Sunday, November 27, 2016

Eagerly Awaiting the Great Snatch

Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch. Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, "How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me. "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. "My Father, who has given [them] to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch [them] out of My Father's hand. "I and [My] Father are one."          John 10:22-30 NKJV

 There is an old Jewish saying that I have read many times over the years which says simply that “coincidence isn’t kosher”.  I don’t recall when I first read that, but it is something that I have always remembered when I study the Word because of my personal belief that God intended every word, and even the very punctuation to be placed exactly where we find it.  I believe this is exactly what Jesus was referring to when He made the following statement to the disciples in what we know as the Sermon on the Mount.

“For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.  Matthew 5:18  NKJV

It is because of this that I have become very sensitive to the structure of God’s Word as well as the content, and one of the things I habitually do is look to see where and when certain words are repeated in scripture and how they are used in order to better understand the meaning of what I am reading.  I recall as a parent using certain words, and often repeating them at times, when I wanted to make a point to my children in the hope that they would remember whatever it was that I was trying to convey.  I believe God has done the same thing in His Word to us, which is why I always take a closer look when I find certain words which are repeated.

Hanukkah, or the Feast of Dedication, is considered to be one of the minor holidays in Israel, and is not one of the seven major feasts instituted by God in the Old Testament.  Yet we do find it mentioned in the New Testament in this passage from John, and when we read these verses we find that it plays a rather important part in the life of our Lord.  I have always found it curious that throughout His early ministry, Jesus seemed to go out of His way to avoid stating specifically that He was the Messiah, the Son of God.  It almost seemed as if He was waiting for a particular, appointed time to do it, and on this particular day, the Feast of Dedication, we find that Jesus was asked this very question as He walked in the temple.

Since Jesus answered this question the way He did, this was obviously the day He was waiting for. Yet it is not the fact that Jesus answered the question plainly and unequivocally that caught my attention, but rather His use of a particular word in His answer which I find not only interesting, but rather intriguing considering we know He chose His words carefully and deliberately.  You see, twice in this passage Jesus uses the word “snatch” when referring to His “sheep”.  Now as I have said, repeating a word always gets my attention so I first of all wanted to look closer at the original Greek, and also look to see if it is used elsewhere in the Word and the context in which it is used.

When I did this, no surprise, I again was reminded why studying the Word is so much fun to me.  The word for “snatch” that Jesus uses here is harpazo, meaning to seize, carry off by force, to claim for oneself eagerly, to snatch out or away.  I’m also sure most of you recognize this as the very same word used by Paul in Thessalonians to refer to the rapture of the Church.  The word rapture simply comes from the Latin translation of harpazo, and this is the event that we as believers are all looking forward to with great anticipation.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.                                  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17  NKJV

Obviously my first thought was that this is not a coincidence, but rather an intentional use of the same word.  Unfortunately though, the next step is to try and come up with an explanation as to why?  This is where most of us could probably come up with our own, and probably very different explanations.  Many have speculated in the past, however, that Hanukkah would be a perfect time for the rapture of the Church for many different reasons.  Of course, although I might agree, I also firmly believe that the rapture could occur on any given day and is not restricted to any of the Jewish holidays.

Was Jesus trying to tell His believers when He would return for His bride?  I certainly couldn’t say that was the case, yet looking at the state of the world in which we live and examining events in light of what the Word of God has revealed to us should give all of us who believe pause for thought.  Have you ever considered that Jesus is eagerly awaiting the Father's permission to snatch His bride from this earth?  It seems more than obvious to many that we are rapidly approaching the time of our deliverance from this earth, and with Hanukkah just a month away, it would not surprise me in the least if Jesus were to call us home then, coincidently while we celebrate His birth at Christmas.

As we celebrated Thanksgiving this past week, and as most eagerly wait for Christmas to arrive, may we all remember to give thanks to God for His gift of salvation to us through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.  If you have never made the decision to accept that free gift I encourage you to do so today.  Simply ask God to forgive you of your sin based on your belief that Jesus died to pay the price for your sin, and turn over control of your life to Him.  You can do that right now by praying a prayer just like this one;

"Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for saving me. Amen."

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  NKJV

Keep watching.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Chosen Generation

“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. “So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."  Matthew 24:32-35  NKJV

Have you ever experienced along with me the embarrassment as a child of being the last one picked to be on a team?  Makes you feel special doesn’t it? I think at a very early age we begin to realize the good feeling that accompanies being singled out or chosen above others for anything at all.  At least for me, I can definitely remember the point in time where my physical abilities finally emerged and I began to be picked earlier rather than later.  If you are reading these words today, however, I want to assure you that you are part of a very special generation, chosen by God Himself to witness the completion of His plan for this world.

In this passage from the book of Matthew, Jesus is responding to a question by His disciples about the end of the age, and when they could expect to see it.  Obviously they wanted to see it themselves, and were excited at the prospect of witnessing the coming of our Lord’s kingdom.  Jesus, however, explains that it would be the generation which sees the signs He has been speaking of which would see His coming at the end of the age.  What the disciples did not realize is that the nation of Israel was to be removed from their land a second time and scattered among the nations until the final regathering spoken of by the prophets of the Old Testament.

"It shall come to pass in that day That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea. He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.Isaiah 11:11-12  NKJV

"I will bring back the captives of My people Israel;They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them,” Says the LORD your God."  Amos 9:14-15  NKJV

In May of 1948 the nation of Israel was reestablished in their homeland in a stunning fulfillment of the scriptures written thousands of years ago.  When it did, it began a countdown to the end of this age which Jesus Himself declared would only last for one generation.  While some have argued that Jesus either meant the generation He was speaking to, or the nation of Israel as a whole, neither of those interpretations linguistically makes sense, especially in light of the prophecies of Israel’s scattering and regathering as a nation.  The most logical and reasonable interpretation is that from the point that Israel was regathered in 1948, the generation which began and will last for seventy years will see these things come to pass.

“The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”  Psalm 90:10  NKJV

When I first came to this conclusion, I found it hard to explain the excitement I felt knowing that I would see these things come to pass in my lifetime.  Events which occur in the course of world history, which unbelievers might easily pass off as naturally occurring, take on a whole new meaning given the perspective of knowing where we are on God’s timeline.  When I am asked the question, as I often am, as to why I choose to teach prophecy and the end of the age I typically will use two passages to explain my motivation for studying eschatology.  The first is something Mordecai said to Esther when she hesitated to approach the King.

“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  Esther 4:14  NKJV

Have you ever wondered why you were born at this particular time in history?  Do you believe it was just random chance or is it possible God ordained you to be part of this generation?  Esther was asked that question and it would seem circumstances answered it for her as she believed and made the decision to approach the king with her requests.  As we see the day approaching, have you considered the possibility God put you here right now to tell others about what we are seeing occur all around us and explain what it all means?  I certainly do, which leads me to share the second passage that motivates my teaching.

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.”             Matthew 24:45-46  NKJV

The phrase “due season” in the Greek is just one word, "kairos", and is defined this way; “a fixed and definite time, the time when things are brought to crisis, the decisive epoch waited for.”  Would you agree with me that the generation which Jesus said would see the end of the age might somehow qualify as the “epoch” we have been waiting for?  As wise servants I believe we are called to share the good news of the salvation offered to mankind especially right now as we see the day approaching.  Events in this world have been described by many as a crisis the likes of which we have never seen.  As part of this chosen generation, what better time to tell others of God’s salvation than right now?

If you have watched this world and the seemingly unexplainable events that are happening and wondered what it all means, Jesus made it very clear that those who watched would recognize the signs of His imminent return.  If you have never made the decision to accept Jesus Christ into your heart and accept the free gift of eternal life He has offered you, I urge you to do so right now. You can do that by praying this prayer and accepting the gift of eternal life God has offered you by the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.

Father, I know I am a sinner in need of salvation. I believe you sent your Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sin, and I ask you now to forgive me of my sins. I want to receive your gift of salvation so please come into my heart and help me to live and follow you as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Keep watching.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Signs of the Times, or Time of the Signs?

Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to 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 today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.     Matthew 16:1-3  NKJV

I think most of us who believe in the imminent rapture of the Church would agree that we are living in what could accurately be called the times of the signs.  A quote I am sure that most of you have heard concerning the times we are living in goes something like this; “when you see the Christmas decorations going up, you know that Thanksgiving is near”.  So too, we as the Church are seeing the preparations for the events which we are told will occur during the seven year period called the tribulation which follows the removal of the Church to be with our Father in heaven.

In the passage from the book of Matthew, the religious leaders were asking for a sign from Jesus.  I have always found this rather funny considering Jesus had just fed the four thousand with seven loaves and fishes.  My question has always been, just what would it take to convince them?  I believe it is obvious that there was nothing Jesus could have done, and Jesus Himself believed it as well because He told them that the only other sign they would receive was His resurrection.  Just as in Jesus’ day, we find today that there are many who still are not convinced we are not living in the end times in spite of what we see happening all around us.

While some might wonder about where the results of our presidential election place us in the scheme of end times events, I think it very telling that the position and support our incoming President has towards the nation of Israel seems to be so overwhelmingly positive.  My immediate thought after seeing the election results was just what moves might the nation of Israel make now that they have such positive support from our incoming administration?  It did not take long to get an answer as this past week the reestablished Sanhedrin asked both President elect Trump and Russian President Putin to facilitate the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.  When I first read that my immediate reaction was to remember the question from the passage above and wonder, “How’s this for a sign?” 

“And beside the border of Judah, from the east side to the west side, shall be the allotment which you shall set apart, 25,000 cubits in width, and in length like one of the portions, from the east side to the west side; and the sanctuary shall be in the middle of it. “The allotment that you shall set apart to the LORD shall be 25,000 cubits in length and 10,000 in width. “The holy allotment shall be for these, namely for the priests, toward the north 25,000 cubits in length, toward the west 10,000 in width, toward the east 10,000 in width, and toward the south 25,000 in length; and the sanctuary of the LORD shall be in its midst.             Ezekiel 48:8-10  NASB

Could it be that with the support of these two leaders the Temple could actually be rebuilt as predicted in the scriptures?  I believe it is entirely possible, especially if they can come up with a solution which would somehow mollify the Muslim community with regards to the Temple Mount.  The generally accepted school of thought is that this temple will be built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, sharing space with the existing Muslim shrines.  It will be defiled by the antichrist after three and one half years, and eventually be destroyed at the end of the Great Tribulation when the Temple Mount is split in two by a great earthquake.

And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.                   Zechariah 14:4  NKJV

This destruction will naturally require a fourth temple to be built, which is the one we find described by Ezekiel in chapters 40-48 which scholars refer to as the “Millennial Temple”.  It is a massive structure much larger than the original temple, and according to the description given in the passage above, is located not in Jerusalem but north of the city “beside the border of Judah”.  By studying scripture and comparing the geographical descriptions of the different areas revealed in this passage, many believe that the location of the temple will be where the ancient city of Shiloh was located.  There is historical precedent for this location because this is where the Tabernacle stood for close to 400 years before the Israelites made Jerusalem their capitol.

Of course, leave it to me to throw a wrench into the accepted school of thought.  As I studied the subject of the temple, and began to search the scripture for passages relating to temples past and present, I noticed a few things that made me wonder if there was something we might be missing if we follow the accepted school of thought concerning four temples.  First of all, the Bible only speaks of three temples, not four.  Nowhere are we told of a third temple being built on the Temple Mount, rather it has simply been assumed that one will be.  The only temples revealed in scripture are Solomon’s temple, Zerubbabel’s or Herod’s temple, and the Millennial temple. 

Now you might think that in itself may not be enough to cause those who advocate for four temples to rethink their position, and I would agree.  So let’s look at something else that might be cause to reconsider.  Most understand that the antichrist will defile the temple after three and a half years have elapsed after the peace agreement, an event referred to as the “abomination of desolation”.

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”          Daniel 9:27  NKJV

We also know that this has happened once before in 167 BC by Antiochus IV Epiphanes.  This resulted in a revolt by the Jews and eventually to a cleansing and rededication of the temple which is celebrated to this day by the Jewish holiday Hanukkah.  So what is my point?  There is a saying by biblical scholars which states; “pattern is prologue”.  The study of typology in the scripture has shown that much of what has happened throughout the Bible was setting a pattern that would be repeated at a later date.  My question is this; if the antichrist defiling the temple is a repeat of the first “abomination of desolation”, wouldn’t it be logical to assume that the future temple will be cleansed and rededicated rather than destroyed?

I want you to look closely at a verse from this same chapter from Daniel, which contains a phrase that I believe may be overlooked by many.

“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.                    Daniel 9:24  NASB

This verse relates what has come to be known as the prophecy of Daniel’s seventy weeks.  It reveals God’s plan for the nation of Israel from that time until the end when He will return to earth.  It also lists six things which will be accomplished at the end of those seventy weeks.  Did you catch that last phrase?  “and to anoint the most holy  place”.  This phrase in the Hebrew is “mashach qodesh qodesh” , which is translated “to Anoint; to smear, anoint, spread a liquid”.   Anoint what?   Scholars and commentators agree that the most holy (place) is the temple.  If this is the case, doesn’t it seem logical to assume that it is not destroyed, but rather consecrated for millennial worship?   Are we being told here that there are just three temples, not four?  This phrase was used in the book of Exodus as well and was also referring to anointing the Tabernacle.

And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint (mashach) the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy. Exodus 40:9  KJV

Again, this might not be enough for some to change their belief in how many temples there will be, but I want to suggest that this scenario is a very believable one in light of the current situation that exists between the Muslims and the Jewish people.  It seems much more believable that the Islamic world would allow a temple to be built in Shiloh rather than on the Temple Mount.  With the authority of the prophecy of Ezekiel, it seems reasonable that the Jewish people would agree as well.  As I have studied this subject, I have found that there are others who have asked this same question and agree that this scenario is a distinct possibility. 

Whatever God’s plans for the temple mount are, it appears that we will know very, very soon just what they are.  Of course, let’s not forget that as believers in Jesus Christ and having accepted His sacrifice for our sins, if the Temple is rebuilt during the first half of the seven year tribulation as many believe, we will watch these events from the comfort of our heavenly home.

Keep watching.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Ship of Fools

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”       2 Timothy 3:1-5  NKJV

Like many others, I made the decision long ago to adopt a healthy lifestyle in order to not only live as long as possible, but also because it was something I felt I should do as this body is a gift from God.  If you think about it, the Church, the body of Christ, could be seen in the same light and its health should be a concern of all true believers.  Paul, as well as Peter and John, shared that same concern and made it known in their letters to the churches.  Paul’s last words were to Timothy, a young man who had come to know the Lord through Paul’s teaching in Lystra.  He later was to accompany Paul on his second missionary journey and became a disciple and friend for the remainder of Paul’s life.  Paul sent him to Ephesus to pastor the church there, and his second letter to Timothy is believed to be the last letter of his life before he was executed in Rome.

It should come as no surprise that the subject of Paul’s letter to Timothy shows the very same concerns of those of Peter and John, namely the health of the Church that they had founded and nurtured in the first century.  All of these men were concerned with the appearing of false teachers and prophets who would cultivate apostasy within the Church and change the message of the Gospel that Jesus had brought to an unbelieving world by His death and resurrection.  Protecting the purity of the Gospel message is the common concern of all of these great men of the faith, and as such should be a warning to us all that our responsibility as believers is to guard that same gospel just as they did.

Just as we accept responsibility for the health of our own bodies, anyone who has responded to the message of the Gospel and made the decision to accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as remission for their sins becomes a member of the body of Christ.  The result of that decision is not only membership in the body, but along with it the responsibility to protect the message of the Gospel at all cost in order to preserve the health of the Church.  Just what is the cost of defending the faith?  In his letter, Paul  explains to Timothy just what to expect when you make that choice.

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”                         2 Timothy 3:12-17  NKJV

While warning Timothy to expect persecution Paul also tells him that his best defense against that persecution is the knowledge of the Scriptures, and continual study of the Word.  Doing that will make us “complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  Now I have to confess there have been many times in my life that I have doubted my ability to be a good defender of the faith, and have discussed with God just what I think my shortcomings might be.  His response to me was to look at Timothy through the eyes of Paul, and specifically notice what Timothy’s shortcomings were by the warnings Paul chose to direct to him.

Timothy was, apparently; timid (2 Tim. 1:7), ashamed (2 Tim. 1:8), afraid (2 Tim. 1:14), weak (2 Tim. 2:1), undedicated (2 Tim. 2:5), insecure (2 Tim. 2:12), distracted (2 Tim. 2:15), selfish (2 Tim. 2:22), and impatient (2 Tim. 2:24) just to name a few.  Oh, and let's not forget that Timothy was only in his early twenties.(1 Tim. 4:12)  As I see it, if Paul took the time to mention these specific things to Timothy, there must have been reason for him to do so.  Unfortunately for me, I can see where many of these admonitions could, and can, apply to me as well.

I believe as followers of Christ and members of the Church, we all are responsible not only to defend the Gospel we were given but to also look closely at ourselves and acknowledge that we all have shortcomings that need to be addressed. While it would be easy for us to decide in our own minds that we might not be “suited” to be a defender, I believe this passage, and both of the letters to Timothy tell us different.  Paul does a wonderful job of removing all of our excuses, and making it perfectly clear that the responsibility to defend the faith falls upon us all.

“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”  2 Timothy 4:1-5  NKJV

The message from Paul, Peter, and John as they approached the end of their lives was essentially the same.  They worried about the health of the Church that was founded on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for which they had personally labored the past sixty years.  Their message, and challenge to us is to continue that fight and to not allow those who would enter the Church with the intent to weaken it by presenting a false gospel not based on the Word of God to succeed.  It is these people that we are warned to not only watch out for, but to oppose with the strength of the Gospel of Christ which is found in His Holy Scriptures.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  1 Corinthians 1:18  NKJV

In the Bible, a fool is defined as someone who “despises” wisdom.  If you look up the word despise in the dictionary you will find that it says it means to “regard with contempt”.  As I thought about that this week, it occurred to me that in order to regard something with contempt, I would first have to at least consider its merits in order to make the decision to accept or reject.  If this is true, then someone who chooses to despise, or regard with contempt the gospel of Christ, would first have to listen and consider before making that decision.  In other words, a fool is someone who hears the truth of the gospel and then chooses to reject it.

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.”    Proverbs 12:15  NKJV

Some might disagree, but if you were to ask me what the largest, most obvious sign that we have arrived at the end of the Church age would be, it is the growing popularity of the emergent/seeker friendly church which fulfills the prophecy of the apostasy which occurs just before the rapture of the true Church.  This movement, which has abandoned the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, instead replaced it with a form of worship which ignores any talk of sin and the need to be born again.   Rather, the emphasis is on worship, doing good deeds, and becoming a “follower” of Jesus.

“A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart.”    Proverbs 18:2  NKJV

As I considered the direction the church today seems to be heading, I was reminded of something the apostle Paul had to say about the end of this age. In his letter to the Romans, Paul speaks of the rapture of the Church in a rather interesting way.  He tells his readers that Israel will suffer from a temporary partial blindness until the full number of Gentile believers has “come in”.

“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”    Romans 11:25  NKJV

The interesting thing about this statement is that it is a nautical term used to describe the full number of crew and passengers aboard a ship.  When the full number comes in, the ship then sails to its destination.  As I thought about the true Church filling up, and the apostate church also filling, I couldn’t help but remember the old saying; ship of fools. Wikipedia defines it this way; “The ship of fools is an allegory, originating from Plato that has long been a fixture in Western literature and art. The allegory depicts a vessel without a pilot, populated by human inhabitants who are deranged, frivolous, or oblivious, and seemingly ignorant of their course.”

“The great God who formed everything gives the fool his hire and the transgressor his wages.”                           Proverbs 26:10  NKJV

Looking at the health of the Church today, and considering the description of the Laodicean church in Revelation, could you really call it healthy?  Or might it be a better description to call it a ship of fools? While we might hesitate to call someone a fool, the God of this universe has no such qualms.  The Word of God is full of passages which contrast the foolish and the wise, and also make it very clear what the destiny of each will be. Even though God has made the way of salvation so simple to understand and so easy to attain, man in his “wisdom” rejects the Gospel for a different way. 

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”                  Romans 1:20-21  NKJV

What the leaders of these churches seem unable to admit is that although the way of salvation is made plain in the Gospel of Christ, when they choose to lead their congregations down a different path, they are in essence, arguing with the God who created everything out of nothing and implying that He doesn’t know what He is talking about!  It also goes without saying that they are also somehow believe they are smarter than God because they possess a wisdom which shows an easier, better way to salvation than the one ordained by God.  This, in my opinion, does nothing but create a ship of fools rather than a healthy church teaching the true gospel of Christ.

“Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”    1 Corinthians 1:20  NKJV

Anyone who would choose to ignore the simplicity and clarity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a fool.  Unfortunately, the ship of fools is not only large; it’s getting larger at an incredible pace.  Yet the ship of the wise, with Jesus as its captain, is the only one which will reach its destination at the rapture of the Church.  Do you want to know if you are on the right ship?  According to Paul, simply check the direction your ship is sailing.

“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,”                 1 Corinthians 15:1-4  NKJV

The word “hold fast” is the Greek word katechō which is also used as a nautical term meaning “to check a ship's headway i.e. to hold or head the ship”.  Our compass is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is this Gospel which we use to check our course.  Does your church preach this gospel or another “seeker friendly” one?  Be careful not to sail on the ship of fools.

“But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”                             Romans 10:8-9  NKJV

If the rapture of the church is indeed based on the number of members in the body of Christ, then it is logical to assume that the rapture will occur at the moment the last person makes his or her decision to accept Christ into their heart. That said, it is entirely possible any one of us could be the person sharing the Gospel with that individual at that particular time. Many of us are disappointed to still be here given all the signs that the rapture is indeed imminent, yet if Paul is telling us that there is a number that has to be reached for the “fullness of the Gentiles” to “come in”, it is reasonable to conclude that it's our fault we are still here. As a body of believers, we need to remember our first love and share the Gospel with everyone we meet so God can “fill the boat” to completeness.

If you are reading this and have never made the decision to accept Jesus Christ into your heart and accept the free gift of eternal life He has offered you, I urge you to do so right now. You can do that by praying this prayer and accepting the gift of eternal life God has offered you by the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.

Father, I know I am a sinner in need of salvation. I believe you sent your Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sin, and I ask you now to forgive me of my sins. I want to receive your gift of salvation so please come into my heart and help me to live and follow you as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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