Patient Soul Possession Pt. 1

Jesus had thoroughly prepared His disciples for the prophesied persecutions they were going to face. From the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) to the Sermon on the Mount of Olives (Matt. 24) He taught and warned them. This is echoed by Peter in 1 Peter 4:12-14,

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.”

This of course was taught by Christ Himself when He said in Matthew 5:11-12,

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

It was those prophets that Peter explains prophesied of the sufferings of Christ the disciples and apostles of Christ would go through. Peter says in 1 Peter 1:6-12,

“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: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.”

The reward would be great for enduring with joy such sufferings for Christ sake. They would not only physically walk into the kingdom and not taste death, but the trial of their faith would also be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. Therefore, Christ exhorts them in Matthew 24:13,

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

Too often students of God’s Word teach and understand that this verse is Christ teaching that believers, in general, need to endure unto the end of their life to be eternally saved, or, by dispensationalists, that the members of the little flock must endure unto the end of the day of wrath to be eternally saved. Christ is not teaching either to the little flock. The little flock is the lost sheep of the house of Israel, the ones whom it was the Father’s good pleasure to give the kingdom to and not the leaders of Israel (Luke 12:32). Yet, Christ is not teaching that the little flock need to endure unto the end to be eternally saved. Understanding this not only comes from the aforementioned verses but countless others.

First, Christ says they must endure unto the end to be saved while detailing that which Daniel and many other prophets spoke about concerning the end. In Matthew 24 Christ is asked,

“Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

Christ validates the prophets by His detailed description of the beginning of sorrows, the 70th week of the timeline Gabriel gave Daniel, and of the end. During this time the little flock would encounter tribulations, but also the sufferings of Christ. These sufferings of Christ would arise from believing Christ and His Word and could cost them their lives.

Kind of Salvation

Students of God’s Word don’t strip a verse from the immediate context. Students while maintaining the context search for doctrinal patterns when a verse or passage isn’t understood. A key component in the proper handling of God’s Word is not making similar things all the same thing but allowing, if proven to be, for another category of doctrine. This is easily and simply understood in word studies. If we make “salvation” or “saved” always the issue of, eternal salvation from the debt and penalty of one’s sins, our understanding is going to be found wanting. In fact, there is a context in which “salvation” or “saved” is used more frequently and is missed, if we always make it about eternal salvation. This principle is true for many words some of which are justified, sanctified, death, and life. We must bear that in mind when handling God’s Word.

The kind of salvation Christ is speaking of in Matthew 24:13 is a physical salvation of being delivered from physical death during the time of Jacob’s trouble thus becoming the prophesied generation to enter into God’s rest in the physical kingdom – the kingdom that the God of heaven will set up on this earth. The prophets spoke of this generation, when they wrote, of the sufferings, they would go through, but also the glory that would follow in the kingdom. When the prophets wrote of these things they actually ministered to that generation in the future.

Reward in the Kingdom

The doctrine in view in Matthew 24 isn’t eternal salvation, although, this physical salvation will commence their life to come, but rather reward or glory in the kingdom. If they endure unto the end by heeding, following, and doing what the Lord instructs in Matthew 24 and other places they will be alive at the end and God will physically save them by sending His angels to gather the elect from wherever they may be scattered. They will be physically saved and the endurance of their faith will be found unto great reward in the kingdom.  This reward in the kingdom is exactly what Christ spoke of in Matthew 5:11-12,

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

And it is what Peter as the apostle to the circumcision writes in his epistle to them in 1 Peter 1:6-9,

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: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”

Patient Soul Possession Equals Endurance

The primary focus in Christ’s promise to the little flock in Matthew 24:13 is enduring. If one doesn’t endure unto the end then they may not be physically saved with great reward. In that time, learning endurance will come from various inspiring sources: Job, David, Christ’s teachings and parables, Hebrews (chapter 11), James (chapter 1), Peter (1 Peter chapter 1) just to name of few. Yet, the endurance they will need is reflected in Luke 21 when Christ is speaking on the same subject matter. He says,

“In your patience possess ye your souls.”

In the upcoming weeks, we will explore the scriptures concerning the patient endurance the little flock will need to possess for the promise of physical deliverance at the end.  Then we will learn that in this dispensation of the grace of God with the dispensation of the gospel God desires to put this same power on display within us.  Although the power will not be put on display in the same tribulations of the end times and seasons it is the same power.  Rather, God will put this power on display in the midst of the sufferings of this present time and any trouble we may face in this dispensation of grace.

Josh Strelecki, Pastor-Teacher

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