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28 minutes ago, Jim_Alaska said:

My church in Alaska consisted of about forty people at the time that building a building for the church was necessary. All funds for this purpose came directly from God's people as The Lord put it on their hearts.

 

Amen and amen.

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Well done Alan, I wouldn't change a word of this lesson. The thought you put into this is very obvious, correct and something that most lessons on the local church do not teach. They might correctly t

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Jim,

Thank you for the testimony of the the building of the church in Alaska. Your testimony is a living example of the early church and how they may have first started in homes, grew in size and faith, and were able to hold services in their own building. So, your testimony is an welcome addition to this study on the local church and encouragement to all of us.

Is it possible that you have some photos of the different add-on's of the church that you would like to show us? Or, maybe a before and after picture of the church?

Brethren,

Does anybody have a similar testimony of how a church was started at a home? or a rented office front?any pictures? I am sure that your testimony would also be a welcome addition to this study and an encouragement to all of us.

Alan

 

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Alan, as I wrote that testimony I was thinking of adding any pictures. I searched for them for some time so I could include them in that reply, but to no avail. My old computer died about a year ago and I think any pictures I had are still on it. I thought I transferred everything on the old computer, but must have missed some.

If I am able to find any pictures of the church they won't be many, but I will revisit this reply and add them. Just don't hold your breath waiting for them, it could be some time before I find them.

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23 hours ago, Alan said:

Does anybody have a similar testimony of how a church was started at a home? or a rented office front?any pictures? I am sure that your testimony would also be a welcome addition to this study and an encouragement to all of us.

We had originally wanted to start a church out of a house a few years ago but we lived with relatives and could not afford a house in the area we were called to at the time. So we rented a small 250 SQ office space with our tithe and then started soul winning and inviting. From there as we grew, we would move to larger offices in the same building. Starting in an office was a blessing because we could expand our space without constantly moving and changing the church information and only paying for the space we needed. Two years into it we made a quick video for our sending church's missions conference. 
 

Unfortunately we ended up having to move back to Michigan but God was able to open up for our congregation to merge with another church in town that needed help and we were able to help them start a soul winning program with our former members. It was also worked out so that we did not have to worry about the church property that we had in the offices because the office owner was contacted by an other Baptist group that wanted to start a church in the same location after our contract was up and they ended up being able to use it all to start a new church in the same space.

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John,

Thank you for uploading your testimony on how your sending church sent you to start Edgecliff Baptist Church and give us a living example of New Testament church planting. I appreciate your soul-winning efforts, tract ministry, using new technology (YouTube videos of your services), and dedication. Also, even though, due to health reasons, you had to go back to your sending church you merged your congregation with the other IFB church in the area to provide your members with a good church to join. 

Your testimony on starting a new church was a blessing to my heart and I am sure to other folks also.

Looking forward to other testimonies, pictures, or videos concerning a how a new church was started and eventually was self-sustaining and in a more permanent location.

Alan

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On 7/10/2020 at 6:46 AM, Jim_Alaska said:

I do understand that the word "Protestant" is used as a generic term by many. Personally I object to it simply because it implies that anything not Roman Catholic is Protestant. This is probably true for most, if not all Protestant Christian churches, but is definitely not true for Baptist churches.

The world wants to lump Baptists in with Protestants, which they are not and never have been. So, I am very cautious when someone tries to teach that Baptists are Protestants.

But I don't want to drag your thread off topic, so I will leave it with these two quotes showing why I object to the term "Protestant" in regard to Baptists.

John Clark Ridpath, Methodist, author of that monumental work Ridpath’s History of the World, in a letter to Dr. W.A. Jarrell (Baptist Church Perpetuity, pg. 59) says: “I should not readily admit that there were Baptist churches as far back as A.D. 100, although without doubt there were Baptists then, as all Christians were Baptists.”

Professor Wm. C. Duncan, of the Department of Greek and Latin, University of Louisiana: “Baptists do not, as most Protestant denominations, date their origin from the Reformation of 1520. By means of that great movement they were brought out of comparative obscurity into prominent notice. They did not, however, originate with the Reformation; for long before Luther lived; yea, long before the Catholic Church itself was known, Baptist and Baptist churches flourished in Europe, Asia and Africa.”

Brother Jim Alaska,in another thread, stated the above mentioned two quotes concerning the history of Baptists and the history of the Protestant church movement. I want to thank Jim for the quotes and for allowing me to insert these two quotes onto my "The Local Church" thread.

The quotes from John Clark Ridpath and Professor William C. Duncan are historically correct. Protestant churches came out of the Reformation Movement, typically dated from 1520, of individuals who came out of the Roman Catholic Church and started their own denominational system.

A true genuine local church is not part of any denominational system, originated from the Lord Jesus Christ, John the Baptist (hence the title Baptist), and the apostles, and have the Bible as their guide and final authority in all matters of faith and practice, never came out of the Roman Catholic Church, was in existence (whether acknowledged in a Church History book or not), since the days of the apostles, and should not be referred to as a "Protestant" church.

 

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In looking through my resource material I cam across this article from the US Census that I thought might give a good addition to your local church thread. I will include more as I search for material.

Bureau of Census for 1926 United States Department of Commerce

"It is a distinct principle with Baptists that they acknowledge no human founder, recognize no human authority, and subscribe to no human creed. For all these things, Baptists of every name and order go back to the New Testament. And while no competent Baptist historian assumes to be able to trace a succession of Baptist churches through the ages, most of them are of one accord in believing that, if we could secure the records, there would be found heroic groups of believers in every age who upheld with their testimonies and, in many cases, with their lives, the great outstanding and distinctive principles of the Baptist churches of today."

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Bro. Alan, since this thread has been ongoing for quite some time I thought it may be helpful for those who were not here when this began to link them back to a reply I made early on. If you remember it was the one where I could not post my lesson because of forum formatting messing up my text. You were able to post it in its entirety and the link to it is HERE.

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On 9/13/2018 at 9:35 PM, Alan said:

Omega,

I appreciate your thoughts.

The above quotation from you is the the same thought in one my future lessons on the local church. In one of my previous lessons I mentioned that the Lord Jesus is the invisible head of the local church: Revelation 1:11. Eventually, I hope, we will be discussing that all of the 7 churches in Asia, Revelation 1:11-3:22, were local churches. A lot of the churches in our age, as you said, are "... a little more than social get-togethers." 

I appreciate your comments. They are a helpful addition to this study.

Alan

Brethren,

As I previously mentioned, "...eventually..." we will discuss the 7 churches in Asia as recorded in Revelation 1:11 to chapter 3:22.

I am in the process of starting this study on the 7 churches in Asia.

So, please study Revelation 1:11 to chapter 3:22 in preparation for this study on the local church.

God bless you all.

Alan
 

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Revelation 1:4 & 11, “The Seven Churches in Asia.”

Introduction

“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 1:9

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The Island of Patmos & the 7 Churches in Asia

Courtesy of:

https: //holybooks-lichtenbergpress.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Bible-Atlas.pdf

The book of Revelation is a marvelous, wonderful, and prophetic, book given by inspiration of God. By a careful reading of the visions of the Book of Revelation, and a thorough knowledge and understanding of the Old Testament prophecies, and the New Testament prophecies, a saint can know the correct interpretation of the visions therein and understand the work of God from before  the creation of the universe, to eternity in the New Heaven and the New Earth.

In this study of the local church, we will concentrate on only those passages that pertain to the New Testament church in the following topics: (1) Who the Book of Revelation was written to. (2) Who the Book of Revelation was not written to. (3) The special promise given to all of the churches. (4) The calling out of the New Testament Church from the earth. (5) Specific reasons why the church-age saints are not in the ‘times of Jacob’s trouble,’ or commonly called, ‘The 7-Year Tribulation Period.’

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Who the Book of Revelation was written to.

While imprisoned on the island of Patmos, for his Christian testimony, the apostle John addressed the Book of Revelation to the seven churches in Asia, “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne.” Revelation 1:4

The seven churches in Asia are listed in Revelation 1:11 by the words of the Lord Jesus, “Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.”

The Lord Jesus is very clear that there were seven literal churches in seven literal cities in Asia (called Asia Minor in our age). Concerning the seven churches as spoken by the Lord in Revelation 1:11, John R. Rice states, “These seven churches were literal congregations in seven cites. Of course, all churches and all individuals can get help from the divine revelation here.” i John R. Rice is correct in his comments. Not only were there seven literal congregations, but we, every church and every individual saint, since the time the Book of Revelation was written, can draw help, comfort, admonitions, and direction, from these seven churches as spoken of by the Lord.

In his, Commentary on Revelation, Oliver B. Greene states that the seven churches were local assemblies and were representative of the moral character of the churches throughout the history of the church. Greene states, “The messages to these seven churches were directed to the seven local assemblies there in Asia Minor at the time John received the Revelation; but it is equally clear that they were representative of the whole Church, not only at any given moment during her stay here on earth, but also in the successive moral stages of the history of the Church up to the moment the Church will be caught up to meet the Lord Jesus in the air.”ii

All of the seven churches in Asia members were saints, or, saved people. The book, “The Trail of Blood,” by J. M. Carroll, under the section, “MARKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH,” states, “5. Its members – only saved people. (Eph 2:21; 1 Peter 2:5.).” iii

In Revelation 2:1 through 3:22 it is very clear that all of these seven churches were local in scope and authority and were independent of one another.

All of these churches were under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ as its Head. Concerning Christ being the head of the church, the apostle Paul said, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18

All of these churches were given the task of the transmission of the Book of Revelation. Hence, the scriptures themselves.

Revelation 3:13 states, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” This admonition was given to all of the local churches in every country and in every age. Therefore, every saint, in every church, should carefully hear what the Holy Spirit is saying.

The Lord Jesus is in the midst of the seven churches. “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.” Revelation 1:13

The Lord Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20

 

i Rice, John R., “Behold He Cometh! A Verse-by-Verse Commentary on the Book of Revelation.” (Murfreesboro, TN: Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1977), page 29.

ii Greene, Oliver B., Revelation - Verse by Verse Study, (Greenville, SC: The Gospel Hour, 1968), page 41.

iii Carroll, J. M. The Trail of Blood. n.p., n.d., page 5.

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Who the Book of Revelation was not addressed to.

A careful note of who the Book of Revelation was not addressed to, nor even mentioned, will help us understand Church History, Church Authority, and to whom the Church should avoid.

In my previous study on the book of Titus here on Online Baptist, I had mentioned the biblical definition of the word, ‘Bishop.’ Here is the link to that study:

 

 

 

Here is the quote from the Titus Study on the word, ‘Bishop. “It is also of utmost importance to see that the title of elder, bishop and pastor are interchangeable terms for the same office. Please note in verse 5 Paul states, “... and ordain elders in every city...” then in verse 7, in speaking of the same office, Paul states, “... For a bishop...” And, in talking about the offices of the church, Paul in Ephesians 4:11, says “... pastors and teachers.” Please note that Paul said in Ephesians 4:11 “...pastors...” instead of the word bishop or elder for the same office.”

B. H. Carroll said, “To effectually bring about and consummate this unholy union [ a union of Church and State ], a council was called. In A. D. 313, a call was made for a coming together of the Christian churches or their representatives. Many but not all came. The alliance was consummated. A Hierarchy was formed. In the organization of the Hierarchy, Christ was dethroned as head of the churches and Emperor Constantine enthroned (only temporarily, however) as head of the church.” 1

The current tradition of having bishops or elders, like the Catholic, Presbyterian, Mormon, and other denominations, over several churches is not of the Lord. It is a tradition of man. It is not a New Testament doctrine or tradition. The creation of a religious hierarchy takes away the Lord Jesus from being the head of the church to man being the authority. Instead of following the scriptures, the pastor of the local church has to follow the dictates of the organization. Instead of the local church members owning the property, and the contents of the church, the denomination owns the property and the contents of the church. Instead of following the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the pastor and the members, must follow the leadership of the denomination and follow the religious teachings of the denomination.

Since the formation of a church hierarchy, starting with the Roman Catholic Church, the definition and office of the Bishop was changed from being the pastor of one local church to the overseer of numerous churches in an given region in order to control the local church. In this study we will call the denominational term for a Bishop as, ‘denominational Bishop.’

The Book of Revelation was not written to a denominational Bishop.

The Book of Revelation was not written to a denomination.

The Book of Revelation was not written to any religious hierarchy of any sort.

Also, there is not book in the New Testament that was addressed to, or even mentioned about, a denominational Bishop, a denomination, or a religious hierarchy of any sort. In the Body of Christ, in a local church, there are no denominational bishops, denominations, or a religious hierarchy. All of the denominational bishops, denominations, and religious hierarchies, are man-made institutions.

1Carroll, J. M., The Trail of Blood. n. p., n.d., page 16.

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The Special Promise Given to All of the churches.”

In Revelation 2:1 to 3:22 we have the record of the apostle, and prophet, John giving both admonitions, rebukes, and promises to the Seven Churches in Asia. These seven churches, or individual congregations, or individual assemblies, are ‘representative’ churches of the entire, ‘dispensation of the grace of God,’ or, ‘the Church Age.’ All of the admonitions, rebukes, and promises are, in some manner or in spirit, given to all of the churches throughout the church age.

Even though some of the incidents, or problems, or difficulties, or rebukes, or tribulations, may not apply directly to all of the churches, all of the churches are admonished to hear what the ‘Spirit saith.’ We can learn, from all of these concerns, and apply them to our lives. All of the saints, in every church, can become an overcomer and be a partaker of the promises given to each assembly.

Please take note. Concerning the special promise, it was given to, ‘all of the churches;’ not ‘church,’ singular but, ‘churches,’ plural.

To the church at Ephesus we read, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7

To the church at Smyrna we read, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” Revelation 2:11

To the church at Pergamos we read, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it.” Revelation 2:17

To the church at Thyatira we read, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 2:29

To the church at Sardis we read, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 3:6

The apostle John, as a prophet, prophesied, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10). The phrase, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth,’ is a reference to the wrath of God poured out throughout the entire world during the 7-Year Tribulation Period, (Revelation 6:1 to 19:21).

The apostle Paul stated, 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” Every Christian has the promise of escaping the the time of the world-wide wrath of God upon the Earth that will occur during the 7-Year Tribulation Period as written in Revelation 6:1-19:21.

Greek meanings for, ‘the hour of temptation’

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible has this definition for the Greek word hour as used in Revelation 3:10: Strong’s Number: “5610. ὣρα h̄ora, ho’-rah; appar. a prim. word; an “hour” (lit. or fig.): - day, hour, instant, season, x short, [even-] tide, (high) time.” i

Thus, the ‘hour’ in Revelation 3:10 could easily mean a period of time, as in, ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble.’ Jeremiah 30:7, “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible has this definition for the Greek word temptation as used in Revelation 3:10: Strong’s Number: “3986. πειρασμόϛ p̆eirasm̌os, pi-ras-mos’; from 3985; a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by impl. adversity; - temptation, x try.ii

Since Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance referenced Number 3985 'try,' and the meaning has a  direct bearing on explaining the meaning of, temptation, we will give that reference also in order to give the complete biblical meaning of Revelation 3:10: “3985. πειάξ p̆eiraz̄o, pi-rad’-zo; from 3984; to test (obj.),i.e. endeavor, scrutinize, entice, discipline: assay, examine, go about, prove, tempt (-er), x try.” iii Please take careful note that within the definition of temptation it mentions to try, or scrutinize, or to prove, or to assay (as gold and silver is assayed.)

In Zechariah 13:8-9, in a prophetic reference to the time when God will permit the anti-Christ, during his 7-Year reign on the earth, to kill two-thirds of the Jewish race during the horrors of the Tribulation Period, and to show why God allows the destruction, the prophet Jeremiah states, “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, the LORD is my God.” Zechariah 13:8. God, is using the horrific reign of the anti-Christ to prove, or try, or assay as one would assay gold and silver through the fire in order to refine the remnant of Jews.

In 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 the apostle Paul is very clear that the saints in the church age will stand before the, “Judgment Seat of Christ,” to be refined as gold and silver is refined and assayed in order to prove their worth. “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble. Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.(1 Corinthians 3:12-15). The Lord Jesus is going to assay, or refine, as gold and silver is refined, the saints in heaven at the Judgment Seat of Christ; not on the earth during the 7-Year Tribulation Period.

Thus, the 7-year Tribulation Period is a time of temptation, or to try, or to prove, the inhabitants of the earth by the fiery trials of the anti-Christ for 7 years. Therefore, the saints in the church age are given a promise not to go through, ‘the hour of temptation.’

Most Bible believers, and an ear-mark of traditional independent Baptists, readily admit that God, through the prophet John and the apostle Paul, promised that the church age saints will escape the time of wrath when God is ‘to try’ the entire inhabitants of the world. On his comments on Revelation 3:10, Oliver B. Greene states, “All outstanding, fundamental, evangelistic, Bible-believing teachers and preachers believe and teach that “the hour of temptation” mentioned here is the Great Tribulation known in the Old Testament as “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” iv

H. A. Ironside, on his comments on Revelation 3:10 stated, “The promise of verse 10, like all of the promises to these different churches, is for every true child of God. “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” This is the Lord’s own pledge to those who love His name and seek to keep His words: they shall not be left down here to pass through the appalling Tribulation, which is just ahead of those who “dwell upon the earth.” i

i Ironside, H. A., An Ironside Expository Commentary – Revelation, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1920, Reprint, 2004), page 45-46.

In his notes on Revelation 3:7-13, “The Church at Philadelphia,” Clarence Larkin states, “It was to be kept from the “Hour of Temptation” (TRIBULATION), that shall come upon ALL THE WORLD, and as there has never as yet been a WORLDWIDE Tribulation, this “Hour of Tribulation” must still be future and refers doubtless to the “Great Tribulation” that is to come upon the “whole world,” just before the return of the Lord to set up His Millennial Kingdom, and as the promise is that the “Philadelphia Church” shall not pass through the Tribulation, is not this additional proof that the Church shall be “caught out” before the Tribulation?” v

To the church at Philadelphia we read, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Revelation 3:13). Even though the church at Laodicea was backslidden, rebuked with no commendation at all, was so vile that the saints were as spittle spewed out of the mouth of the Lord Jesus, and the Lord Jesus was outside of the church knocking on the door, we still read of this wonderful, marvelous, promise given to the faithless assembly, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Revelation 3:23). The saints at the Laodicean Church, even though backslidden, had the promise of escaping, ‘the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth,’

It is a great comfort to know that the Lord promised to protect all of the saved church age saints from ‘the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth.’ The Second Coming of Christ for the church age saints, as revealed by Paul the apostle in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, is a great comfort to all of us. “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:18

i Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, hour, Strong’s Number 5610, (New York: Abingdon Press, 1890).

ii Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, temptation, Strong’s Number 3986, (New York: Abingdon Press, 1890).

iii Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, try, Strong’s Number 3985, (New York: Abingdon Press, 1890).

iv Greene, Oliver B., Revelation - Verse by Verse Study, (Greenville, SC: The Gospel Hour, 1968), page 125.

v Larkin, Clarence, The Book of Revelation, (Glenside, PA: The Rev. Clarence Larkin Estate, 1919), page 26.

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I would like to add the following quote by Missionary, and Author, David Cloud, and his observations on Revelation 3:10.

In his fine exposition of the Seven churches in Asia, in his comments on the church at Philadelphia, Revelation 3:7-13, and then specifically Revelation 3:10, David Cloud observes, “This depicts the remnant of sound churches that remain true to God until the Rapture. From the fact that Jesus’ promise to the church of Philadelphia obviously looks beyond anything that was experienced in that church historically and can only apply directly to churches existing at the time of the Rapture (“I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth,” Rev. 3:10), we see that there will be Philadelphia churches existing in the darkest hours at the end of the church age.” 1

Also, David Cloud offers a free PDF version of, ‘The Seven Churches in Asia,’ at the following website link: https://www.wayoflife.org/free_ebooks/seven_churches_of_revelation.php

I would encourage all of you to obtain a copy of this fine exposition of, ‘The Seven Churches in Asia.’

 

1 Cloud, David, The Seven Churches of Revelation, (Port Huron, MI: Way of Life literature, 2010), page 14-15.

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In connection to the churches, the saints in the church age, not going through the, 'hour of temptation,' given in Revelation 3:10, the following is an addition to the material in my lesson on, "The Special Promises Given to All of the Churches."

The Hour of Temptation for the Church-Age Saints

The hour, or time, or season of the temptation, or the testing, or the trials, of the church-age saints, is during the church age and ceases at the appearing of the Lord Jesus for the church in the rapture. In speaking to the saints in the various churches the Apostle Peter comforts the saints in the time of their persecution that our inheritance is in heaven and that our hour of temptation ends at the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:4-7

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Posted (edited)

Brethren,

The lesson on, "The Calling Out of the New Testament Church from the Earth," is more lengthy than I can do in one lesson. So, this is lesson "a."

Alan

Revelation 1:4 & 11, “The Calling Out of the New Testament Church From the Earth.”Lesson #: "a"

According to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 the day is coming when the Lord Jesus will call out, to gather, to assemble, His saints, from the dead or those alive, from off the earth to meet Him in the clouds in the air. “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

This event in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is commonly called the, ‘Rapture.’ First Thessalonians 4:13-18 is very clear that the Lord Jesus is not coming to the Earth; He is only coming in the air and will be observed by only the dead saints raised from the dead and the live saints when He comes.

The ‘calling out of the saints from the earth’ to assemble His church in the air is similar to the, calling out of the assembly of the saints, the local church in Jerusalem, to witness the rising of the Lord Jesus into heaven as recorded in Acts 1:1-12. In Acts 1:4 we find out, “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.” The Lord Jesus called the saints from the Jerusalem church to assemble in the outskirts of Jerusalem, on Mt. Olivet, to give last minute instructions and to witness His ascension into heaven.

Just a very short time previously, as recorded in Matthew 24:1-31, Mark 13:1-37, and Luke 21:5-38, the Lord Jesus prophesied of the coming events, the coming signs, the seasons, of the events of the great tribulation and His coming again as KING OF KING AND LORD OF LORDS as recorded in Revelation chapter 6:1 to chapter 19:21 in order to set up the restored kingdom of Israel. The prophecy of Matthew 24:1-31, Mark 13:1-37, and Luke 21:5-38, includes various cataclysmic signs and for the Jewish disciples to specifically look for, the abomination of desolation,’ (the anti-Christ).

In his, Overview of Matthew 24,Dr. David H. Sorenson makes these crucial observations, “Several helpful keys to understanding the Olivet Discourse are to remember that (1) Matthew’s gospel was written for the Jewish mind. (2) The church is not directly in view in the Olivet Discourse. It already has been raptured to heaven. Rather, the focus is upon Israel during the Tribulation. (3) The Rapture has already taken place prior to the events discussed here. References to the coming of Christ are of His second coming in power and glory at the end of the Tribulation. The perspective of the entire discourse is of Israel as they are converted to Christ during this time of great confusion and judgement.” i

Furthermore, in the Old Testament prophets, the prophets prophesied that one day the Messiah would visit Israel and restore, after the repentance of the people, the kingdom of Israel. The detailed, literal, tangible, and physical, restoration of the nation of Israel was foretold by Moses, King David,Malachi Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and in type by Joseph in Egypt, King David and King Solomon. So, naturally, the assembled saints asked, “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? Acts 1:6

The Lord Jesus specifically stated, after the saints asked when the Lord would restore the kingdom of Israel (as promised by the Old Testament prophets), that the assembled saints were not given one sign to look for the coming of Christ to restore the kingdom to Israel. The Lord Jesus told the assembly of saints, “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Acts 1:7

In his comments on Acts 1:10 & 11, Oliver B. Greene makes this summation, “We must not confuse the two stages of the second coming: First, Jesus will come in the Rapture to receive His saints, and all believers will be caught up in the clouds to meet Him in the air. Then, He will come WITH His saints to reign here on earth for one thousand years. The hope of the Church is the RAPTURE – the time when we will be caught up to meet Jesus. His return “in like manner” as He ascended will be His coming to the nation Israel, in that glorious day when He will stand on the Mount of Olives just outside Jerusalem.” ii

In his comments on Acts 1: 7, Dr. David H. Sorenson states, “Jesus gently chided His eager disciples, pointing out to them that knowing the time and dates when these things would come to pass was not in their purview. That was reserved unto the Father. That truth remains to this day. Beware of date setters.” iii

Therefore, the signs of thetimes or the seasons,’ and the admonition to to look for the anti-Christ as given in Matthew 24:1-31, Mark 13:1-37, and Luke 21:5-38, are not given to the church. The saints in the local New Testament church are not to look for the ‘signs and the seasons,’ or the anti-Christ, or any other sign; we are to look for Christ and not the anti-Christ. In fact, as with Dr. Sorenson, the saints in the New Testament church should beware of date setters and those who confuse the events of the Olivet Discourse and make them applicable to the saints in the church age.

Furthermore, we read, “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” As the saints were assembled when the Lord Jesus rose into the clouds, heaven above, so will the saints, dead and alive, assemble when the Lord Jesus comes into the clouds and calls us home to be with Him forever more. When the Lord Jesus returns for His assembly He will appear in the clouds as He left.

Please take careful note. Only the saints witnessed the ascension of the Lord Jesus into the air. The lost; the religious lost and the worldly lost, did not witness the ascension of Christ. The ascension of Christ into heaven is in the manner of the coming of Christ, as a thief, for the saints in the church. The lost majority of the people are not going to witness the coming of Christ when He calls us out of this planet we call earth. In Revelation 1:7 we clearly see that the entire world will witness the return of Christ, “Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” And, in Revelation 19:11-21 the Lord Jesus is clearly seen by the entire world. Therefore, the manner of the coming of Christ, the rapture, for the church as recorded in Acts 1:1-12, is not the same coming of Christ as recorded in Revelation 1:7 and 19:11-21

Furthermore, the coming of Christ, the rapture, can happen at any time, or is ‘imminent,’ and will take place before any of the events, or signs, take place as recorded in Matthew 24:1-31, Mark 13:1-37, and Luke 21:5-38.

The ascension of Christ as witnessed by the saints assembled on the Mount of Olives was a time of unique blessing. As the assembled saints left the Mount of Olives, to this day, the Second Coming of Christ for the church age saints is a ‘blessed hope’ in the hearts of all the saints. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13

i Sorenson, David H., Dr., Understanding the Bible – Commentary - Matthew, (Duluth, MN: Northstar Ministries, 2007), page 252.

ii Greene, Oliver B., The Acts of the Apostles, Vol. 1, (Greenville, SC: The Gospel Hour, 1968). page 39.

iii Sorenson, David H., Dr., Understanding the Bible – Commentary - Acts, (Duluth, MN: Northstar Ministries, 2007), page 297.

Edited by Alan
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I have been reading, "Lectures on the Book of Revelation," by William Kelly. I would like to recommend Kelly's book, "Lectures on the Book of Revelation" to all my friends here on Online Baptist.

I will be adding the following quote by William Kelly when he commented on Revelation 3:10 to, "The Special Promise Given to all the Churches," lesson.

William Kelly – Kelly’s books are available at the Internet Archive at the "Internet Archive" website:

https://archive.org/details/lecturesonbook00kell

William Kelly in his, Lectures on the Book of Revelation, alludes to the fact that when God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Genesis 19:23-25, that Abraham was a type of the saint that was kept from the destruction during that time of destruction or, ‘hour of temptation.’ It must also be noted that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is a type of the world that is corrupted by its own sins of the flesh and which God destroys in the 7-Year Tribulation Period and later when He destroys the whole world by fire (2 Peter 3:10-13).

William Kelly states, “Ours is the place of Abraham. He had not to fly to go to a little Zoar like Lot, who was saved indeed out of the judgment, but not much to his honour. The Lord had a heavenly-minded saint, as well as an earthly-minded one. Abraham was not in the sphere of that temptation at all. So the church will be kept from the coming hour. This is our confidence – not merely preserved in or through it, but “from” it.” 1

1 Kelly, William, Lectures on the Book of Revelation, (London: W. H. Broom, 1871), p.78.

 

 

 

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