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by Fr. Dmitri, New Zealand
Saturday 13 June 2009 (6 Paoni; 6 Baona)
Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of Salvation.
The worst kind of selfishness is not to give transitory
things to those who live in poverty.
(Basil the Great)
Love silence above all. It bears fruit such as no tongue can describe.
(Isaac the Syrian)
Many of those who delay repentance, they never repented.
Or when they tried to repent later, they found it very difficult.
(Pope Shenouda III)
Every food is bitter in the mouth, unless your salt seasons it
and your oil is poured on it.
(Mystery of Godliness)
For the One without flesh was incarnate, and the Word took
body. The One with no beginning began, and the Eternal One
(The Holy Psalmody)
Regard every day as if you are then beginning for the first time.
And always act with the same fervor that you had on the first day you began.
Ever-living God, let us regard each day as a special gift from You
to us. Enable us to be truly devoted to You and, with Your unfailing
help, to work out our salvation daily.
(Anthony of Padua)
THE GREAT TRIBULATION:( Part 1)
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been, since the beginning of the world until this time, nor ever shall be. (Matt.24:21)
There is a Biblical principle that only recently has been noticed by students of prophecy. It is founded on Daniel 12, verses 4 and 8-10. This principle says, in essence, that the Prophecies of the Second Coming will not be able to be understood until they are about to be fulfilled. In Daniel 12:4 Daniel was told to 'shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end.' This idea is reinforced in verses 8-10. Herein is an important thing to remember: When the prophets wrote down what they were told, and saw in visions, they themselves frequently did not understand what they were writing. It is only when the Prophecies are fulfilled, or about to be fulfilled, that they can be understood. What the angel said to Daniel in verse 9 & 10 was actually a mild rebuke; 'Go your way Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end, none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.' (In other words Daniel, mind your own business).
Understand what? The Prophecies! When the time comes for them to be fulfilled. The idea that the Prophecies will be understood when they are about to be fulfilled is consistent with Amos 3:7, which says, 'surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the Prophets.'
The Prophectic reason for believing that most Christians won't be ready, again, derives from the idea that we are living in the historical Church Age of Laodicea. Although not all Christians believe this, there is a widely held view that the Seven Churches of Revelation 2 and 3 are seven ages of in the history of the Church. In fact, it can be discerned from history when each age began and ended. It is widely accepted that if this is so, and the Second Coming is near, then we have to be living in the Age of Laodicea.
In looking at the Churches, we find that everything that Jesus said about each Church means something relevant to its spiritual condition and or it role in history. Even the name. The word 'Ladodicea' comes from two Greek words, "laos", meaning people, and "dikazo" meaning either 'an opinion' or 'a sentence given by a judge.' Applying the first meaning to the Church today, we find that this is a prophecy fulfilled in the wide range of difference of doctrinal opinions that characterizes the Christian world. Relating the second meaning to Revelation 3:16, we see that it prophesises the Church being rejected by Christ at the beginning of the Tribulation.
The key to understanding what happens to Christians is Revelation 7. In the first few verses of that Chapter, a limited number of people, 144,000, out of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, are shown to be given something called "the Seal of the living God".
From verses 2&3 we know that this happens before the Tribulation begins. Contrary to what has been commonly thought, there is solid Scriptural reason to believe that those who will receive the Seal are not going to be all Jews but Christians who are really ready sometimes known as the faithful Remnant who are taken to a place of Safety at the time of the Tribulation.
Although the majority of Christians will not be ready, and hence the rejection, a relatively few will be. These are the people to whom Jesus refers to with the words, 'to him that overcomes'. They will not deserve to suffer during the Tribulation. The Seal of the Living God will protect them from God's wrath. For the rest of the Christians, the Tribulation will be as much a great chastisement as it will be a great judgement on the unsaved world. We find the key to this in Rev.7:9 and in 13&14. In Verse 7 we find the 'great multitude which no one could number'. In verse 13, the elder asks John who these people are. John does not know, and politely throws the question back to the elder. His reply is, 'These are the ones who came out of the Great Tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'
In understanding this, we must remember that the term 'great tribulation' occurs only in two other places in the Bible, Matt.24:21 and Daniel 12:1. In both cases, it refers to something that happens in connection with Second Coming of Christ. Understand this that no one comes out of something he was never in. To come out of the Great Tribulation the Christians first of all have to be in it. They will be in it if they are not ready. During the Tribulation they will wake up to their failure and repent. Hence they ' washed their robes and made them white.' See Daniel 11:35 and Zechariah 13:9. Understand this, if the Tribulation begins are you are not ready, you will be in big trouble, and most Christians will not be ready, and whose fault is that? The Church Leaders have let you down by not giving you proper instruction in The Faith and just giving pious platitudes. We must die daily and search our hearts and repent for any wrong doing seeking God's Forgiveness.
Readings for Today:
Evening: Psalm 17:35-40; Gospel Matt.10:16-23.
Morning: Psalm 44:4-7; Gospel Luke 7:11-17.
Liturgy: 2 Tim.2:3-15; 1 Peter 3:8-15; Acts 27:42-28:6;
Psalm 90:11-13; Gospel Luke 10:21-24.
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