We continue our study of the letter from James. In part 1 we determined that the letter was written by James, the half brother of Jesus, around 50 AD when most of the Church was still of Jewish origin. They had been scattered throughout Israel and surrounding countries in the persecution that began after the stoning of Stephen in 36 AD, and James was sending what was probably the first letter ever written to the growing Christian community. This week we’ll look at chapter 2.
A fair amount of controversy has arisen of late over this letter, some even questioning whether it belongs in the Bible. Others say if it does, it was certainly not meant for the Church. In this series we’ll address these questions while undertaking a verse-by-verse study of the letter.
In Revelation 7:3-8 a group numbering 144,000 is introduced as the servants of our God. They are given the Seal of the Living God in their foreheads to protect them from the judgments coming on the earth against the land, the sea, and the trees.
Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself. (Ezekiel 33:7-9
“And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.” (Isaiah 66:24)
Pentecost comes in the early summer (mid May-mid June). It’s the only Levitical Feast Day between the 3 spring feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits) and the 3 in the fall (Rosh Hashanna, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles). The Hebrew name for this Day is Shavuot, which means weeks, so in Israel it’s often called the Feast of Weeks.
Scattered throughout the Scriptures are prophecies that contain references to both the first and second coming of the Lord in what appears to be a single thought. These dual reference prophecies could only be identified as such after the first coming had already taken place. That’s because they were written in such a way that it was impossible to tell beforehand that the Lord’s first coming would only partially fulfill them. Often the writers switch from the first coming to the second coming in the middle of a sentence without so much as a punctuation mark to alert the reader.
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way (2 Thes 2:7).
The number of emails I receive from people who are discouraged, frustrated, even despondent, is steadily increasing. They point to current conditions in the world and wonder how much worse things can get.
I’ve received several questions lately asking for clarification of the term “Outer Darkness” so here’s an updated and expanded version of a study I did on the subject several years ago. The outer darkness is mentioned a total of 4 times in the New Testament, three by name and one by implication, and always by Jesus. The term is not used any where else, Old Testament or New, by anyone else. Those who ask about the outer darkness want to know if it’s another name for the place of eternal punishment, or if it’s some place different. And they want to know who’s going there.
Over the past five years or so I have written several times about the middle eastern kings of Daniel 11 known as the kings of the north and the south. In these studies I’ve shown how these two kings will become prominent again in the end times as the Shiites (king of the north) and the Sunnis (king of the south) vie for supremacy in the Islamic movement. Before getting a look at what’s currently happening in this coming clash, let’s have a quick review of their origins.
Q. You mentioned in one study that all physical beings are bound by time and that therefore we, being physical, could only look backward and not see into the future. I’ve always been taught that Satan cannot know the future, yet I believe he is spirit, and therefore, according to you and I guess Einstein, he should also not be bound by time. Yet I do not believe Satan can see the future or he would never have allowed our Lord to be crucified. Can you give me any insights?
Q. I have a question about your study of Revelation 7. In the last 4 paragraphs you talk about the tribulation saints having a privileged existence in eternity, but yet you mention that they will not sit on a throne at the side of their beloved and will not share in God’s inheritance. Can you explain this further? This is really interesting.
Q. I have yet another question regarding OSAS. I own a bible that has commentary from a well known preacher. I was reading through the book of Luke. In particular, my question is, what is your interpretation of Luke 8:13. The commentary from this preacher on this particular verse, states basically that this verse refutes the doctrine of unconditional eternal security.
Q. I believe that I have been very blessed and have always been in churches that would be considered to be Evangelical, Bible Believing (literal word) and are in the church of Philadelphia. As I read the letters to the Churches in The Book of Revelation, am I correct in believing that in all seven churches there may be individuals who are of the church of Philadelphia (truly saved); and also there may be individuals within the church of Philadelphia who are not saved?
Q. Without mentioning any names, some famous people who claim to be Christians have said they believe Jesus died for their sins but do not believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Are these people saved?
Q. How soon do you think the period known as “Daniel’s 70th week” could possibly come (worst case scenario)? Is there any feasible way that it could occur as early as 2015? Doesn’t 2016 or 2017 sound more plausible?
Q. Which is worse: Sanctioning abortions on demand or legalizing same-sex marriage? I know both are sins, but why do most Christian leaders feel that legalizing same-sex marriage will bring the full wrath of God upon us all? Isn’t the killing of unborn babies a far “greater” and heinous sin than two people of the same-sex getting married? Thank you in advance for your answer and I look forward each day to your question/answer emails. God bless you and all that you do!!
Q. I read your teachings on homosexuality, and I understand OSAS, but what about people who refuse to repent, or Christians who support them? Gal. 5:21 says people who continue to do these things will not inherit the Kingdom. Rom. 1:32 talks about people taking pleasure in those who do these things, which seems to be saying if you approve of homosexual behavior, you are as guilty as if you were doing it. I am worried that loved ones who support gay marriage will be left behind.
Q. You have said, “I believe the Rapture is based on reaching a specific number of believers rather than a specific date.” You keep saying that as though it is mutually exclusive; the number comes in on a certain day, and on a certain day, the number is full.