Interpretation of Linen Cloths

By Lee Y. Martin, Ph.D.,
© 2009

 

Wheat
Part 1: Background

 

 
World affairs have proven the truthfulness of the Word of God leaving little doubt that we are living in the closing of the last days. This is a very unusual time. Scriptural prophecies are being fulfilled almost daily. The recent unrest of the distressed peoples in Iran is a perfect example of the endtime perplexity of nations that Jesus predicted would come about whereby the "sea and waves are roaring" [Luke 21:25]. Change is truly in the air.
"sea and waves are roaring"  Luke 21:25
 

Bewilderment about the future spawned by newscasters who keep people baffled about the global economy is propagating fear. And fear breeds unrest and further confusion. Yes indeed, "voodoo economics", as coined in the recent past by a chief-of-state New World Order insider, heads the list of woes plaguing the nations today. While cultures contend and struggle for their portion of the new cosmic pie, major media marketers of news and their oligarchic superiors would have us believe we are on the verge of another great depression. Yet, before the contrived stock market crash of last year, the USA's economy was experiencing a steady, healthy growth with more than 90% of the population employed.

It appears like the monied elite who control the banks of the world are driving the planet to destruction by their greed and craft. It may be that we have past the point of no return and nobody, including the engineers of our present global Babylonian quandary, is capable of stopping earth's momentum toward prophetically predicted ruin.

On the opposite front, revelation knowledge related to Biblical prophecy is exploding, ubiquitously circulating nonstop on the Internet, and it is inculcating a flood of prophecy pundits pronouncing doom and gloom. Many amateur analysts and even some well-versed Biblicists contend that the Antichrist is among us and has shown his colors. Amazingly, they are backing up their contentions with Scriptural proofs.

There may be some flaws in the overall scheme of the emerging picture these prophecy buffs are painting, but the portrait evolving like a Polaroid photo is phantasmagorically aligning with Scripture. According to them as well as the Web Bot 1, earth's destiny is not very bright except for Christian "escapists" – those people who will be accounted worthy to break away and flee from ALL the things that are coming to pass.


 

Does All Mean All?

 

Gethsemane by Carl Bloch
Luke 21:36
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape ALL these things that shall come to pass (during the tribulation period about which He was speaking), and to stand before the Son of man.

Notice Jesus did not suggest that the escaping ones would avoid some of the horrific events of the tribulation but all the things that shall come to pass. Does not this imply a rapture at or before the beginning of it? The Bible warns in the Apocalypse not to add to nor take away from the things that are written in the Book about the endtimes because they are the Words of Jesus [Revelation 22:18,19].

Jesus was speaking about the endtimes when He made the above statement in His Olivet Discourse. So do we have a right to change "all" to "some"? Whoever changes His Words is in effect adding to or taking away from the intent of a passage context. Therefore, that person could be at risk to partake of the plagues enumerated in the Apocalypse according to the warning at the end of the Book.

Wow! What implications! Could it mean, as Jesus cautions His disciples in Luke 21:36, that believers who are not preparing and expecting to escape the tribulation era, will in fact by discounting this verse as an ignoble "escapist mentality", duly find themselves inside the tribulation partaking of its trials? What a fearful prospect when escaping is as simple as believing Jesus' Words. Can you see why we need to heed carefully our Lord's instructions? Jesus said all in the above Scripture and that means ALL. So, my suggestion is that you ask the Holy Spirit what He meant when He inspired these Words of Jesus that Luke reported.

 

God's Words Are Pure

Because God's Words are pure, as pure as silver refined in a furnace of earth seven times according to Psalms 12:6, we can and should accept the clear meaning of the Word of God unless the Bible itself indicates otherwise. Anyone can pervert meanings to suit their own fancy using allegory and figures of speech. Eve listened to satan's perverted interpretation of what God had said and got herself, and us, into a heap of trouble. We learn from the parable of the sower that the devil's number one ploy is to twist the clear meaning of God's Word.

Listen to the God within you because that's why Jesus came – to get the Holy Spirit back into humans to guide and help them rule earth. If Luke 21:36 comforts you, good for you. Jesus sent us the Comforter, namely the Holy Spirit [John 14:16], to comfort us. If we will listen exclusively to the Spirit of God, He will direct us by way of the Word how to stay blessed, protected, worry-free, and comforted [14:26].

God counsels us through His Word. Christians should measure everything they hear against Scripture because knowing Scripture is how we stay out of fear. For instance, people who know and believe that Jesus has promised He is not going to shut the doors on His Philadelphian church [Revelation 3:7-13] and who believe the gates of hell will not prevail against His church [Matthew 16:18] will be expecting to be raptured to heaven before the final harlot church emerges confederate with the New Religious Order.

According to Scripture, the Philadelphians will stay alive and well witnessing to the nations up until the body of Christ is completed and has vanished from earth [Zephaniah 2:3 with Revelation 3:10]. Then the final church will take center stage. At present, the last two churches of Revelation 3 are contemporaneous, but the baton is already in the hands of the Laodiceans.

Nonetheless, fear not little flock, for our Father is truly giving us the Kingdom as Jesus promised [Luke 12:32]. The world is awash with new converts all over the globe. Since the true church will be rescued from the soon coming just judgment on sin, the gates of hell will not prevail against it. If this is so, why does Daniel say that the little horn (an Antichrist title) will wear out the saints of the most high, make war with them, and prevail against them [Daniel 7:21,25]? The answer to that question will filter into what follows.

Indeed, America has been the backbone of the Philadelphian church of Revelation chapter three since its birth at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania's constitutional convention following the War for Independence from England 2. Is it coincidental that the Philadelphian church's name matches that of the place in history in Pennsylvania where the people of the newly formed USA inaugurated and made provisions to carry out and promote the Word of God's patience, i.e., God's grace covenant of salvation [Revelation 3:10], through its guaranteed freedom of speech right? Has not the United State's Monroe Doctrine protected for two centuries the open door policy for strong, zealous missionary activity to freely cover the world? Jesus said that no man would be able to shut the open door given to the Philadelphian church, which should give great comfort to Christians during these distressful times; for Jesus promised that Philadelphians would be kept "from" (Greek preposition meaning "out of") the hour of temptation (testing or tribulation) [ibid.].

We at Whitestones Ministries do not believe that God is going to judge this church with the Laodiceans 3. This implies that there will be a group of believers within the church at large who make up the bride of Christ and will escape tribulation. These true Christians constitute the body of Christ who are kept from the hour of temptation promised the Philadelphian church [ibid.].

Unraptured Christians will be the left behind Laodiceans of the Apocalypse. They did not seek the extra oil for their lamps, which would be needed in case of an extended wait for the Bridegroom 4, nor did they ask for eye salve to open their blind eyes [Revelation 3:18]. They are sound asleep and will awaken too late to make preparation for rapture. As long as the Philadelphians are still around, however, a little more time has been granted to us. Are you a Philadelphian?

 
As It Was In The Days  of Noah
 

Jesus very clearly declared that the time of the end would be like it was immediately before the great flood in Noah's day when God judged the world by water.

  Matthew 24:37-39
  37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Let no voice steer you away from Jesus' Words. This prophecy of our Lord in Matthew and repeated in Luke could not be referring to the end of the tribulation because there are precise time markers given in the books of Daniel and Revelation indicating when our Lord makes His grand entrance onto the world scene to finish off the villain of the tribulational chaotic morass destroying the world. At that point of time, there is little if any business as usual like the above passage implies.

When Scripture tells us that the antediluvians knew not that a great cataclysm was about to happen, Jesus was implying that in spite of the preaching about coming judgment by righteous Noah for 120 years, people in Noah's time ignored the warning and continued doing business as usual. Isn't that happening today? Violence was rampant then [Genesis 6:11,13] as it is now, yet the dreadful events from which Philadelphian believers are promised to escape do not occur until well into the tribulation. Therefore, the parallelism must be referring to the time of the rapture prior to the start of the great tribulation and not to its end.

As with Jesus' first coming when He came as Savior on the exact day prophesied by Daniel in chapter nine 5, He will come again the second time as King precisely on the day prophesied at the conclusion of the tribulation. Both these dates are tied to the Feasts of the Lord. Hence, His Second Advent cannot be as a thief whose coming is unknown since it is specifically 42 months after the abomination of desolation is set up in the temple of the tribulation period [Daniel 11:36; Revelation 13:5]. Then, what does Jesus mean when He says: "I come as a thief"?


 
A Thief Comes Without Notice
 

Every time Jesus spoke about His coming as a thief, He admonished His hearers to watch. A thief comes quickly, silently, and unnoticed, but if one is watching the thief will not be unobserved. As one sees signs and hears noises, the alert person can take action to protect himself from an intruder. Are you ready?

Signs are all around us. But Jesus is not a thief. He merely comes as one because He is coming for what belongs to Him – His bride. He paid a high ransom price for her – His life. He loves her and does not want her mauled before the wedding. Because He used the illustration of a thief several times in various contexts, it is difficult for a novice about Scripture to decide whether the comparison is meant for Jesus' coming for His bride or coming to end Antichrist's rule and the horrendous events plaguing the world. How can Jesus come unnoticed as a thief to end Armageddon if everyone knows a battle is ensuing near Jerusalem and every eye sees Him approaching in the heavens as King with the saints?

Jesus admonished His hearers to watch...Are you ready?
 

The implication of Jesus' comparison in Matthew chapter 24 between the world's judgment by water in Noah's day and its coming judgment by fire in the near future is that things will be as usual when the true church disappears. Surprise at the sudden, and swift vanishing of people will frighten Christians left behind who never made themselves ready for departing this realm. Fear about suffering the horrors of the tribulation will cause many to stumble and take the mark of the beast. Is there Scripture to support this contention? I believe there is.

Please click next for the Continued 2: Interpretation of Linen Cloths

TIEPOLO, Giovanni Battista Bellerophon on Pegasus 1746-47 Palazzo Labia, Venice. Web Gallery of Art

 
Footnotes: (click on highlighted word to return)
1.
The Web Bot uses a system of spiders that crawl the Internet looking for patterns of behavior, trends and chatter pertaining to coming events. This tool is believed to be able to forecast the future by tapping into the collective unconscious of society. It did indeed forecast the twin towers disaster on 911. (earth's)
2.
See the USA Prophecy and its Interpretation on this website for more information about this. (Is)
3.
See The Great Apostasy and its Interpretation on this website for more information about this matter. (This)
4.
See Matthew 25:1ff where Jesus gave us the parable of the ten virgins five of whom were not ready. (nor)
5.

See the article about Daniel's 70 Week Prophecy at the beginning of this website for further information. (He)

 

 

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Monday, August 19, 2013 6:39 PM