Month: July 2017

The Most Important Thing for You!

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #28 ~

Our primary subject in this blog is the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. But you need to know the importance of His 1st coming before you can see the significance of His 2nd coming. You’re not going to be excited about Christ coming again if you don’t know why He came the first time, and if you don’t know Him as your personal Lord and Savior.

In this world there are a multitude of problems, but by far, the biggest problem is sin, and it’s in the heart and life of every single person. And what is this sin? Sin is not loving God – it’s worshiping the creation instead of the Creator, glorifying man instead of glorifying God. Sin is rebelling against God, breaking God’s laws, and disobeying His commands. It’s ignoring Him and just doing your own thing. Jesus gave a list of specific sins“evil thoughts, fornication, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.” Mark 7:21-22. And your evil thoughts, words and deeds are a lot more than you realize – it’s not just a couple of crimes you’ve committed against God, but millions of them.

And this sin is really bad. It’s a spiritual cancer that kills, that will totally ruin your life. It results in sorrow, fear, worry, loneliness, conflict, emptiness, depression, hopelessness, physical sickness and death, and much more than that, in spiritual death and eternal death. It means you’re completely cut off from God. “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. “Your sins have made a separation between you and your God.” Isaiah 59:2

Because you’ve sinned, then you’re guilty before God. And because you’re guilty, then you must be punished by God. And this punishment is altogether just. “These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10. “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire.” Matthew 25:41. You’re spiritually dead, spiritually lost, and spiritually helpless. This sin and death is your worst problem, a most desperate situation, but what can you do about it?

Here’s the answer: about 2000 years ago God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth; and when He was on earth, He did everything right and nothing wrong. Then, as a perfect sacrifice, He died on the cross for sinners, taking their sins upon Himself. Christ became a substitute, being punished by His Father for people’s sins, thereby paying the penalty they deserved. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. “God made Christ who knew no sin to be sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

What must you do to be saved? You must see that only Jesus Christ can save you. You must see that you’re a sinner, and deserve to be punished for your sins. You must repent of your sins, being sorry that you’ve sinned against God, and you must believe that Christ died for you, and then rose again, and that God was fully satisfied by what Christ did for you. Turn from your sin and trust in Christ, and then you’ll be born again, and become a child of God. You’ll be forgiven of all your sins, and be given everlasting life, an eternal and personal relationship with God Himself. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16. “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no man may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Do you know what will happen if you don’t turn to Christ? One of two things – either you’ll physically die and go to hell, or you’ll be here when Christ comes back to earth. And if you are here and aren’t right with God, then Christ will be your Judge, and it will be “hell” on earth – and then you’ll be in hell forever. You do not want that. I strongly exhort you – tell God you’re sorry that you’ve sinned against Him, and believe that “Christ died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God.” 1 Peter 3:18. “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

Now I’ve talked about the bad news, the sin and death and hell. But I want you to remember the good news of Jesus Christ, the greatest demonstration of love this world has ever seen, that God is offering you a complete pardon of all your sins. More than you know, God wants you to get saved, and wants you to know Him and His love. He wants you to live a life that has meaning, and is pleasing and glorifying to Him. God wants to be your Father, and wants you to be with Him forever. “I came that you might have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10. “If anyone is thirsty, let Him come to Me and drink.” John 7:37.

If you believe the truth about Jesus Christ at His 1st coming, then you will be looking forward to seeing Him come back as your King at His 2nd coming!

P.S. Please check out my newest article about the character of God, which I just published today: I Still Say My ABC’s, The ABC’s of God’s Character.

How Do We Know We are Living in the End Times?

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #27 ~

Image result for Israel people

Everything I’ve talked about so far isn’t that relevant if we can’t clearly and convincingly answer this one question: “How do we know we’re living in the end times?” God’s Word tells us that the Jews would return to Israel, and that’s exactly what has taken place in the past 130 years. The fact that the Jews are back in their own land is the main reason we know we’re in the end times, that time period leading up to the 2nd coming of Christ, the rapture of the church and the redemption of the Jews. Let me explain more fully:

From 750BC-490 BC, many Old Testament prophets predicted that the Jews would be gathered back to their land. Isaiah 11:11 – “In that day the Lord will reach out His hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of His people…” (Note this is the second time – the first gathering took place between 530BC-440BC). Jeremiah 32:37-38 – “I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in My furious anger and great wrath. I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be My people and I will be their God.” Zechariah 8:7-8 – “I will save My people from the countries of the east and the west and bring them back to Jerusalem, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.” Ezekiel 36:26 – “I will gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land… I will give you a new heart and spirit.” Hosea 1:11, Amos 9:14-15, Micah 4:6-7 and Zephaniah 3:14-20 also speak of this great gathering.

It was around 1880 that all these predictions started coming true, for that was the beginning of this gathering of Jews back to Israel. First there were thousands, then tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then millions, and finally 6.5 million strong in May 2017 (Jewish Virtual Library). This is an amazing miracle of God! For a people group to be gone from their land for so long, and then to return with their same identity, same language, same culture, and same religion is absolutely phenomenal. Nothing like this has ever happened before! God’s promise about the Jews has been coming true, just like He said, and no one can deny it. Indeed, we are seeing a miraculous and glorious work of God!

But you say, “This is about the Jews, but what about the church?” Let me make the connection. Matthew 24:9-26, Mark 13:9-23, Luke 21:12-24, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10 and Revelation 7:1-17 are all prophecy passages, and in each of them there’s a section about the Jews adjacent to a section about the church. By examining these passages, it’s obvious that God’s work with the Jews in the end times is coinciding with and in conjunction with His work with the church. Therefore, we know that God will not do His prophetic work with the Jews apart from His prophetic work with the church. And since the Jews are back in their land, then we know this age is coming to an end – it won’t be long before Christ returns to carry out this work, fulfilling God’s promises for the church and the Jews.

Do you see this? Over 2500 years ago, God predicted that the Jews would come back to their land. The fact that God has gathered them back to Israel is a clear and obvious sign that we are now living in the end times. (Daniel 12:4 – “Seal up the book until the end time.” The book has now been unsealed, for the Jews are back in their land). “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land… and one King will be king for all them… and they will be my people and I will be their God.” Ezekiel 37:21-22 (Emphasis mine). The first part of this verse has come true for the Jews, and now the last part about God’s three promises for them, will also come true. They will be saved from their sins, will have Jesus as their King, and will then be blessed in their land.

But now that we’re in the end times, then all the other prophecies with regards to Christ’s 2nd coming will soon be taking place – there will be birth pains, a peace treaty, a new Jewish temple, the Antichrist, the mark of the beast, the great persecution, the rapture of the church, the Day of the Lord, the salvation of the Jews, and then Christ will begin His reign over the earth. Hallelujah!!!

It was only 150 years ago that the Jews weren’t in their land, but now they are. The prophetic alarm clock is now ringing, and God is telling us to wake up, for Christ’s coming is right around the corner. Be encouraged, be excited, learn what you need to learn, do what you need to do, and look forward to seeing your Lord, Savior and King!

P.S.  I have just published a new article: Replacement Theology: It’s Not True – Part 4.  This is a very helpful supplement to today’s post.  Please check it out and especially note point #3 which talks about the gathering of the Jews to Israel.

 

 

Clear New Testament Confirmation of God’s Plans for the Jews

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #26 ~

Does God say anything in the New Testament about the future of the Jews? Of course He does, and that’s because He wants us to know for certain that His promises to the Jews are still true. Here are some key verses:

Luke 24:45 – “All things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Jesus needed to remind His disciples, and us, that all the things written in the Old Testament about Him would come true, which would include reigning as King over the world, and carrying out His promises to the Jews.

Romans 11:25-26 – “A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved.” These are the most crystal clear verses in the entire New Testament about the salvation of the Jews in the end times. It’s going to happen, and it’s after this church age is over, after the salvation of a great number of Gentiles.

Hebrews 11:10,13,16“He (Abraham) was looking for the city which has foundations… All these died in faith without receiving the promises.” These verses once again prove that God’s promise to the Jews about their land will be fulfilled, and this will take place after the end of this church age.

Luke 1:54-55“He (God) has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and His descendants forever.” All the Jews knew about God’s promise to Abraham, and now through Mary, God lets us know that He’s not going back on His word – He will most definitely keep His promise!

Acts 3:20-21“that He (God) may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets.” Here’s another verse validating the truth of God’s Old Testament promises to the Jews, that they would be blessed with land, and with a Kingdom that would be ruled by Christ Himself.

Revelation 11:15“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” God made this promise to David that one of His descendants would be King over Israel, and over the entire world, and it will finally be realized at the 7th trumpet, at the very end of Daniel’s 70th week.

Luke 1:31-33“You will conceive and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High… He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” This is another confirmation of God’s promise about His Son being the eternal King over this earth. And it was Mary’s first born son Jesus who would be the Son of God, in fulfillment of His promise to His people.

These verses were placed in the New Testament because God wants Christians living during this church age to know and be convinced of His future plans for the Jews. All these verses are clear confirmation that God has not nullified His plans for the Jews, but will faithfully carry them out. And there is nothing in the New Testament that negates God’s promises to the Jews. Those who say there’s no future for national, ethnic Israel are in error, for God never says that the church replaces Israel when it comes to the Old Testament promises. And in fact, here are some other New Testament verses that specifically relate to this subject of the Jews and their future: Matthew 23:37-39. Matthew 24:15-27. Mark 13:14-23. Luke 21:20-24. Luke 22:29-30. Luke 24:25. Acts 1:6-11. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-9. Revelation 7:1-8. Revelation 11:1-13. Revelation 12:5-17. As we look at the world around us, and as we closely examine the above passages, it’s obvious that God’s end time work with the Jews will soon be moving full speed ahead.

At this time Christians should focus on the church. But we are to also have our eyes open to what God is doing around us, and to know that the future of the church relates directly to the future of the Jews. God will not do His prophetic work with the Jews apart from His prophetic work with the church. Old Testament believers had promises for their land, their King, and their salvation, but they wouldn’t see them realized apart from the New Testament saints. Hebrews 11:39-40 says it well, “All these (Old Testament believers), having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us (New Testament believers), so that apart from us (New Testament believers) they (Old Testament believers) would not be made perfect.”

Let me conclude by giving you the big picture perspective: Christ’s 1st coming was transitioning God’s work from the Jews to the church, and Christ’s 2nd coming will be transitioning God’s work from the church to both Old Testament believers and New Testament saints. That takes us into the next age, the millennial kingdom age.

P.S.  I’ve just published a short article about the importance of the Word of God with a long list of some of my favorite verses:  The Instructive, Commanding, Comforting and Encouraging Word of God!!!

Why the Jews Are Important for You and the Church

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #25 ~

Why? Why is this the 7th week in a row that I’m doing a blog post related to the Jews? Because all that you read in the Bible about the Jews is God’s Word and is true. Because the Bible talks about their past but it also talks about their future. Because hundreds of promises for the Jews are still unfulfilled – they haven’t been cancelled, only suspended. Because you can’t understand God’s future plans for the church if you can’t understand God’s future plans for the Jews. Because error is being taught about the Jews that needs to be corrected. Why? Because it relates to the purposes of God, the work of God, and the glory of God. The truth about the Jews is very important!!

Many Christians haven’t learned everything they need to know about the Jews, and are therefore confused, in error, or uncertain of God’s overall purposes for the world. Because they don’t understand God’s past, present and future working with the Jews, then their knowledge of His plans for the Jews and the church is incomplete and incorrect.

Since we live in the church age, then it’s necessary that we focus on the church, but it’s also important, especially at this time in history, to back up and see the big picture. We need to go back to the past, and then come back to the future, so that we can see where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. A big picture Biblical perspective of God’s work with the Jews is essential for the spiritual growth and health of the church.

Let me share my experience. About five years ago I was teaching the book of Revelation at our Wednesday Bible study. We came to Revelation 20 which is about the kingdom age, but there weren’t many details given, and so I felt stuck. I couldn’t just zoom past 1000 years of our lives, a glorious time when we’ll be reigning with Christ on earth. I had to figure out what this millennial kingdom age was all about. Then I realized God didn’t say anything about it in Revelation 20 because all He needed to say had already been said in the Old Testament, and He expected me to read what He had already written. Why should He repeat Himself? I knew I needed to go back to the Old Testament and learn some things about the Jews that I should’ve learned a long time ago.

For the next year our Bible study examined the Old Testament to see what it said about the Jews’ future (and the church’s future). I have to tell you, that was one of the most enlightening and encouraging studies I’ve ever done – WOW! It was revolutionary – it changed my view of my life, my view of the church, my view of prophecy, and my view of the future! I have to admit, the Bible made a lot more sense. Like never before God gave me a glimpse of the plans He had for the Jews and for the church. But more than that, my enlarged view of God and of Christ, of their purposes and character, and of their greatness and glory, transformed my heart like never before. I was really humbled.

My desire is to pass on to you what I’ve learned, to keep sharing with you what I know; but I want to encourage you to read the Old Testament yourself. By God’s grace, might you begin to more clearly see God’s promises and plans for the Jews, and how that fits in with your future, the future of the church, and the future of our world.

And since the Jews are back in their land, then we know that God is moving full steam ahead in carrying out His prophetic plans. Now is the time to understand how His end time work with the Jews fits in with His end time work with the church. In this last part of this church age it’s all coming together for God’s elect, and you need to see this, and know that Christ is coming soon for the church, and for the Jews.

Well, I have 2-3 more blog posts about the Jews and then I’ll again be focusing on the end of this age. I have a lot more I want to tell you. We need to learn from Daniel, Luke 21,1-2 Thessalonians and Revelation. We need to learn about all the things the Bible says will be taking place before Christ’s coming. We need to learn about Israel, realigning nations, the United State’s decline, the Antichrist, great tribulation, the gospel, hope, suffering, perseverance, the rapture, the Day of the Lord, the salvation of the Jews, and the millennial kingdom. And we also need to learn how to live in these days leading up to Christ’s return. Most importantly we need to learn more about Jesus Christ.

P.S.  I have just posted another important article which I believe will be very helpful to deepen your understanding of this subject:  Replacement Theology: It’s Not True – Part 3.

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