We as the church of Jesus Christ are about to enter into the most exciting adventure since the day of Pentecost, but before this will happen there will be a great purging throughout the earth starting at the church and Christians. Also the world will go through a great tribulation, such as the world has never seen, again starting in the house of the Lord. (church) 1Peter 4:17. “For the time has come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
The purpose of this end time purging is to cleanse the Temple of the Lord, (church)
Malachi 3: 1 “Behold I will send my messenger, ( Elijah – Malachi 4: 5)and he shall prepare the way before Me: (Jesus) And the Lord (Jesus) whom you seek, shall suddenly (unexpected as a thief) come to His Temple (church), even the messenger of the covenant, (Jesus) whom you delight in: behold , He shall come, says the Lord of hosts. (God)
Why would the Lord do this to the church His bride? Jesus predicted that this would happen. Matthew 24: 21&22, “For than there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no , nor will ever be. And unless those days were shortened, (31/2 yrs.) no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake (the bride) those days will be shortened.” I was taught all my life that the Lord would rapture us as Christians, before this great tribulation would come upon the whole world, and the unbelievers would be left behind, for the devil to reek havoc with all those that took the mark of the beast. The purpose of this tribulation is for our good. To get us ready to reign and rule with Him in this coming millennium. John 3:3 “And everyone who has this hope(revealing of Jesus) purifies himself, just as He is pure.” I believe that there will be only two types of Christians reigning and ruling with Christ during these thousand years that are just around the corner, (as the saying goes). Number one those Christians that have been martyred for their faith and number two those that have overcome, and died to their self life and ego, making Jesus the Lord of their life.
I believe that many of us as believers will miss out on the high calling of God because of the very reason that to over come our self life seems to be unattainable, but those that are over comers, will be part of the first resurrection, the rest of the dead will not be resurrected till after the thousand year reign. Revelation 20: 4b – 6 “I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again till the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
What was Paul referring to in Philippians 3:10&11 when he expressed this great desire, “ That I might know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Was Paul not sure of his salvation? Yes he knew just like Mary knew, when she replied to Jesus statement “your brother will rise again” John 11:23. Mary said (V. 24) “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last days.” Yes Paul was sure of his salvation, just like every Christian that has applied the blood of Christ’s crucified life to their heart, and have their names written in the book of life will be saved. Any one not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Rev. 20:15. This all takes place after the thousand year reign of Christ with His bride. The point I am making is that Paul was not referring to the last resurrection, which is after the thousand year. But he is referring to the first resurrection that Rev. 20: 6 says “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection, over such the second death has no power, but they shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
If Paul was not sure that he would attain the first resurrection from the dead, we who claim to be Christ’s followers, should take heed to what Paul continues to say in verse 12 “Not that I have already attained, or am perfected, but I press on, that I might lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. (13) Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. (14) I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” This prize of the upward calling of God, I believe is to reign and rule with Christ in the thousand year reign. If Paul was striving to attain to this first resurrection, it behooves us to do the same, if our desire is to be part of the first resurrection.
When I say that this millennium is just around the corner, I am not implying that is going to be in the next several years. However I am also not suggesting that it could be a hundreds of years or more, as some would assume. At most it will be two or three decades. Read the article “ Signs of Christ’s return.” for greater explanation. I am not setting any dates, but I do believe that Christ has given us signs in scripture, so that we who are not of the night but of the day will be ready and not caught unawares. Jesus says to the Pharisees in Matthew 16: 2&3 “He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, you say, it will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather to day: for the sky is threatening. You hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky; but you cannot discern the signs of the times.”
God expects us to know where we are in the history of His church. He has not left us in the dark, especially in these days where the prophets are hearing from God, as the scripture says in Joel 3:28 “And” it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. (some will receive) Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, and young men shall see visions.” Also Amos 3:7 “Surly the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. As I said God has not left us ignorant about what He is about to do. There are those that claim the events of revelation were mostly fulfilled in the first three hundred years of the church age. Yes the letters to the seven churches, were meant for those churches existing at that time, however they are as relevant to the churches of today as they were to the early churches. When we come to the fourth chapter of Rev. the voice that John first heard said; “Come up here and I will show you things that most take place after this.” What John saw in heaven was all future to the church and to all believers. Everything that was revealed to John in chp. 4 in heaven was in the future for John, as well as the church. It is now almost 2000 years since John received this revelation, so some of the events after Rev. 4 might have already been fulfilled. However
we can be certain that the great tribulation has not arrived at its fullest, because Jesus Christ has to reveal himself to the Bride, which will happen on the feast of tabernacles.
“but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” 1John 3: 2 b.
It is this group of Christians that are the over comers that will reign and rule with Christ. This is what Paul was striving for that he by any means would attain the first resurrection.
I realize that this goes against the teaching of most established churches, and I am willing to listen to any other explanation, as to what else Paul could have been referring to when he made this statement.
May God reveal himself to you as you contemplate this issue.
Triune Last Days Ministries