LEARN CHRIST FROM THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS Commentaries:
Volume 2: Christ for Individuals, the NT books from the Apostle John of Revelation, the Gospel of John, and 3 epistles of John.
To LEARN Christ is to learn Truth from Jesus, who said “I am the way, the truth, and the life”; from God the Heavenly Father, the Creator of all; and from the Bible, God’s Great Design in a Book. Not even family is more important than the Truth of Jesus, God, and the Bible; as a matter of fact that also defines love for God more than family, country, and all. Jesus said, “He that does not love me more than father and mother is not worthy of me.”
Also Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and the second is like it you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Volumes can be written on “who is my neighbor”, but Jesus defined it as someone you see, that is in need, and you are able to help. However, the emphasis here is that this love is second, the prime love and loyalty is for God and His Truth, the truth “once for all given to the saints” in the literal Bible of II Peter 1:20.21, the ASPI version of the Bible.
Copyright by SunGrist November, 2004
Introduction to Christ for Individuals
The contemporary gap between Christ and church membership should be obvious to all. It hardly matters which church or denomination as you look at church members around you, and then look at the Christ of the Bible and the teachings of Christ, there is little similarity. The discouraging aspect of the gap is that it is getting larger each year. That means that it is diverging; and if it is diverging, it is conceivable that shortly the churches and Christ will be going in opposite directions. Horrible, yes; but what is the answer. What is the cure for this obvious and serious problem that has gripped the world of Christians?
The answer is for church members to Learn Christ. Which Christ? The Christ from the apostles and prophets of the Bible.
If one passage of the Bible were chosen as a gist or theme for this set of Bible commentaries, LEARN CHRIST FROM THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS, it would be Ephesians 2:19-22.
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:1922 NJKV)
I know the classic reply for church leaders. “No human can be perfect”, and “at least they are trying.”
No, that is the point: church members are not trying. They are doing what they want to do. They are not making positive efforts to be like Christ and to be like God, which is demanded in the Bible from the apostles and prophets. The description of what is presently happening to church members is like the description from the Apostle Paul in II Timothy 4:3,4:
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers, and they will turn their ears from the truth…” (II Timothy 4:3,4 NJKV)
You see it is no longer a negative thing of “we are trying…our heart is in the right place…but we just cannot reach perfection.” No, that is not it! It is a positive matter of first, a lack of tolerance for sound doctrine–church members will not listen to sound doctrine, church members will not go to hear sound doctrine, and church members will not tolerate preachers and teachers who preach sound doctrine. Church members, according to the Apostle Paul’s description, are motivated not by any effort to be like Christ and any effort at perfection, but are motivated by their own human desires; that is, “according to their own desires,” and “because they have itching ears.” In short, church members are doing what they want to do and they are believing what they want to believe. What they want to believe is things that will tickle their ears. Things that will give them pleasure like, “nobody is perfect” and “you are the people of God”, and “at least you are trying”. Maybe 20 or 30 years ago that was true; but not now. And the apex of the gap in Paul’s description is that they pile up or heap to themselves teachers. It is much like building a dirt fortress or batiment around themselves in order to protect themselves from sound doctrine. They buy books from teachers that feed their desires; they run off teachers and preachers that offend their itching ears with the truth; and they call as pastors, teachers, and administrators those “teachers” that will teach according to their own desires.
The whole motivation is to turn away from the truth. Now, brother, that is a positive thing. It takes a lot of effort for so-called “Christians” to turn away from the truth of the Bible. It takes a lot of effort for church members to cease to Learn Christ; and in the place of learning Christ to learn some kind of church membership that is based on “desires” and “itching ears”. Some today, like among Presbyterians, are worried about an intolerance caused by the preaching of Christ as the only way of salvation. Brothers, you had better be concerned about the intolerance of sound doctrine that is growing.
Being the third volume of the LEARN Christ commentaries, it is centered around the five books of the Apostle John with the emphasis on the book of Revelation. This approach helps to support the title theme of “Christ for Individuals”. As churches and denominations are “falling away” from God, Christ, and the Bible (not falling away from churches as church attendance may actually go up during the falling away), it is important that the few sound doctrine church members remaining of the seven Christian thousand adopt to themselves the Christ of the individual that is presented in Revelation 2-3.
The approach to the eschatology of Revelation is simple. The outline is taken from the teachings of Jesus as given in Matthew 24 with the major divisions of the History of Christianity all the way to the end given by the natural divisions of “and then”: (1) Beginning of Sorrows; (2) Period of Persecution Tribulation (the tribulation of the fourth period is primarily physical tribulation and from God as the heavens and earth fall apart, the shaking of heaven and earth); (3) The Period of Offences, often the most neglected, when God’s people are offended by sound doctrine, betray and hate one another; and (4) The period of the Falling away which includes lawlessness and all the end time events. Remember, however, that whatever is in one period continues into the other periods.
Chapter 1: Eschatology in the Book of Revelation.
Since we have already made inroads and progress on last things and since that is what most people think of in Revelation, we will continue from the last chapter of volume 1 (“Eschatology in the Old Testament”) with the eschatological aspects of Revelation. Later we will have the more pleasant surprises of the timely messages of Revelation that deal with our churches and our lives today! Let us first survey such passages in the book of Revelation, then we will go back to review, highlight, and reinforce what was found on last things from the Prophets in volume 1 of the LEARN CHRIST COMMENTARIES. About the most serious mistake people make on eschatology and the book of Revelation is to study it isolated. In other words, come to the book of Revelation and treat it as isolated from the rest of the truth of the Bible. We will not do that. Remember, we are looking for truth from the Apostles and Prophets, and the consistent truth for ALL the Apostles and Prophets. We will find the consistency between the eschatology of Revelation and the eschatology of the Prophets, between the Apostles and Prophets and Jesus.
1-1: Last Things (eschatology) passages in the book of Revelation.
NOTE: As you will see in this commentary, the book of Revelation is far from being a book only abut last things or eschatology. It should be apparent to you that this is an elaboration on the Day of the LORD of the Old Testament and the Day of the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament, the same Day or period of time. Like with the Hebrew word for Day, it can be a period of time.
- The opening of the Seven Seals, Revelation 6,7. There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that the events of Revelation 6 and 7 deal with the very end times.
- If you wish you can as usual with SunGrist free download this chapter, Introduction to Christ for Individuals, at http://www.sungrist.org/IntoChristForIndividuals.pdf .
2. If you need a paperback copy you can find at several bookstores like Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, Able, Half Price and so on. Of course, only on Amazon can you get both a Paperback and a Kindle. All the competitors are appreciated for the expanded distribution all over the world, especially in the UK; however if you want the profit to go to the writer, Jerry McMichael at SunGrist, then please order the Prime copy and format.