. Here also lies the New Testament principle of freewill giving, since the amount that we give is a personal choice: "as a man purposeth," not as a man is commanded.

Now if we really believe the Word of God, specifically the New Testament, we must accept this veritable point of freewill giving as fact. Jesus said, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you mete withal, it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38). Here, the same measure that we mete can be bountiful or little, yet it remains to be our freewill choice. Also, this Scripture wasn’t just meant for the everyday Christian, its directive is also to Pastors. For when Pastors don’t practice giving from the heart, it is a good sign that neither do their congregations.

Paul wrote, "Let him that is taught in the Word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things" (Gal. 6:6). Here, the word "communicate" means to share; to partake and distribute. Respectfully, we are to share our blessings liberally with those who have taught us in the Word of God. Speaking of that sharing, Paul instructed the early Church,

Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever you shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. (1 Cor. 16:2-3)

Here again, Paul didn't mention the tithe, yet he did teach that we are to give as God prospers us, and for many this amount could easily result in much more than 10%. Notably, Paul tagged this kind of giving as our liberality.

"Liberality" can only mean our freedom from the law's letter, or more specifically in this case, freedom from the tithe or set percentages. In fact, when we give, we are not to let our left hand know what our right hand is doing, because in the presence of other believers our giving is to be done in secret (Matt. 6:3-4). Thus, in Church, biblically, we are not to record the amount that we give.

Paul's request in 1 Corinthians 16:1 had nothing to do with tithing--it had to do with the storing of funds as God had prospered the Corinthians, that there be no "collections" (Greek: gatherings) of believers when I come. Dissimilar from that of many ministers and televangelists of today, Paul didn't want to initiate the gathering of funds from the people publically; nor did he want money to be a part of his discussion in his ministering to the Corinthians. Rather, Paul wanted the Corinthians to put something aside (their liberality) for his work in advance, so he wouldn't have to approach them or mention this subject during his ministry time. In this instance, the Corinthians had probably asked Paul in advance if they could help him in his missions; Paul obliged. But for the record, never is it recorded in the Scripture that Paul ever solicited funds.

Surely Paul never collected tithes from the Corinthians. If he did then there wouldn't have been a need for him to write 2 Corinthians 11:7-9, which more than conflicts with the idea of Paul receiving tithes from the Corinthians. In fact, Paul never collected a tithe from any Church. We know this because he did take wages from some other Churches to minister to the Corinthians, but he referred to this act as "robbing" them (2 Cor. 11:8).

Also, take for example the Apostle Paul’s remark in Philippians 4:15, that no Church communicated (shared) with him except the Philippians. Certainly, if tithes were collected in the early Church, then the Apostle Paul would have had his share of their blessings. But according to his writings, this obviously was not the case! Thus so, it must be noted that tithing was first accepted at the Council of Macon in 585 CE.5 In clearer terms, tithing was not always accepted in the Body of Christ, but began in the Catholic Church in the sixth century. Since then, the Tithe Doctrine has become a strong Protestant tradition, which has no foundation in the New Testament.

Moreover, those who preach that paying 10% of one’s income buys their way out of the curse (Mal. 3:8-9), in teaching that a man shouldn’t "rob God," are preaching much more than they can imagine. Although it may seem okay, anyone who denies Christ Jesus’ redemption from the curse of the law, no matter how innocent their teachings seem to be, jeopardize their own faith and the faith of others. As Paul wrote, "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Gal. 3:10).

Here is a review of the major points of this teaching:

1.) The Tithe Commandment was given to Levitical Priesthood, not to the Church (Heb. 7:5).

2.) There is no recording of the early Church ever receiving or collecting tithes in the New Testament.

3.) Emanating from another priesthood, Paul rebuffed the Tithe Commandment as a carnal commandment (Heb. 7:16). Also, because the priesthood had changed, Paul cited the necessity of changing the law for Christians (Heb. 7:12).

4.) In summing up his teaching on the Tithe Commandment, Paul wrote "For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment" for Christians (Heb. 7:18), even though he knew that no part of the law would ever fail (Luke 16:17).

5.) Paul considered circumcision, even though Abraham did so 430 years before the law was given at Sinai, as very much a part of the law (Rom. 2:25). Likewise, Paul also considered the Tithe Commandment as part of the Law of God (Heb. 7:5, 16, 18-19).

6.) The exegesis of Hebrews 7 and its surrounding chapters (Exegesis meaning what a passage really says, whereas eisegesis is what we would have it to say.), attests that the Tithe Commandment is the commandment of discussion. Simply, aside from Levi’s Tithe Commandment (Heb. 7:5), there are no other commandments mentioned in these chapters. In retrospect of this fact, there is a disannulling of the Levi’s Tithe Commandment for the Body of Christ, but not to Israel.

7.) Nowhere in the New Testament is there a reinstatement of the Tithe Commandment for the Church.

8.) Jesus tells us that the Scribes and the Pharisees in their tithing left the law undone, which tells us that Christ also considered the tithe as part of the Law of God (Matt. 23:23).

9.) Abraham tithed to Melchizedek on the behalf of Levi, not for himself (Heb. 7:9).

10.) Paul, in affirming the right of ministers to live off the Gospel, referenced both the Temple and the Altar, but not the tithe as a commandment to the Church.

11.) Paul tagged freewill giving (as every man purposes in his heart), as our liberality in 1st Corinthians 16:3, which can only mean freedom from mandatory percentages in our giving.

12.) Tithing was not a practice in the Church until the Council of Macon in 585 CE.

13.) Christians are delivered from the curse of the law through the cross of Christ (Gal. 3:13). In stark contrast, the Jews, even their whole nation was to be cursed if they refused obedience to the tithe (Mal. 3:8-9).

14.) No Church other than the Philippians (Philip. 4:15) communicated with Paul, or gave him money for his own personal needs (The collection of 1 Corinthians 16:1 was a collection for other Christians, not Paul.), which tells us that Paul, in no way, shape or form, collected 10% tithes from the churches.

15.) Tithing, like all principles of the law, is to be fulfilled in our agape love actions toward others, and not by the oldness of the law’s letter: "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Gal. 5:14).

Certainly, some Christians who tithe, not all, justify their relationship with Christ by the tithe. Indeed, some will go so far as to say that Christians who don't tithe need to fellowship elsewhere. So too, some claim that Christians who teach against the tithe are not even Christians. Of course, such judgments can lead to a transgression of the Doctrine of Christ.

In perspective, when a Christian judges another Christian by their lack of law works, that is really to claim self-justification by the law for themselves, instead of justification by faith in Jesus Christ alone. How subtle the Devil is! Certainly, Satan wants the old bottle to burst out the new wine of the New Covenant. In other words, Satan wants the loss of salvation for Christians who put themselves back under the Law of God after they have received salvation (Gal. 5:4).

In sum, strict percentages in tithing is "old covenant," not New Testament. Indeed, there is a disannulling of this commandment to the Church.6 The subsequent concern, then, to which this author is conspicuously clear, remains:

But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming1; And shall begin to smite his fellow servants2 and to eat and drink with the drunken3; The Lord of that servant shall come in a day4 when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of5, And shall cut him asunder7, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites6 : there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. (Matt. 24:48-51; 25:1-2)

(Special notes)

1 A Christian who has no personal hope of Christ’s coming.

2 Under the pretense of the Master’s authority, hinder the faith of other Christians in belaboring false doctrine.

3 A Christian who believes untruth as truth.

4 A reference to the Day of the Lord

5 The prior night of the Lord’s Day before it dawns

6  Left behind with the foolish of the parable

7 Greek: “dichotomeo;” meaning to cut into two parts.

Enduring

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. (Rev. 3:10-11)

As historical Philadelphia experienced recurring earthquakes, likewise, the spiritual life is also plagued with heaving tumults. No doubt, these can try a person’s faith. Now no trial is ever enjoyable upon its inception, and this the Pauline experience more than validates. For the record, Paul, giving his all to God, agonized through five severe scourgings, three austere beatings and one stoning (2 Cor. 11:24-25). Undeniably, if a believer strives to live right, there will be persecution. For the real Christian experience is not one free of turmoil or suffering: “All who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).

Of course, the good report is that the Lord can deliver us from each and every one (James 5:13). Paul wrote, “Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me” (2 Tim. 3:11). Pertinently, David himself also testified to the Lord’s ability to deliver (Psa. 34:17, 19).

When the Scripture states that the hour of test shall come upon “the whole world,” it means the entire world, or all the Earth. As noted earlier in this work, the open door of Philadelphia’s message can also be understood as Heaven’s door,5 or an escape door that no man can shut. Therefore, Philadelphia is to hold to the truth of God in her patient and enduring wait for Christ’s Quick Coming. And this, even in the trying and “perilous times” of the last days (2 Tim. 3:1-5), that “no man take thy crown.”

Speaking of enduring, historical Philadelphia escaped the affliction of the early Church and divinely endured, being the last all Christian 5 the open door of the wise city, continuing until AD 1390. Today, due to historical Philadelphia’s spirituality, it is now a Turkish city named “Alashehir”; interpreted, “city of God.” And, a city of God it was, to the Christian saints who experienced Christ’s bounteous blessings there for nearly fourteen centuries.

Christ’s Assurance

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Rev. 3:12-13)

“The name of my God and the name of the city of my God” will be written on Philadelphia’s foreheads. In fact, all who serve the Lord will have God’s name written on their foreheads (Rev. 22:2-4). Indeed, all may partake of Philadelphia’s attributes, which, upon embracement, leads to an earlier redemption for those who love His appearing (2 Tim. 4:8). And New Jerusalem written on the forehead reminds us of these things.

Christ’s new name will also assimilate God’s “all in all” name, showing the ceasing of administrations and the oneness of the Lord upon That Day (Zech. 14:9). By comparison of Scripture, we can grasp the meanings of God’s written names, but their every implication certainly remains veiled until then. By design, the written name of “my God,” and “the name of the city of my God,” shows us that Philadelphia is definitely an end-time segment of the Church, who not only awaits the Wedding Feast (Marriage), but also the writing of Christ’s “all in all” name on her forehead.

Mirroring this view, when “New Jerusalem” is imprinted on one’s forehead, not only does it denote intrinsically knowing peace6 and joy, it also symbolizes the victory of being one in marriage:

But be you glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. (Isa. 65:18) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Rev. 21:2)

In the heavenly Holy City there is no temple; the Lord God and the Lamb are the Temple of it (Rev. 21:22). Using this reasoning, to be a pillar “within God” shows the value that God places on those who partake of the truth within the Philadelphian message. Moreover, these in their Christian experience has exemplified what the Church is to be—the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15). Allegorically speaking, the application of being a pillar within the Temple of God is that the saved, being unmovable, will no longer go out with their affections. In our concept of God, widely it often escapes us that He too enjoys being loved; that we are made in His image. Thus, for those who overcome in this message, the House of the Lord awaits them:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. (Psa. 23:1-6)

1 Note: Good stewardship in this message stems from Eliakim (Eli-a-kim), who owned the Key of David.

2 Israel’s tithe was a yearly tithe, and consisted mostly of crops and livestock, rarely money.

3 Note: In the Law of God, three distinct tithes exist (Num. 18:21-24; Deut. 12:6-7, 17-18; 14:27-29), all of which estimate to be 13 percent.

4 Faith only works by agape love in action. This actually needs to be taught in the Body of Christ, not just touched on.

5 the open door of the wise in the Parable

6 The word “Salem,” means “peace.”

(We Answer Bible Prophecy Questions)

 

The Midnight Cry found in the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:6) symbolizes the beginning of a new day—namely, the Day of the Lord. Or the Day of Jesus Christ (Philip. 1:6, 10; 2 Thess. 2:3), being again, the Day of our Redemption (Eph. 4:30). Thus, the book name: Midnight's Cry (now revised as Get Ready),  which addresses the issues of Christianity, while mixing the understanding of end-time events with sound doctrine and biblical preparedness, and this according to detailed Bible prophecy. Simply, if the entire Church were to go up in an automatic at-once Rapture, why then the command of Jesus to pray always to escape all these things that are coming upon the world (Luke 21:34-36)?

 

Moreover, if the chapter division is removed between 1st Thessalonians 4 & 5, we don’t see an at-once pre-trib Rapture, but a return of Jesus Christ within the Day of the Lord, which in that passage, Paul describes as the birth pangs of That Day, or the Tribulation period mentioned by our Lord (Matt. 24:8). Additionally, we immediately behold the "times and seasons," and Christians are then told to watch (1 Thess. 5:6). Yet the world will face "sudden destruction," which in the Greek means "inescapable destruction," and this, as the Day progresses until the Second Coming dawn (2nd Pet. 1:19). Then, at that time God, who is Christ, returns with all of those who sleep in Jesus, and "all His saints" (1 Thess. 3:13, 4:14; Jude vs. 14).

 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2/192-7466094-8207627?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=get ready, Robert c harris Get Ready is Robert’s new book and is available at Amazon.com. Also, just give the title and name of the author at any book store (Retails for $12.50).

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 The seven messages to the churches more than fall in line with the Night-trib position of detailed Bible prophecy!

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