Heavenly creatures

Do you believe there are animals in the Kingdom of Heaven?  Let’s imagine we can have a peek in the Kingdom from the Bible.  Here’s the throne of God, with a floor of sapphire, and encircled by an emerald rainbow.

In front of the throne on what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the centre, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.” Revelation 4:6

Covered with eyes?  I can’t really picture it.  The creatures described in Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4 aren’t like anything we have on earth.

Perhaps God has tried to show us with the peacock!

peacock-new-zealand_10933_990x742

The Hebrew word for eyes is ‘ayin‘ which represents consciousness – the idea of seeing and watching as well as knowledge.  Here in this world, our animals eyes show innocence, the innocence of our lost Eden.  Before the throne of God, I can imagine their innocent eyes reveal intelligence and spiritual insight.

These creatures are in the midst of the throne so we can see that God has his companion creatures, just as we do.

The living creatures are of four types, and of four in number.  Four is the “earth number,” for they have something to do with the earth. “They wait in eager expectation for children of God to be revealed.” Romans 8:19.

Animals have a soul.  God had given his creatures breath, “ruach”, a soul – just as man has been given breath, a soul.  “In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”  Job 12:10

Does God care about our animals?  I’d say yes, for he writes that a righteous man cares for the needs of his animal.” (Proverbs 12:10). He cares about us all.

He watches over them.  Jesus said “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  Matthew 10:29

job-12-10-cat-550x320

The animals belong to God, and he knows each one.  “Every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.”  Psalms 50:10-11

It says in Revelation 4:11 that God created all things, and they were created for his pleasure.

Although the creatures are God’s, God placed them under Adam’s dominion.  After the fall of man, all creation suffered when the Earth came under a curse.

Job, the oldest book in the Bible deals with suffering.  Job spoke of the life of the creatures and the breath of all mankind being in God’s hand.  He said, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you.”  Job 12:7-10

The creatures can’t tell us, but they have this hope of being released from suffering. They’re looking forward to the day when they can join us in the new Kingdom, where there will be no more death or suffering.

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Romans 8:19-22

All creatures will be brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God when God’s Kingdom comes.

The wolf will live with the lamb, 
the leopard will lie down with the goat, 
the calf and the lion and the yearling together; 
and a little child will lead them.
Isaiah 11:6

Cat & Psalm 23

The trap in the ground, and the trumpet in the sky

richter-scale“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” The King asked by way of reply to my question about the shaking New Zealand has been experiencing.

I keep an eye on signs.  I discern things.  That’s my gift.  Not that I always get it right.  I check what I see with the Bible. And I ask God questions.

“Are the earthquakes we’ve been experiencing since 2011 about sin?” I asked doubtfully.

The day before the Kaikoura earthquake Brian Tamaki, the self-appointed bishop of Destiny Church said, “the earth convulses under the weight of certain human sin … Massive earthquakes have already hit in Christchurch and you could have just about predicted that one.”  The next day he was a  prophet in big trouble with the gay community who didn’t like what he said.

Well, he detected something, but he was off target.  We’ve always had sin.  It’s a worldwide problem.  All that kind of talk does is make God look like a smiter who likes to thump people!  Not helpful.

God walks a fine line between staying his hand and meting out justice.  I wish people would stop seeing Him as ‘the almighty smiter.’ He is a just God.  When God’s people refuse to heed His Word, He brings a just and curative discipline upon them.  In this instance, I see His mercy and His appeal for us to see the signs and hear what He has to say.

“No.  It’s the land.  I am warning about the land …” the Lord said, tracing the number two into our shaken country.  Two huge earthquakes happened simultaneously, involving two different plates. Two earthquakes, at two minutes after midnight, that lasted two minutes, with two people dead, affecting two islands (the North and South Island), and to top if off the land underwent a two metre shift south of Marlborough.

The scientists said they’d never seen anything like it.

Also, rare events surrounded that quake.  There was a super moon (not that we saw it) and eerie strange flashing lights across the horizon in Wellington while the earth shook.  It made me think of lights flashing at a railway crossing.  And After the earthquake, a huge storm struck the Wellington area.  It was seriously weird.

I’d taken God’s warning to be about the land in New Zealand.

“It’s APEC, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade agreement. That’s what it is!!” I thought, thinking of the APEC meeting the globalists were all going to later that week.  If you read my previous blog post from November, you will see why I was focusing on that. Over the years APEC economic development has worsened poverty and inequality while strengthening corporate power.

“But what’s with the pattern of ‘two’s’ in this latest earthquake?” I asked.

Lion roaring, illustration for book about Aslan“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” God asked before showing me a lion roaring unseen from a thicket, an eagle swooping, a trap springing from the ground, and a trumpet sounding in a city.

“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?”
Does a lion roar in the thicket when it has no prey?
Does it growl in its den when it has caught nothing?
Does a bird swoop down to a trap on the ground when no bait is there?
Does a trap spring up from the ground if it has not caught anything?
When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble?
When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?
Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.”
Amos 3:3-7

I can see what TWO meant now.  US Secretary of State John Kerry and NZ prime minister John Key were meeting about Israel before Donald Trump took power. “The land” God referred to wasn’t just our land, it was the covenant land of Israel … and the TWO State Solution.  NZ put forward a motion in the UN Security Council on the 23rd of December 2016. It criticized Israel’s settlement in East Jerusalem, commonly referred to as the West Bank.  That meeting led to the Paris peace conference three weeks later on the 15th January 2017.

If I’d been serving up coffee at that meeting, I would have been asking “would you like a cup of trembling with that?”

I am going to show you the bird swooping to the ground, explain the trap, and you will hear a trumpet sounding in a city.

The trap

israelThe peace talks are a trap.  Fatah (Palestinian West Bank) and Hamas (Gaza) are likely to use whatever land they can gain as a base from which they and their friends plan to topple the Jewish state and evict all Jews from the land.  If I am wrong, why did Hamas launch missiles from Gaza the minute Israel surrendered that land for peace?

This Two State Solution was hammered out in Paris without agreement from Israel. It was shameful.

“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?”

For the last two years, New Zealand has been complicit in this. It started in 2014 when NZ bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.

weta-eagle-landed

Does a bird swoop down to a trap on the ground when no bait is there? Amos 3:5

The bird swoop

During an earthquake in the same year, a giant eagle commemorating the Hobbit movie swung wildly from side to side in Wellington Airport’s international terminal before crashing to the ground. The eagle ‘crash’ landed on Wellington anniversary day.  The quake was centered 138 km away in Eketahuna, a small town occasionally used in conversation to represent “the real New Zealand.”

Fortunately, the one-tonne eagle didn’t land on anyone.  If the bird swooping down was a warning from Amos, where was the bait?

The bait

In 2015 NZ attempted to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations by using our position on the UN Security Council, causing Israel to send a blunt message to us: Don’t try to renew peace talks.

The trumpet

When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble?

On September 30th, 2016 more than 70 world leaders gathered in Israel for the funeral of Shimon Peres. The following day witnesses heard strange shofar (ram’s horn trumpet) sounds coming from the sky in Jerusalem and observed the appearance of a perfect circle of clouds. See the videos below.

The next day, October 2nd, Rosh Hashanah, called the  Feast of Trumpets began.  In contrast, here’s a video of the Shofar being blown at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem during the Feast of Trumpets on October 3rd, 2016.  As you can hear, the sky shofar is a lot louder.

Disaster

A month later, on the 9th of November 2016, US Secretary of State John Kerry quietly slipped into New Zealand. We were surprised at the timing because it was election day in the US.

Then he flew from Christchurch to Antarctica.  Kerry arrived back in NZ three days later for a two-day stopover in order to meet Prime Minister John Key and Foreign Minister Murray McCully.  They met on the 13th November to discuss “particularly matters currently before the United Nations Security Council, including the Syria crisis.”  What got decided in that meeting?

That scheming had barely ended when at two minutes after midnight on the 14th November 2016 NZ was struck by the massive 7.8 earthquakes. This time there was damage in Wellington, and Kaikoura was devastated.

When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?  Amos 3:6

newzealand-quake

NZ shaking

Three years after our one-tonne eagle swooped to the ground, and two months after the latest earthquake, more than seventy nations met in Paris regarding dividing the land on the 15th January 2017.

Hours before the council met to discuss the resolution, Israeli media reported that an anonymous Israeli official had accused Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry of scheming behind Israel’s back to push a resolution through condemning Israel’s settlement in East Jerusalem, commonly referred to as the West Bank.

Now Israel fears a fresh UN initiative after the Paris conference.  I am not surprised.

The rock

There is a proverb that says If you set a trap for others, you will get caught in it yourself. If you roll a boulder down on others, it will crush you instead.” Proverbs 26:27

boulder

The boulder reminds me of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the final empire in Daniel 2 when a rock not cut by human hands struck the final empire on its feet, breaking it all to pieces and blowing it away like chaff before the wind.

“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.  Daniel 2:45

God also said I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.” Zechariah 12:2

Here’s to the Kingdom to come, the Kingdom that will never be destroyed, the Kingdom of God.  May His Kingdom come, may His will be done.

There is a battle going on right now in the heavenly realms, and the signs are manifesting here on earth.

Jesus said, “upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”  Matthew 16:16.

As Christians and members of the church built and headed up by Jesus Christ, will we join the struggle and stand with Israel?  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Ephesians 6:12.

We need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, as commanded in Psalm 122.

psalm-122


2numbertwoincircleFurther to the word I’d been given from Amos 3“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” the Lord gave me a second word, from Psalm 2.

It’s God scoffing at the nations who conspire against Him.  They’ve earned His derision.

Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles …”
Psalm 2:1-3.

I recommend reading the rest of it in Psalm 2.

The King he will install on Zion, his holy mountain is His Son.

Here’s another blog that deals with the subject of Psalm 2 and the UN: The United Nations of Psalm 2: The Great Hope of the New Age


Links

Israeli ambassador to New Zealand recalled after UN security resolution

Israel fears fresh UN initiative after Paris conference

France, America and New Zealand – Get Ready for God’s Response to Dividing the Land.  Michael Snyder on Jim Bakker show.

Warning to New Zealand don’t touch Israel

Opinion: Resolution 2334 – Preserving the two state solution.  As published in the New Zealand Herald on 12 January 2017;  “At the heart of this whole debate is whether we will see a future in which two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace and security.”

The early church wanted to know the times and dates for when Jesus would return.  This term “peace and security” was given as a sign before the Lord’s sudden return;  “Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.  1 Thessalonians 5

TIMELINE

US Secretary of State John Kerry led the most recent attempt at brokering a final peace agreement in Israel.  Those talks broke down in 2014.

2014 NZ makes a bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.

On Wellington Anniversary Day, the Weta bird crashes to the floor at the Wellington airport.

2015 The NZ government in Wellington has been attempting to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations by using its position as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.  Israel sends blunt message to New Zealand: Don’t try to renew peace talks

30 Sept 2016 Shimon Peres funeral held in Jerusalem.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2016/sep/30/shimon-peres-funeral-in-pictures

Obama attended the memorial service.  The White House amended the transcript of Obama’s eulogy of Shimon Peres, crossing “Israel” out with a line after naming the city of Jerusalem.

1 October 2016 Sky trumpet (Shofar) sound over Jerusalem
This event occurred on October 1, in Jerusalem where witnesses heard the strange trumpet sounds and observed the appearance in the sky of a perfect circle of clouds.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F06QKIzcB74
http://strangesounds.org/2016/10/strange-sounds-and-weird-sky-in-jerusalem-video.html

14 November 2016 – A 7.8 magnitude hits NZ, damaging Kaikoura and Wellington.

23 December 2016 – UN resolution 2334.  In another step toward carving up Israel and forcing a “solution” NZ put forward a motion in the UN Security Council criticizing Israel’s settlement in East Jerusalem, commonly referred to as the West Bank.

24th December 2016 “DECLARATION OF WAR”: NETANYAHU ISSUES BOLD THREAT TO COUNTRY THAT BETRAYED ISRAEL AT U.N.2016.  Israeli ambassador recalled from New Zealand after UN resolution.
This reporter is bemused about Israel declaring war on NZ.

15th January 2017, over 70 nations meet at the Middle East peace conference in Paris regarding dividing the land.  The final communique of the Middle East peace conference held in Paris shied away explicitly from criticising plans by US president-elect Donald Trump to move the American embassy to Jerusalem and said a new conference would be held by year-end for interested parties.  http://www.thenational.ae/world/middle-east/peace-talks-in-paris-deliver-warning-to-israel-and-trump

A great site for Christian authors and readers

harvestHere’s an excellent site, Reality Calling for Christian authors and readers working in the harvest field.

They want to encourage authors to participate in the final harvest as we prepare for the Coming of our King.

They say “it’s a glorious time to be alive and the Lord is looking for authors to help Him save all possible before the Wrath which is to come falls on the Earth.”

They also need and serve readers.  Their vision is to provide resources for Christian authors and readers, focusing on God’s call, the production of anointed materials, and vetted book reviews.

Christian authors and readers are both essential to their effort!

I highly recommend them.  http://radiqx.com/


Books are a brilliant non-threatening way to reach people if it’s quality, redemptive fiction.  So we don’t have to be a writer for this task, just a reader who likes reading and loaning books!

As a writer, their vision matches mine because I write for the sheep without a shepherd.

harvest-016

Lord Of The Harvest

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
Ask the Lord of the Harvest therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Matthew 9:37-38

That widow who never gave up

This means warI’ve been asking the Lord what he meant by the question he asked “When the son of man returns, will he find faith?  Luke 18:8.

When Jesus asked this question, he’d been describing a courageous, indomitable widow who did not give up her petition for justice.  ‘Grant me justice against my adversary,’ she petitioned the judge in Luke 18:3.  He used her to show us what prevailing prayer looks like,

He told me to read the parable.  It’s been another parable I didn’t like because it left me wondering whether God was like the judge.  But after asking the question about what he meant by faith, I could see he wanted us to look at the widow.

War RoomHe confirmed by sending me to see a movie last night called “The war room.”  Now I had no idea what it was about.  The way it started off, I thought it was going to be a war movie.  No, it was about a widow, a prayer warrior who befriended a younger woman and taught her how to pray without giving up.

This is what this widow prayed;

Raise them Lord that will call upon your name.
Raise those who love you and seek you and trust you.
Lord, we need an army of believers who will stand upon your word above all else.
Raise up warriors Lord, who will fight on their knees, who will worship you with their whole hearts Lord.
Lord, call us to battle, that we may proclaim King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
I pray these things with all my heart.
Raise them up Lord, raise them up!

This is the kind of faith he’s looking for when he returns. This is what God’s army looks like.

The movie was held in a secular movie theatre, and when it ended, the audience clapped.  This is the kind of faith the world respects.

It’s challenged me.  I recommend you go see this movie.

The rider on the white horse

Horse-homage

WWI soldiers shown paying homage to their equine partners

In NZ we’ve just observed the centenary of the battle of Gallipoli, where ANZAC troops fought for the British empire.  On Anzac Day I watched the movie “War horse”.   It bought a lump to my throat and made me think of our own horses.  Of the thousands of horses shipped off to war from New Zealand, only a horse called Bess came back.    

There were lots of tears by those men over their horses, and I know the Lord understands.

When Jesus returns as the King, he will be on his own warhorse, at the head of his army.

Perhaps God had the war horses in mind when he inspired Job to write about the horse in the earliest book of the Bible;

“Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?
Do you make it leap like a locust, striking terror with its proud snorting?
It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength, and charges into the fray.
It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; it does not shy away from the sword.
The quiver rattles against its side, along with the flashing spear and lance.
In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground; it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.
At the blast of the trumpet it snorts, ‘Aha!’ It catches the scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry.
Job 39:19-25

Holy to the Lord

There will be horses in the Millennial Kingdom.   You will hear the sound of their bells as they trot, and on their bells will be the inscription “holy to the Lord.” Holy means “whole”.  When Jesus reigns in his kingdom, all will be made whole.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21:3-4

But be aware that before the second coming, we will be hearing the hoof beats of the first horseman of the Apocalypse – the rider on the white horse who is given a bow and told to conquer.  Just remember – that’s not Jesus. It will be Apollyon (the destroyer) imitating him.

So while the world is going ooooh and aaaahh marvelling over the fake Messiah, remember the warning Jesus gave us in Matthew 24:5;
Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my Name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.
“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  – Matthew 24:1-26

Jesus will come like a thief in the night for the Church; an event as sudden as lightning.  After that He will return at the end of Tribulation on his white horse, for all to see.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.  His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  Revelation 19:11-13

Jesus wins

The ultimate reveal

This is going to wander a bit, but I hope you’ll bear with me.  We’re going to go from clothes, to Chinese characters, to Mount Hermon, and back to clothes.  I promise you it will be interesting.  It’s based on the theme of “light”.

Lately I’ve had to take more of an interest in fashion.  My daughter made me an appointment with a style consultant at the shopping mall where she works.  It was to help me sort out which outfits and colour combinations suit me best.

I’d rather wear clothes that suit me than bow to the current fashion fad, and I hate uncomfortable womens shoes. I grew up on a farm wearing jeans and gumboots.  Now I work in a computer workshop, wearing pants and a monogrammed polo shirt. My daughter on the other hand, works in retail fashion, and has no trouble choosing clothes and shoes.  She was inspired to help women with clothes because of the difficulty I have experienced getting help and advice when shopping.

I was anxious about the consultation beforehand, but I needn’t have worried.  The stylist was really helpful and didn’t judge me.  She was amused at the contrast between me and my girly-girl, fashion-ista daughter.
Me at work - 2014
Here’s a photo of us at work.  My daughter worked for us for three weeks while between jNic at YITSobs.  Here she is with her nail kit, filing her nails at reception!  It was so cliche, but she didn’t care.
While waiting for the stylist I thought about dreams where you are unclothed, or not dressed right.  Have you ever had dreams where you are walking in a public place naked or in pyjamas?  I’ve heard it’s quite common.

It makes me think about Adam and Eve, and their wardrobe malfunction.  Imagine it.  Here’s God walking through the garden, and they’re naked.  Eeek.  The serpent took everything, even the clothes.

chinese character for naked

The Chinese character for naked. Notice the word ‘fruit’ in the character.

Do you think the story is a myth?
Here’s some anthropological proof that the story is based on fact.  Did you know the ancient Chinese script contains the story of Genesis, long before the Bible came to be written?  Here we see the ancient character for fruit.  How on earth did the ancient Chinese associate the word ‘naked’ with fruit?
Here’s a link to a site that shows how the Chinese characters tie in with Genesis:
The Chinese character for LIGHT has MAN in it.  I wonder if Adam and Eve’s garments were garments of light.I know the Lord has a garment of light.  Psalm 104 speaks of his garment, and dimensions.  It is written that the LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent.  Psalm 104:2.
Jesus let three of the disciples see him clothed in light.
Here it is in Matthew 17:Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.”
Mount_Hermon

Mount Hermon dwarfs the remains of the ancient city of Caesarea Philippi (located at the bottom center of the photo).

I believe the mountain the Lord took them up was Mount Hermon.  The reason I think so is because in the previous chapter of the Bible, Matthew 16, Jesus was at Caesarea Philippi, a town at the foot of Mount Hermon.

Caesarea Philippi was the place where Jesus stamped his authority over the gates of Hell after Peter confessed Him as the Messiah.  I wrote about this in my blog post: True confessions at the Gates of Hell.

It’s interesting that the “Hermon Hotel”,  the highest permanently manned UN position in the world, sits on top of Mount Hermon in the buffer zone between Syria and Israel.

In the Book of Enoch, Mount Hermon is the place where the Watcher class of fallen angels descended to Earth. They swore upon the mountain that they would take wives among the daughters of men (Enoch 6).

The mountain or summit, referred to as Saphon in Ugaritic texts, is the place where the palace of Baal is located in a myth about Attar. Source: Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Hermon.  Attar is also known as Ashtar and Ishtar; god of the Morning Star.

So here we have Jesus, the Light of the World, stamping his authority all over Attar, Ashtar or Ishtar as well.  It kind-of puts Jesus’s promise about the Morning Star being given to those who have not learned Satan’s so called deep secrets in a new light, don’t you think?  (Revelation 2:28, Church at Thyatira)

 

I believe Moses and Elijah may be the two witnesses of Revelation 11, but that’s the subject for another post.  I believe it because of what these two can do.  Elijah was able to bring down fire and cause the rain to stop for 3½ years; and Moses was able to turn water into blood and bring several other plagues upon Egypt. And guess what the two witnesses do?  They will also be able to bring down fire, stop the rain, and cause various plagues for 3½ years,  (Revelation 11:5,6).

Anyway, to get back to clothes – they’re clothed in sackcloth for their earthly mission.  Sackcloth represents debasement, mourning, and/or repentance.

Do you have any white clothes?  Jesus talked about being dressed in white when he wrote to the Church at Sardis in Revelation 3.  This Church has a reputation for being alive, but it’s sound asleep.  Jesus said if it doesn’t wake up, he’ll come upon it like a thief, and they will not know at what time he comes.
(This is not a time to be caught napping.  Jesus expects us to be dressed for work and have our lamps burning.  (Luke 12:35))
Yet he said there are some in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with him dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white.

How bright will the white be?

 Whiter than white

The Keys of the Kingdom – true confessions at the Gates of Hell

Key to the KingdomI found a key with ‘J’ on it in my sleeveless vest pocket.  I don’t remember acquiring it.  It must have been after I helped set up the sound equipment for my church, but I can’t find the owner of the key.  It’s funny because my initial is ‘J’ and I’d been reading in the Bible about the Keys of the Kingdom.

Where do these keys fit and what doors do they unlock?  What did Jesus mean when he said He would give the keys to Peter, the apostle who declared he was the Messiah?  The promise of authority came with a question; Who do you say I AM?”  Jesus asked.  Simon Peter answered “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16).

Upon this rockAs servants, binding and loosing depends on the master’s will; as Jesus taught us to ask “Your Kingdom come, your will be done.”

Jesus still lends His authority to His true ministers today to do the same work. Sadly, many falsely claim this authority and misuse it.

The Roman Catholic Church maintains that the Keys of the Kingdom were handed to the Popes through Peter.  The keys are on the Vatican coat of arms.  That’s easily refuted.  The early church began in Jerusalem, not Rome.  It never had a Pope – from the early 3rd century the title was a general term used to refer to all bishops.  The title “Pontiff” belonged to Rome and the old roman gods.

This argument is made for one purpose: to give credibility to the idea that Peter was the first Pope in Rome.

Let’s give the scripture some context – the who, what, where and why;

Who was Jesus asking about before he spoke of the rock? 
Himself.
Jesus asked “Who do you say I AM?” and Peter answered “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God, ”

What did he say he would build on the rock?
His church.
Jesus said he would build His church upon that confession, and the Gates of Hell would not prevail against it.

Cesarea Philippi

The Gates of Hell at Caesarea Philippi. The niches in the wall held images of the gods Pan, Echo and Hermes.

Where was he when he said that? 
He was at the Gates of Hell.  They were in Caesarea Philippi, a city dominated by immoral activities and pagan worship.  There was a huge rock there, at the southwestern base of Mount Hermon, with a grotto dedicated to the Greek god Pan.  (Pan has horns and hairy legs like a goat).  The locals called it “the Gates of Hell.”

Why did he go there?
Jesus made His declaration at Caesarea Philippi to declare war on the gates of hell.  When Jesus sent out the twelve disciples, he said; “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)

He did not mean a sword like Mohammed’s.  The sword he spoke of is the Word of God.  In Isaiah 49:2 we read, “He made my mouth like a sharpened sword”.  When Jesus returns to our world leading the armies of Heaven the sword will be in His mouth. (Revelation 19:15)

The Confession; The Rock; The Church
I recommend the page on this site: http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-matthew-16-16-18.htm

The Confession

For the question Jesus asked; “Who am I?“, the confession is all important.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10
In fact, we know that the person who refuses to acknowledge this truth is refusing to be saved! Jesus said, “If you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.”  John 8:24.

I hope you have made this confession.  They are the most important words you will ever speak.

The Declaration

The declaration is “I will build my church on this rock.”  Jesus did not have the Vatican or any other powerful religious structure in mind when he made that statement.  He is the rock.  Peter is simply named after him.  Jesus is going to shake the world like he shook Hell.
The prophet Daniel had a vision of the end times, where he saw a rock not made by human hands knock the statue representing the final world empire off it’s feet.  The New World Order was broken to pieces and swept away without a trace, but the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.  Daniel 2:34-35
God said there is no other rock beside him.  He said it twice in Isaiah 44:8 and 45:5;
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?  No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

The Church

Ekklesia means “called out ones”, the Church.  It is a nation of priests, of servants, built for faith, called out of darkness, wrested away from the Gates of Hell.
We become part of the Ekklesia when we confess Christ as our Lord.  His Church is built on that confession.
We are fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  (Ephesians 2:20).
NicolaitansWe were not made to be cogs in the wheel of an authoritarian,  man-made power structure.
Jesus hates that.  He spoke against it twice in his letters to the seven churches;
“But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  Revelation 2:6, letter to the Church at Ephesus.
Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”  Revelation 2:15, letter to the Church at Pergamum.

Who are the Nicolaitans?  ‘Nico’ means rule and ‘laity‘ means clergy.  Get it now?

The devil wants to render us powerless, but consider this; “everyone born of God overcomes the world.” (1 John 5)
Jesus said “whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist.  And then He said, “The Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”  Matthew 11:11-12.
They take it by force because they want to take the authority away from God.

Jesus delegates authority – just like He did with the twelve disciples, and He has given the Keys of the Kingdom to His Church, His called out ones.