The Encourager

The Encourager

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Jesus is Coming Back

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Jesus is Coming Back!

by Jeff Curtis

 

The “battle of Armageddon”! The “rapture”! The “thousand-year reign of Christ on earth”! The “AD 70 doctrine”!

 

As many hear of the end of time, they hear about…

The Battle of Armageddon. The final battle depicted in Revelation is a spiritual one, not a physical conflict. The enemies of Christ have no power against Him. They cannot be victorious against Christ and His mighty angels (Rev. 19). The word “Armageddon” has become like the names “Waterloo” and “Pearl Harbor,” representing far more than a place. “Armageddon” is associated with the overthrow of a great evil; but in Revelation it represents the overthrow of the great persecutor of the church in the first century, the Roman Empire.

 

The Rapture. As for the rapture of the church, nothing in the Bible is like what premillennialism describes. In 1Thessalonians 4:14-16, Paul was giving encouragement to the Christians on Thessalonica who feared that their dead loved ones would miss the Lord’s return. These souls would not be forgotten, but would be raised with imperishable bodies to meet the Lord in the air.

 

The Thousand-year Reign. What about the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth? Notice what the passage from Revelation 20:4-6 doesn’t say. It doesn’t mention Christ’s reigning on earth, on the throne of David, or in Jerusalem; and it doesn’t tell when His reign was to begin or end. It is describing the reign of the martyrs who died in the Roman persecution of the church; “They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4). Where was this taking place? In heaven (Rev. 20:1). The length of Christ’s reign is never mentioned; the text only talks about how long the martyrs’ reign with Him was to last.

 

The AD 70 Doctrine. Preterism (A.D. 70 Doctrine) holds that the nature of the kingdom is spiritual, that it was established in 70 A.D., and that Christ’s reign will be eternal. The second coming of Christ occurred in 70 A.D. and was for the purpose of destroying Jerusalem, bringing judgment upon the Jewish nation, and establishing the kingdom. The end of the world also occurred in 70 A.D., but was not a total destruction of the world; instead, it was a destruction of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel. All prophecies of Scripture have been fulfilled.

 

The A.D. 70 doctrine brings together all "end time" prophecies and focuses them on the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. It also makes all prophecy in both Testaments fulfilled in the destruction of the city in A.D. 70. One of the ways to see what Max R King taught is to simply read some of the propositions in debate. King affirmed, "Jesus and the eternal kingdom came in power in A.D. 70 rather than A.D. 33." Joe Taylor denied the proposition. During the Nichols-King Debate two broad propositions were discussed. King affirmed for two nights that, "The Holy Scriptures teach that the second coming of Christ included the establishment of the eternal kingdom, the day of judgment, the end of the world, and the resurrection of the dead, occurred with the fall of Judaism in A.D. 70."

 

Any person who teaches such a heresy as the 70 A.D. doctrine, and any church that supports them will answer for their actions in the Day of Judgment. Paul said, "Note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them." (Romans 16:17)

 

The end of the world is coming, but “of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matt.24:36). Christ will return “like a thief” (2Peter 3:10). When He returns in the clouds of heaven (He will never set foot on earth again), this world will be completely destroyed (2Peter 3:10-12). These events will happen one day. The important thing for us is to “keep watching and praying” (Matt. 26:41) and be ready for the Lord to come.

 

What does the Bible say about a physical battle of Armageddon, the rapture, the thousand-year reign, and AD 70 Doctrine? The answer is nothing! The Bible does mention a battle at Armageddon, but it nothing like the one described by would-be prophets (Rev. 16:16; 19:11-21). People will be “caught up” to meet the Lord in the clouds of heaven- but this is not a rapturing of the church before some “great tribulation” (1Thess. 4:13-18). The idea of an earthly thousand-year reign by Christ is based on an incorrect interpretation of Revelation 20:4-6.

Individual or Church?

Sunday, November 21, 2021

                                                   INDIVIDUAL OR CHURCH?

                                                by Jimmy R. Mickells

I was recently given a bulletin with an article in it that asked this question: “Where does the Bible make a distinction between the individual member and the church in the work of the Lord?” May we notice together that the word of God answers this question very clearly? The reason that some contend that there is no distinction between the two, an individual and the church, is that they want to practice something for which the church has no authority. There are differences between what a church is authorized by God to do and what an individual can do.

In 1 Timothy 5:16, Paul made this statement, “If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.” This passage very clearly makes a distinction between what the individual is to do, the believing man or woman that has widows, versus the responsibility that the church has, let not the church be burdened. The church was to help those who were “really widows.” Notice the stipulation that the apostle gave before she was to be taken into the number. “Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work” (2 Timothy 5:9,10). This is the answer to the question above.

As an individual, I can give money to the Red Cross, support the American Cancer Society, help Alive Hospice, contribute to a political party or candidate, etc. As long as what I'm doing is not evil, I can spend my money (given to me by God) in whatever way I deem best. This is not true with the church. It can only act as authorized by God. He gave her work to do. Can the church contribute to the Red Cross, American Cancer Society, etc.? Absolutely not! Why? It has no authority at all to use the funds collected on the first day of the week, by free-will offering, to be used for something other than what we read about in the Bible.

Many churches of Christ today are using the Lord's money to provide things for members (and non-members) that the individual should be supplying. It is not the work of the church to provide entertainment, gyms, camps, social meals, etc. As a parent, I'm to provide these things for my children. I have responsibilities that I must fulfill and I cannot and should not expect the church to do what the Lord requires me to do. Is there a difference between what an individual can do and what the Lord's church can do? Paul says there is! Will you accept the answer that is given? We must never be guilty of involving the church in some work that God has not authorized it to do. Remember the words of John, “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds” (2 John 9-11).

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