Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Nicene Creed (12)

More of Israel's history - We see the “prayer of faith” Israel walked by sight, Yahweh allowed their prayer life to work in connection with sight as that earthly kingdom was on their doorstep. Yahweh worked in connection with the sign nation, the healings that were performed and the power resident in the prayer of faith. When the kingdom program was ongoing and Jesus was ready to rule and reign right here on earth, a troubled believer could pray the prayer of faith, when presented with suffering circumstances and those circumstance would disappear. Yahweh provided that prayer of faith, because that kingdom was at hand and the time for troubling circumstances had come to an end. It was time to put an end to pain and suffering, because it was time for the King to rule and reign on this earth.

Where the Mosaic covenant was contracted between Yahweh and the nation, the Davidic covenant is contracted between Yahweh and a single individual, the king. The Davidic covenant is an eternal and unconditional covenant between Yahweh and the House of David, or the dynasty of David. Yahweh says that David and his descendants may be punished for sin. They certainly will be punished for sin, but Yahweh will not take the kingdom away from them as he did from Saul. Yahweh’s unconditional and eternal covenants with the patriarchs and with David do not prelude the possibility of punishment or chastisement for sin as specified in the conditional Mosaic covenant.

The covenant with David, it’s a covenant of grant, it’s a grant of a reward for loyal service and deeds. Yahweh rewards David with the gift of an unending dynasty, in exchange for his loyalty. Yahweh’s oath to preserve the Davidic dynasty, would lead eventually to a popular belief in the invincibility of the Holy City. The belief in Israel’s ultimate deliverance from enemies, became bound up with David and his dynasty. When the kingdom fell finally to the Babylonians, the promise to David’s House was believed to be eternal. The community looked to the future for a restoration of the Davidic line or Davidic king or messiah.

The messiah simply means anointed, one who is “meshiach” is anointed with the holy oil, That is a reference to the fact that the king was initiated into office by means of holy oil being poured on his head. So King David was the messiah of Yahweh, the king anointed by or to Yahweh. And in the exile, Israelites would pray for another messiah, meaning another king from the House of David appointed and anointed by Yahweh to rescue them from enemies, and reestablish them as a nation at peace in their land as David had done. The Israelites hope for a messiah; it involved the restoration of the nation in its land under a Davidic king.

The 12 apostles preached the reality of the resurrection of Jesus ‘the messiah’. The 12 apostles had preached the necessity of Jesus ‘the messiah’ being raised from among the dead, in order to sit on the throne of David in the promised kingdom.  Acts 1:4 - That promise had to do with being baptized with Yahweh’s energizing power from on high. This is not John the Baptizer’s baptism, this is a special identification of Yahweh’s power for the purpose of empowering those kingdom saints for the tribulation period at their doorstep and the millennial reign to come. Yahweh was in a very real sense giving Israel a taste of their promised earthly kingdom. Seven years stood between Israel and them gaining their earthly Kingdom. Paul taught what that resurrection meant to the Gentiles. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Nicene Creed (11)

More of Israel's history - While the King was on the earth, he had the power on earth to forgive people their sins, which would include physical healing in connection with earthly kingdom prophecy. When it came to Israel’s promised earthly kingdom and the forgiveness of sins by the earthly King of that promised earthly kingdom, what was absolutely essential to that forgiveness being granted? It’s always been the issue of faith down through out history. Faith of course, without faith they would not be forgiven and without forgiveness there would not be any healing. What would faith do in that program, when faith was called upon to do a work to prove itself?

Why would forgiveness and the necessity of that forgiveness be an important thing for Israel to understand? The answer to that is because of another concept that had its beginning in the garden called guilt. That guilt-worthiness in the mind of people originated in the garden can be plainly seen. You see, the problem was not that the Gentiles before Israel had no sense of guilt-worthiness. The problem is, they had no fear of Yahweh given the guilt-worthiness of which they were instinctively aware. They had a conscience. Guilt can be a wonderful thing when dealt with according to a proper understanding, but it can be a horrible, most devastating thing when Yahweh’s solution for it is not fully understood and appreciated.

The Gentiles were never promised a particular territory upon earth as an everlasting possession, only Israel had been given that promise, they were promised a messiah. The gentiles were never promised a messiah. So what if you happened to be a Gentile living during the time when Israel had been promised a land and an earthly kingdom in that land and a king to rule in that land? Yahweh made provision for the Gentiles of time past by allowing them to convert to the tribe of Israel.

In order to be identified with the people of Yahweh, with Yahweh’s nation which was Israel, a Gentile would have to identify himself with the covenant under which Yahweh was operating with Israel. It was called taking hold of the covenant. A Gentile, by taking hold of the covenant was saying that he was willingly placing himself under all of Israel’s covenant requirements. It would include taking hold of all of the law requirements after the law was handed down to the nation Israel. 

One of the commandments given to Israel even before the Law of Moses was handed down at Mt. Sinai, was the commandment of circumcision, which was the physical sign of the covenant Yahweh made with Abraham. That requirement remained firmly set in place, when it came to a Gentile who wanted to become an Israelite. Circumcision was the physical sign of being in relationship to the covenant Yahweh made with Abram and that physical distinction separated Israel from all the other nations of the earth. In order to become an Israelite, a person had to be obedient to the requirement of physical circumcision or be married to a man who was willing to fulfill that requirement.

Before that kingdom could be realized, there was a prophetic event that had to take place first. The way Jesus taught has special application to that tribulation period to those people who were being taught to pray in this manner. This will be a very heartfelt prayer during the tribulation period. During the time of Jacob’s trouble, the Israelites will be under tremendous persecution from the antichrist. He will be putting Israelites to death for their faith. The Israelites will be praying at that time, “thy kingdom come” the promised earthly kingdom to be set up right here on earth, because the only hope of deliverance for the believing Israelites at that time, will be the coming of the king and setting up of the earthly kingdom.

“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” is a divine definition of the millennium. The kingdom is when the will of Yahweh is carried out in the earth to the same degree it is carried out in heaven. The Israelites have an earthly hope, they were promised the earth forever. At the time when Israel will be facing the wrath of Satan - the time that Israel was being prepared for when they were being taught how to pray - Satan will have been kicked out of the heaven and cast down to the earth and Yahweh’s will, will indeed be being done in the realm where Satan has just been cast out.

This prayer is appropriate for the Israelites of that day, they will be praying at that time just as the disciples had been taught to pray. It is recited in churches across the country in our day. It is recited as though it is a prayer for today. While we are not to use vain repetition, it is recited like vain repetition as people stand up and uttering together. At the time this prayer was being taught to pray “our Father” meant that you recognized, if you were an Israelite, that you had a covenant relationship with Yahweh; you were his children.

These saints of the earthly kingdom program will be praying in the day “Give us this day our daily bread.” They will be worrying about that day, not the next day as that earthly kingdom becomes a reality for those Israelites. “Debtors” Israel’s status as a nation above all nations depended on this very thing. The believers of Israel will be seeking forgiveness in respect to their willingness to forgive. Yahweh will not restore that nation to a place of national prominence above all nations of the earth until they adhere to the exhortation, forgive us our sins as WE (corporately) are willing to forgive those who have sinned against us.

There will be a people for Yahweh on the earth during those eventful years, and Yahweh indeed has provided for their instruction, and warning, and encouragement, in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation. Right at the beginning, they are the first subjects of Divine remembrance, provision, and care. Their needs must be first provided for, before anything else is recorded of the things which John saw; and there they will find what is specially written for their learning. But those readers will be at once be reminded of the various stages of their own past history, and they will find in almost every sentence some allusion to the circumstances in which they will find themselves as described in these seven letters.

They are written to the People supposed to be well-versed in the history of the Old Testament, and well-acquainted with all that had happened to their fathers and had been written for their admonition. Instructed in the past history of their nation, they will readily understand the relation between the testings and judgments in the past with which they are familiar, and those similar circumstances in which they will find themselves in a yet future day. As we read these letters, the references to the Old Testament in the seven letters correspond with the historical order of the events, so it is with respect to the promises contained in these letters.

While the historical events connected with the rebukes are carried down from Exodus to the period of the Minor Prophets, the promises cover a different period; commencing with the period of Eden, and ending with the period of Solomon. The subjects of the rebukes follow the order of the departure of the People from Yahweh. Their decline and apostasy is traced out in the historical references contained in these letters. But when we turn to the promises, then all is different. They proceed in the opposite direction. The order, instead of descending from Israel’s highest ground of privilege (Exodus) to the lowest stage of destitution (Minor Prophets), the order ascends from tending a garden to sharing his throne.

The seven promises are all intensely individual, there is no corporate existence recognized as such. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil one. (AntiChrist)” The temptation spoken of here has to do with testing. Jesus had something particular in mind as he taught them how to be praying. The prayer of faith was a taste of the kingdom in time past.

The Nicene Creed (10)

More of Israel's history - The 12 apostles who will be sitting on 12 thrones, judging or presiding over the 12 tribes of the nation Israel. That is the earthly component of the Kingdom of Yahweh, the good news that Israel’s promised earthly kingdom was right at her doorstep. Israel, the people to whom the Gospel of the Kingdom was being proclaimed could become a part of the Gospel of the Kingdom, meaning they would be granted entrance into that land they had been promised, that kingdom. But they would have to believe what they were seeing Jesus do and understand the connection that he was their Messiah.

The kingdom of Yahweh is within you; the earthly kingdom would not be set up outwardly until the king of that earthly kingdom had been accepted inwardly by those to whom Yahweh was promising the kingdom. It was up to them as to whether or not that kingdom would be established outwardly at that time. They had no problem accepting that their kingdom was at their doorstep. They had a problem with accepting the identity of the king. That is where they fell, and this is what the Gospel of Yahweh is all about.

By going back to the prophet Isaiah, Jesus revealed to his apostles that the blood of the second Adam was the basis by which Israel’s Kingdom program and Israel’s New Covenant could continue on. Remission of sins, the complete clearing away of Israel’s sin debt could now be accomplished just as Jeremiah, Israel’s New Covenant Prophet had proclaimed. Once the sanctuary is purged, the offerer has settled his debt, he’s repaired the damage he caused. He’s fully atoned, and God is no longer repelled by the impurity that marred his sanctuary.

On the day of atonement, a purification sacrifice is brought on behalf of the community to purify the sanctuary of the impurities that have been caused by Israel’s sin. And the high priest loads all of the sins and impurities of the Israelites on the head of a goat, which then carries them off into the wilderness away from the sanctuary. Every sin pollutes the sanctuary; it may not mark the sinner, but, it does mark the sanctuary. It scars the face of the sanctuary.

Matt. 27:51, the earthquake that fractured the rock opened a fissure that ran down through 20 foot of solid rock into a cave and cracked the stone lid on top of a black stone volt where the Ark of the Covenant lie hidden inside, pushing the lid aside. John 19:34, the blood that poured from the side of Jesus, ran down through that crevice and dripped onto the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant that was hidden by God and the prophet Jeremiah, right under where they crucified Jesus, 620 years earlier when the Babylonians destroyed Salomon’s temple.

The Greek word used for “the cross” on which Jesus was put to death is “stauros,” which denotes an upright pale or stake. It never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always of one piece alone. There is nothing in the Greek of the New Testament even to imply two pieces of timber. The blood of Jesus would do no good for the Israelites dripping on “stauros,” because the second Adam’s blood was the basis by which Yahweh would now have just cause to remit or to clear the accounts of those with faith in time past, those who had trusted Yahweh’s word to them and who obeyed what Yahweh told them to do.

According to Israel’s New Covenant, when would Yahweh finish what forgiveness alone would not accomplish where Israel’s sins were concerned? When would the forgiveness come? At what time would Yahweh completely clear the slate for Israel nationally-those believers who had been baptized according to John the Baptizer’s program? The blood of the second Adam would make it possible, but when would that total clearing of the accounts take place for Israel?

A Priesthood would be essential if Yahweh was going to work at all with Gentiles during a time when Israel was a peculiar treasure unto him; a royal priesthood. Israel was given that instrumental role to play when it came to representing Yahweh to the nations at that time. Israel was to be a light unto the Gentiles according to prophecy. Israel was to make Yahweh’s name GREAT among the nations. Yahweh has always considered people righteous on the basis of their belief (faith). Call of Abram (Abraham). Now we have humankind divided into two different parts, Israelites and Gentiles. Abram is the father of Israel and the father of all with faith.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Nicene Creed (9)

More of Israel's history - The law contract, Israel’s possession of the land called for perfect righteousness through performance. Israel produced no righteousness in connection with the law contract. She did not produce that righteousness back in the days of the prophets. She had not produced the fruit of righteousness the contract called for during the days of John the Baptizer’s ministry or during the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry to that nation.

The issue was not their sins, Israel always had a way to have their sins atoned for. Yahweh gave them a way to have their sins forgiven. The issue was righteousness! After that long period of silence (400 years of silence) during which Yahweh refused to speak a word to the nation Israel, Yahweh would begin speaking to the nation once again. John the Baptizer would become Yahweh’s spokesman. This was an important time in Israel’s history as Yahweh would place the Kingdom that he had promised that nation right at their very doorstep.

John the Baptizer’s baptism would be the mechanism that Yahweh would use to allow Israel to make her confession of failure, thus preparing the way for Yahweh’s Kingdom on Earth to get underway. This is where the second gospel-designation mentioned in Scripture comes into play; the gospel message called The Gospel or good news of the Kingdom. Why was Israel’s promised earthly Kingdom near, because Israel’s King was there!

It was Israel’s opportunity to change their thinking, because the institution of Yahweh’s Kingdom on earth was right around the corner. The only thing that stood in the way of the establishment of that kingdom was for Israel to recognize her King. The Gospel of Yahweh is about kingship identity. Who is the King for this Kingdom? That is the thrust of the Gospel of Yahweh. Jesus (Yeshua his Hebrew name) is the King; the Anointed One; the Messiah (meaning Christ), the son of the Living God.

Now, that “on earth” part was very important, because the earth was the realm (according to prophecy) where Yahweh’s Kingdom would be established. The earth was the only realm of which Yahweh’s earthly nation Israel had been given inheritance. Heaven was not the issue for the nation Israel. They were never promised Heaven. Before proclaiming to Israel the identity of the king, Yahweh wanted Israel to know that the time was at hand for YAHWEH’S Kingdom on earth to be established, and that is all that John the Baptizer, and Jesus, and the 12 apostles began to preach; the Kingdom that Yahweh promised Israel, is at hand.

They were not yet preaching the identity of the king at this time, only that the Kingdom was at hand. The Gospel of The Kingdom had to do with the timing of Yahweh’s reign upon the earth, but when it was first being proclaimed, the identity of the king was not the issue at hand, when it came to proclaiming to Israel what Yahweh wanted to proclaim to Israel and had not yet been made known to Israel. That information was being withheld for a time and for a very good reason.

As we come to understand this gospel more fully, we will see that the Gospel of Yahweh was an enhancement to, an addition to the Gospel of the Kingdom. We know they had been promised an earthly kingdom, it was now at Israel’s doorstep. The Gospel of Yahweh is the place where Israel’s real problem of unbelief manifested itself. So,why all the different gospel designations in the Word of God (El is the God of history), why not just one title?

These Gospels has its own set of issues. Each of these gospels has its own purpose and its own place when it comes to the surrounding good news messages. Each speaks of its own unique circumstances as far as the information the Yahweh wanted to impart to Israel is concerned. Not every good news message is the same good news message that Yahweh wanted wanted Israel to hear. One good news message may add to, or enhance another message sitting around it. Then again, an additional good news message may alter completely what Yahweh’s doing which we will see in Scripture. 

The Nicene Creed (8)

Understanding Israel's history - Leviticus 26, beginning with verse 40, is the confession Israel would be called upon to make. Israel would also have to accept the remainder of her punishment, that failure under the contract would call for and that would be the seven year tribulation. When John the Baptizer came along, had anything new begun? He simply called upon Israel to change their minds about their righteousness.

John the Baptizer came in connection with Yahweh’s earthly nation Israel and in accordance with an offer to confess their failure under the contract in order to gain their promised land. That confession itself would be considered a fruit of righteousness in the eyes of Yahweh. The focus during John the Baptizer’s ministry was still Israel and the issue continued to be the land. Nothing had changed except that Israel was being offered the opportunity to confess their failure under the contract. Israel continued to be the focus and the land continued to be the issue.

After Yahweh Gave up on the nations, Yahweh experiments with a single individual of believing; Abraham’s believing withstands many a trial. Yahweh is the owner of the land, Abraham was called to. Yahweh is empowered to set conditions or residency requirements for those who would reside in it, like a landlord. Yahweh is seeking replacement tenants who are going to follow the moral rules of residence that Yahweh has established for his land.

Yahweh’s promise to Abraham is formalized in a ritual ceremony called a suzerainty covenant. The patriarchical covenant, which is a covenant in which a superior party, a suzerain dictates the terms of a political treaty usually, and an inferior party obeys them. The arrangement primarily serves the interest of the suzerain, and not the vassal or the subject. So Yahweh is making a land grant to a favored subject, and there’s an ancient ritual that ratifies the oath. In this kind of covenant, the parties to the oath would pass between the split carcass of a sacrificial animal, as if to say, that they agree they will suffer the same fate as this animal, if they violate the covenant.

Abraham cuts sacrificial animals in two, and Yahweh, but only Yahweh, passes between the two halves. Only Yahweh seems to be obligated by the covenant, obligated to fulfill the promise that he’s made. Abraham doesn’t appear to have any obligation in return. In this case, it is the subject, Abraham, and not the suzerain, Yahweh, who is benefited by this covenant, and that’s a complete reversal of this ritual ceremony.

If Israel was to regain her land, she would have to make that confession Leviticus 26 called for. And John came offering them, soliciting that confession from the nation. When Jesus comes on the scene; Israel’s Messiah is present among them, and Jesus preaches the same message as John the Baptizer. Nothing new has begun, Israel is still being called upon to make that confession concerning their failure under the contract.

Yahweh’s salvation of his people from Egypt, not the Christian sense of personal salvation from sin; that’s anachronistically read back into the Hebrew Bible. It’s not there. Salvation in the Hebrew Bible does not refer to an individual's deliverance from a sinful nature. This is not a concept that is found in the Hebrew Bible. Salvation refers instead, to the concrete, collective, communal salvation from national suffering and oppression, particularly in the form of foreign rule of enslavement.

Israel’s descent to Egypt sets the stage for the rise of a pharaoh who, didn’t know Joseph, and all that he had done for Egypt. And this new pharaoh will enslave the Israelites, and so embitter their lives, that their cry will rise up to heaven. Yahweh as Israel’s redeemer and savior, is Yahweh’s physical deliverance of the nation from the hands of her foes. But the physical redemption of the Israelites is going to reach its climax in the covenant that will be concluded at Sinai.

Yahweh’s redemption of the Israelites, is a redemption for a purpose, for at Sinai, the Israelites will become Yahweh’s people, bound by a covenant. The covenant concluded at Sinai is referred to as the Mosaic covenant. The Mosaic covenant differs radically from the Noahide and the patriarchal covenants, because here Yahweh makes no promises beyond being the patron or protector of Israel; and also, in this covenant, he set terms that require obedience to a variety of laws and commandments.

The Mosaic covenant is neither unilateral, it’s a bilateral covenant, involving mutual, reciprocal obligations, nor is it unconditional like the other two. It is conditional; the first bilateral, conditional covenant. If Israel doesn’t fulfill her oblations by obeying Yahweh’s torah, his instructions, and living in accordance with his will, as expressed in the laws and instruction, then Yahweh will not fulfill his obligation of protection and blessing towards Israel.

So the Mosaic covenant, understanding of the relationship between Yahweh and Israel; the history of Israel will be governed by this one outstanding reality of covenant. Israel’s fortunes will be seen to ride on the degree of its faithfulness to this covenant. The nature of the biblical text, it reflects a range of perceptions about Yahweh and his relation to creation and to Israel. Understanding the making sense of the historical odyssey of the nation of Israel in covenant with Yahweh-that is its concern.

The Nicene Creed (7)

The followers of the Nicene Creed added the conscious survival of the soul and its reattachment to the body at the resurrection. Cheating people out of being caught to meet the Savior in the air, when the Age of Grace is over.

Paul never alluded to the conscious survival of the soul and its reattachment to the body at the resurrection, that is a notion totally foreign to Paul and to Scripture as a whole. Paul did not think the question of the status of the person between death and resurrection was a question that needed to be considered. 

The reason is that for Paul, those who die in Christ, their relationship with Christ is one of immediacy, because they have not awareness of the passing of time between their death and resurrection.

As believers, we do not possess the life that Jesus got when God raised him from among the dead as an inherent quality any more than we possess God’s righteousness as a property in our own nature. Just as in the midst of our sinfulness, we are righteous, so in the midst of our self-evident mortality, we are going to get the life God gave to Jesus. 

Wholeness and meaning in life are not the products of what we have or do not have, what we have done or have not done, we are already a whole person and possess a life of infinite meaning and purpose because of who we are in Christ.

Our understanding of the identity that Adam had before the fall, that identity has been restored to us, that restored identity is the critical foundation for our belief structure and our behavior patterns.

What an ingenious salvation plan, to take someone else that is righteous and join us to that person. Sin causes a debt to God so large that it can never be paid by ourselves, but the person who knows what Jesus Christ really accomplished, exist in a completely new relationship with God. Justification is a legal act, wherein God deems the sinner righteous on the basis of Christ’s righteousness.

Justification is not a process, but is a one-time act, complete and definitive. God could only declare us to be right on the bases of who and what he is, not on the bases of who and what we would be apart from him. God had to devise a way to see us that way, and the way he devised to do that was by joining us to, hiding us in our perfectly righteous savior, thus freely crediting to our account Christ righteousness. Reconciliation and sanctification are not one and the same, they are two different truths. A sanctified identity in Christ comes not as a result of behavior, it comes as a result of belief. 

What an identification God has given you, every believer’s sanctification comes by way of your union-identification with Christ Jesus. We find the amazing and comforting truth that God’s love for those who are joined to his son, is the same unalterable and unending love God has for his son. The judicial decree of rightness God grants to those who believe is called justification, God alters your identity by removing you judicially in God’s mind from an identification with the first Adam and now you are judicially identified with the last Adam (Christ Jesus). That joining itself is where sanctification comes into play; sanctification is not a process, it is a past tense accomplishment that can never be revised, reduced, or retracted. 

You have also been sanctified or set apart in that you were identified with Christ by God’s resurrection power, baptized into Christ at the point of your belief. You need to look at sanctification from the standpoint of who is doing the setting apart. It is entirely a work of God for the believer, not a work of the believer for God. No effort of the flesh could accomplish it, no effort of the saint can add to it.

The fact that Christ became a redeemer of the world, does not mean that the world will accept the gift the Redeemer purchased on their behalf. Christ’s faithfulness was the only faithfulness sufficient to merit God’s favor. God used our faith in Christ’s faithfulness as the means whereby he would credit Christ’s righteousness to our account.

To be justified does not mean to be perfectly righteous in performance. It also does not mean to become perfectly righteous or even more righteous in performance through time. It means having Christ’s perfect righteousness freely credited to the account of the ungodly who believe.

Our justification was something accomplished for us by God’s grace. This gift decree of righteousness comes totally apart from any and all human promise, any or all human performance, or any or all human production. God will never consider our works as a payment for God’s justifying declaration.

Justification is God’s gift! To say your works have anything at all to do with God’s gift declaration of righteousness is to slap the giver in the face. Remember, we were given our righteous standing as a free gift. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Nicene Creed (6)

Alexander the Great also used what is called ‘religious syncretism,’ Alexander took this tendency of syncretism, of mixing together different religious traditions from different places, and he used it as a self-conscious propaganda technique. Alexander even started claiming divine status for himself. Alexander went around passing out rumors that his mother had actually been impregnated by the god Apollo, when he appeared as a snake in her bed. So, Alexander is putting himself forward as divine. Why? This is not a Greek tradition, but it’s very much a tradition in the East for kings to be considered by their people to be gods. 

Alexander says, “Well, if they can be gods, I can be a god.” So Alexander starts spreading rumors that he is divine himself. Alexander probably even believed it; and so he had a god father, he had a human mother, and so then he would identify himself with whoever was a god in the different places. So Alexander would identify himself as a Greek god with a Persian god. Alexander would identify the goddess Isis with some Greek goddess; and so all the time these different gods from different places were basically all said to be simply different cultural representations, different names, for what were generally the same gods all over the place. 

Also, though, what they would do is sometimes they wouldn’t try to simply say these gods are the same. What they would just do is add on more gods. They’d get to Syria, “Look at all these god that the Syrians worship. Well, we’ll just add those into our pantheon of gods too.” And this is part of what ancient religion was like, is that people were not exclusive. 

You didn’t have to worry. Just because you worshiped one god, doesn’t mean you couldn’t worship another god or several gods or five gods or a hundred gods. Gods knew who everybody was-they weren’t particularly jealous, in that sense. So this is the way people did it. But what Alexander and his successors did, was they made sort of a conscious, propagandistic decision to use religious syncretism to bind together their kingdoms.

Gentile Kingdom believers are putting the cart before the horse. You have to survive the ‘sunteleia’ before you get to the ‘telos’. The Day of Yahweh (Yahweh - The Israelite’s God) will be a prolonged period; it must not be confined to “seven years,” as is so often done. 

After the Body of Christ is lifted off the earth, the whole period of the Day of Yahweh is called the final meeting of the ages, or the Greek word “sunteleia”; but, the crisis in which it culminates is called the end of the age, or the Greek word “telos.” These two Greek words are rendered “end” in the New Testament, but the use of these two words must be carefully distinguished. 

Sunteleia denotes a finishing or ending together, or in conjunction with other things. It implies that several things meet together, and reach their end during the same period; whereas telos is the point of time at the end of that period. The sign of the telos is the setting up of “the abomination of desolation” spoken of by Daniel the prophet. 

Thus the telos, those who endure to this, the same shall be saved, and will be among the overcomers specially referred to in these seven letters during the Great Tribulation; to whom these promises are made, and to whom they peculiarly refer. 

The Great Tribulation, which is the central subject, but Daniel is not permitted to do much more than make known the fact of the Great Tribulation out of which Daniel’s people, the Israelites were to be delivered. The particulars and the circumstances of that day, were not to be made known at that time by Daniel. 

The Day of Yahweh will be a prolonged period; it must not be confined to “seven years,” as is so often done. These events may occupy a period of thirty-three years; and if to these we add the seven years of the last week of Daniel, we have a period of forty years. Matt. Chapter 24, “What shall be the sign of your coming, and of the sunteleia of the age?” 

Jesus describes four of those seals, and adds, “All these are a beginning of sorrows.” This fixes these first four seals as the “beginning” of the sunteleia of the Day of Yahweh. This “beginning” may be spread over some years before the Great Tribulation, proper, comes on. Not one of these seals has yet been opened, nor can any period of history be pointed out in which these first four seals have been in operation simultaneously.

The followers of the Nicene Creed added the conscious survival of the soul and its reattachment to the body at the resurrection. Cheating people out of being caught to meet the Savior in the air, when the Age of Grace is over.

Paul never alluded to the conscious survival of the soul and its reattachment to the body at the resurrection, that is a notion totally foreign to Paul and to Scripture as a whole. Paul did not think the question of the status of the person between death and resurrection was a question that needed to be considered. 

The reason is that for Paul, those who die in Christ, their relationship with Christ is one of immediacy, because they have not awareness of the passing of time between their death and resurrection.

As believers, we do not possess the life that Jesus got when God raised him from among the dead as an inherent quality any more than we possess God’s righteousness as a property in our own nature. Just as in the midst of our sinfulness, we are righteous, so in the midst of our self-evident mortality, we are going to get the life God gave to Jesus. 

Wholeness and meaning in life are not the products of what we have or do not have, what we have done or have not done, we are already a whole person and possess a life of infinite meaning and purpose because of who we are in Christ.