Archive

Archive for August, 2012

“Allow both to grow together UNTIL the harvest.” A careful examination of the pre-tribulation theory.

August 21, 2012 4 comments

“Allow both to grow together until the harvest.” Mtt 13:30

“Allow both to grow together until the harvest.” Mtt 13:30

One day as Jesus sat by the sea, He told the multitudes surrounding Him a parable about the kingdom of heaven. Actually, this was a series of seven parables! In the parable of the tares (for that is the name given to it by the disciples), Jesus describes wheat and tares – an imitation crop – being allowed to grow side by side UNTIL the harvest. The harvest, He later, explained is the “end of this age” (13:39). The end of this age is the time of His Second Coming with His angels. Of this there is little doubt or dissention.

At the harvest, Jesus explains, the tares are bundled up (by the expert hand of angelic beings) and thrown into the fire. AFTER that He will gather His wheat into His barn, to commence Eternity!

First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’ (Mtt 13:30)

The question must be asked: “Will Jesus gather the wheat (rapture the church) before He separates the tares?” NO!

As we just read, He first sends His angels to gather up the tares to be thrown into the fire THEN He will gather the wheat into His barn.

‘Let both grow together until the harvest.’ No words could be more plain than these. They could not grow together until the harvest, if all, or even some of the wheat were gathered in many years before the tares were fully ripened [pre-trib. position]; and they will not fully ripen until the time of Antichrist; indeed, it is expressly said that the tares are to be gathered first; and let it be remembered that not one tare is gathered except by angels sent forth; not one is gathered except at the time of harvest; not one is gathered without being rooted up; that is, taken out of the world. (B.W.Newton)

“WHEN IT WAS FULL”

Jesus went on to tell a similar parable about the kingdom of heaven: a great net was cast into the sea to gather fish of “every kind”. WHEN IT WAS FULL, they gathered it up on the beach and then sorted the fish: the good into containers and the bad into the furnace of fire.

“So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mtt 13: 49-50)

Did you catch that: “Take out the wicked from among the righteous”?The pre-tribulation position has it the other way around: “Take out the righteous at the beginning of the Great Tribulation (i.e. pre-tribulation) and then after seven years the wicked will be dealt with.”

Brothers and sisters, it is time to clear up the fog surrounding this issue. Until we do, we have little chance to influence and warn a non-believing generation.

For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle? I Cor 14:8

“Times of the Gentiles” = When it is Full

Jesus prophesied that “Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled”. (Luke 21:24) We can envision that when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, when it is full, THIS is the “end of this age”. This is the time when He comes a second time, as King of kings, and separates the wheat from the chaff, the good fish from the bad.

This is not the end of the world! Jesus says that there will be “BIRTH PANGS” – not death pangs – before the end of this present age! Eternity is just around the corner… The “church of the firstborn” is about to have its first meeting. (Heb 12:22-23)

The apostle John is given more specific detail on this time period in the Revelation:

“Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.” 11:2

Once this period of 42 months is over, when the cup of Gentile iniquity is completely full, you can expect that the Lord Jesus will split the skies and, with the whole world watching, He will ride in on a white horse with His host of angels and deal with His enemies and gather His righteous followers. (Rev 19)

In Him,

Jeff Gilbertson

Categories: Uncategorized

In this present age, the earth will NOT be “full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” That will happen in the age to come.

August 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Jesus teaching on the "mysteries of the kingdom of heaven"

Jesus teaching on the “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven”

My wife and I were born and raised into the kingdom of God (1980’s to the present) with the exact opposite belief of the statement I just made above. We were both very passionate and convinced about the power of the Gospel to change not just individuals but entire nations! Jesus was and is “more than enough” to bring lasting change on the whole planet.

We spoke about it like this:

  • Someday “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea”. (Hab 2:4)

  • Someday “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.” (Phil 2:10)

  • WOW!! Who can argue with that! (Well I can! These are Millennial texts, that will be fulfilled in the age to come!)

    This type of passion and optimism is familiar with all who name the Name of Jesus. Actually it is nothing new but has been around for centuries. It was the belief of the early mission movements in the USA and Great Britain. It was the teaching of Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finney. It is known as Postmillennialism, a view that the church will impact all spheres of society and like leaven “transform” the whole loaf. The church will enter into a “Golden Age” and which will usher back King Jesus.

    However, as I have studied this subject intensively for the past 3-4 years, I see that this is not what Jesus promised nor prophesied. Some may think me pessimistic or cynical yet I believe it is the realistic answer to the subject.

    The kingdom of heaven – a mixture in this present age.

    The kingdom of heaven, in its present state, will be a mixture UNTIL the Son of Man returns and rules and reigns from Jerusalem. The kingdom of heaven, in this present age, will be a mixture of wheat and chaff, wheat and tares, good fish and bad fish, good and bad wedding guests, wise and foolish virgins, lazy and faithful servants, sheep and goats. (Mtt. 3,13,22,25)

    Can Christ have said it any clearer?

    “So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,” (Mtt 13:40-41)

    Jesus is not saying here that He will gather out of the world those who commit lawlessness… but out of His Kingdom! While “men were sleeping” Satan sowed tares among the wheat. Tares are not weeds but an imitation crop of wheat, that’s why Christ said: “Allow both to grow together until the harvest” – which is the end of this age. The image of tares is so important – it is an subtle imitation sown by the devil into the kingdom! Mankind does not have the discernment to judge the inner workings of the human heart.

    Many people may be inside the net, and yet not IN Christ!

    In a word this subtle, unassuming mixture is called: “Christendom”. Or as author J.C. Ryle calls it: the “visible Church.”

    There is hardly any point in Christianity on which greater mistakes exist than the nature of the visible Church…

    Good and bad are now all mingled together in the visible Church of Christ. Believers and unbelievers – converted and unconverted – holy and unholy – all are to be found now among those who call themselves Christians. They sit side by side in our churches. They kneel side by side in prayer. They listen side by side to our sermons. They sit side by side at the Lord’s Table and receive the same bread and wine from our hands.

    But it will not always be so. Christ will come the second time with His winnowing fork in His hand. He will purge His Church, even as He purified the temple…The kingdom of this world will never become the kingdom of Christ, and the Millennium will never begin until the King Himself returns.” (J.C. Ryle)

    Until the King returns, we will have a kingdom where there are “professors of Christ” growing side by side with “possessors of Christ”. The separation belongs to the Judge of all the earth!

    The seventh angel sounded his trumpet [the Last Trumpet], and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has [now] become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Rev 11:15; see also Dan 2:44,7:14)

    Let the church rise up and attain Her full potential in the earth! That is the cry of this hour, yet it must be subjected and submitted to the WHOLE truth of God’s Word, lest we find ourselves offended “in the last days”. Our expectations must be the same as our Lord’s expectations, right down to the minutest detail. Of this I am more than certain…

    Many parables have been taught by “the professing, visible Church” that give the exact opposite meaning to what Jesus taught. Tares are merely weeds… Leaven is not “corruption” but a force of good penetrating the whole world… Birds of the air “nesting in the branches” symbolize growth…

    Please be careful that you use consistency in interpreting these parables, that will keep us from confusion:

    “When Jesus used any symbols more than once, He always meant the same thing. If He spoke of the sower, He always meant the same person, He meant the Son of Man. If He speaks of the field more than once, He always means the same thing, which is the world. In the first place, He is not speaking of the Church, He is speaking about the world. If He speaks about the birds of the air, and in the parable of the sower, He says the birds of the air were the evil one; then, when He says that the birds of the air find a place in the great tree, He means the same thing. The same words mean the same thing every time.” (T Austin-Sparks)

    You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. (James 5:8)

    Yours for the coming King!

    Jeff Gilbertson

    Categories: Uncategorized

    12 things every believer should know about the Last Days (but probably doesn’t)

    August 4, 2012 3 comments

    Before we look at the “12 Things” I want to first declare that when God looks down on this earth, He looks at it through a lens that is “Jerusalem-centric.”

    The subject of the city of Jerusalem appears throughout the entire Old and New Testament Scriptures. The city has been called by many names: Salem, Jerusalem, Zion, the City of David, and Ariel (Lion of God). In the future the holy city, the new Jerusalem will come “down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev 21:2)

    God has declared that Jerusalem is the place where He will establish His name, and dwell there forever.

    The Lord said to him [Solomon], “I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. (I Kings 9:3)

    Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, His holy mountain. Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion in the far north, the city of the great King. (Psalm 48:1-2)


    Here is my list of 12 things every believer should know about the Last Days (but probably doesn’t).

    # 1. The day of the Lord will come “like a thief in the night” — for the unsaved world. Believers are told to be watching and discerning the signs. We can and should know the season that He returns.

    “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things [the coming of Christ], be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation…” 2 Peter 3:14-15

    For decades the church has fed itself the continuous line that the “Day of the Lord” would come unexpectedly — like maybe even before I finish typing this sentence… “AAAAHHHH!”

    Yes, Jesus will come like “a thief in the night”… to those who are not watching! To those who are asleep, those in darkness, they will be caught in the trap -“they shall not escape”. (I Thess 5:3)

    “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day [of the Lord] would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.” I Thess 5:4-6

    “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day [of the Lord] will not come on you suddenly like a trap” Luke 21: 34


    The words a “thief in the night” are NOT directed at Christians, but at those who are not ready. By contrast, the Thessalonians are not living in the night, they are living in the day. If they keep watching, they will not be surprised. (David Pawson Unlocking the Bible p. 793)

    # 2. When the Scriptures, both Old and New testaments, speak of “In that day” it is, more often than not, prophetically describing the time period at the end of the age and the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom. (see Zech 2,12,14; Isa. 2,4,7,10,11,19, 22,25,27, etc.; Amos 8,9; Micah 4, 5,7; Joel 3; John 14,16; 2 Tim 1; 2 Thess 1.)

    In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley… In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light. And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea… And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one. (Zech 14: 4-9)

    When we don’t read the future into these texts we end up confused and disoriented. We need to “pay attention” when reading prophetic texts:

    So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day [of the Lord] dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. (2 Peter 1:19)

    #3 The phrase “this generation will not pass away” (Mtt 24:34) is not about time passing away but about the distinct people of God, the Jewish Nation, not passing away “until all these things take place”.

    For most Bible believing believers, the long standing teaching of the church on this verse has been that “in one single generation” all these things of the Last Days will be accomplished: famine, wars, pestilence and the like. Then suddenly, Jesus will come back “riding on the clouds” and return to earth at the Second Coming. (Mtt 24:30) This will all happen in one single generation (of 40 years) when the Jews at long last have returned to their homeland.

    Sadly all of these (and potentially many more interpretations) miss the point completely and keeps the church imprisoned in poor eschatology. The issue at stake in “this generation will not pass away” is not talking about time (be that 40 years or 60 years) but about the Jewish nation as a “separate people “of God.

    This generation shall not pass – this race; i.e. the Jews shall not cease from being a distinct people, till all the counsels of God relative to them and the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible)

    # 4. Antichrist is a man. He is a king. He is not a system (Catholic church) or a supernatural beast. Rev 13,20

    Antichrist is future. He has not yet been thrown alive into the lake of fire. (Rev 19:20) He is described mostly as a “little horn” or “king”. Read Daniel 7 -12. He will arise insignificantly from the western portion of the Greek Empire (Dan. 8) and try to rule the world.

    And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “ Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” (Rev. 13: 3-4)

    # 5. The rapture will take place at the Last trumpet.

    Before you argue with me read Rev. 10-11. There is no better place in all of Scripture to find the truth on the rapture than this!

    “But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” (Rev 10:7)

    “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thess. 4:16-18

    # 6. During the 21 consecutive judgments in the book of Revelation (chs. 6-16) God will potentially destroy 1/2 of the population of the earth. For sure most of His wrath will be poured out on the antichrist and his 10 nation federation… but this could stretch to include all the nations of the earth.

    It will be “as in the days of Noah” (Mtt 24:36-39).

    A worldwide flood happened in Noah’s day and therefore we are led to imagine that a worldwide outpouring of the wrath of God will occur in Last Days. Only eight people survived the flood… all other humans were killed!

    “For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will. Unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved” Mark 13:19-20

    # 7. The saints will be persecuted and killed during the Great Tribulation. Daniel 7:21,25; Rev.12:17

    Rather than try and find a way to have the body of Christ “suddenly and silently taken away” at the darkest hour of human history, I believe we are better served, and a dying world is better served, to align with Scriptures and see ourselves here on earth, “enduring to the end”. (Mtt 24:13)

    “It was also given to him [the beast] to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.” (Rev 13:7)

    # 8. Mystery Babylon is a whore that equals and promotes a belief system of tolerance, peace and prosperity to all. It is accurately depicted by the “co-exist” bumper sticker.

    A noted author explains it this way:

    “She [the great harlot] will cause the nations to yearn towards pluralism, sensuality and riches.” (B.W. Newton)

    The “great harlot” will first ride on the back of the beast [antichrist] but later the beast and the 10 horns kingdoms will turn on her and kill her and consume her. Antichrist wants to be worshiped alone in all the earth! (Rev. 17-18)

    Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot< who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.” (Rev. 17:1-2)

    # 9. God will send a spirit of delusion on Christians during the Great Tribulation.

    As the end of the age draws nearer and nearer, God will sift the planet of “professing Christianity”. He will allow half-hearted believers to follow the true passions and love of their lives!

    Those who do not love the truth will be in danger of falling away – also known as “The Apostasy”. 2 Thess 2; Mtt 24

    For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. (2 Thess 2: 11-12)

    “At that time [end of this age] many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. (Mtt 24:10)

    # 10. Babylon will rise at the end of this age and be Satan’s literal, counterfeit “city of God”.

    Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer.” (Rev 18:21)

    Civilization first started in Babylon — and there it will end. Falsehood will reign in Babylon as truth will one day reign in Jerusalem. Rev 17,18; Zech 5

    Nimrod, the founder of Babylon —“The beginning of his kingdom was Babylon…” (Gen 10:10)—is the earliest expression or type in the Bible of the antichrist. All the true forerunners of antichrist have a special connection to Babylon: Nimrod, Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus IV, Alexander the Great.

    “[Babylon] will be a secular kingdom with religion following in its train.” (B.W.Newton)

    # 11. Christ’s return to this earth, His Second Coming, will be Pre-Millennial. We are not in the Millennium now nor will the church will usher it in on earth (these are the A-millennial and Post-millennial positions).

    “The kingdom of this world will never become the kingdom of Christ, and the Millennium will never begin until the King Himself returns.” (J.C. Ryle)

    After gathering saints of all time in the air at the Last Trumpet, Jesus Christ will come back the Second Time, not on a donkey, but on a white horse with a sword in His mouth (Rev 19). He will arrive in the midst of utter chaos and destruction led by the antichrist and the 10 nation federation. At that time He will “destroy those who destroy the earth”! (Rev 11:18)

    “From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.” (Rev. 19:15)

    12. Until the Second Coming of our Lord, the kingdom of heaven on earth will be a mixture of true and false Christianity, wheat and tares, growing together in the same filed.

    “So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,” (Mtt 13:40-41)

    The kingdom of heaven, in its present state, will be a mixture until the Son of Man returns and rules and reigns from Jerusalem. The kingdom of heaven in this present age will be a mixture of: wheat and chaff, wheat and tares, good fish and bad fish, good and bad (unclothed) wedding guests, wise and foolish virgins, lazy and faithful servants, sheep and goats. (Mtt. 3,13,22,25)

    In a word this mixture is called: “Christendom”. Or as J.C. Ryle likes to call it: the “visible Church.”

    There is hardly any point in Christianity on which greater mistakes exist than the nature of the visible Church… Good and bad are now all mingled together in the visible Church of Christ. Believers and unbelievers – converted and unconverted – holy and unholy – all are to be found now among those who call themselves Christians. They sit side by side in our churches. They kneel side by side in prayer. They listen side by side to our sermons. They sit side by side at the Lord’s Table and receive the same bread and wine from our hands. But it will not always be so. Christ will come the second time with His winnowing fork in His hand. He will purge His Church, even as He purified the temple.

    The kingdom of this world will never become the kingdom of Christ, and the Millennium will nerver begin until the King Himself returns.”
    (J.C. Ryle)

    Until the King returns, we will have a kingdom where there are “professors of Christ” growing side by side with “possessors of Christ”. The separation belongs to the Judge of all the earth!

    “Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” Gen 18:25

    Yours in Christ,

    Jeff Gilbertson

    Categories: Uncategorized