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The beginning of sorrows

First posted: January 23, 2005

 

This article is the sixth in a series of articles dealing with the spiritual events --- as prophesied by the Lord in Matthew 24 --- that are already taking place prior to the coming of the Son of Man. This article will deal with the "beginning of sorrows" that the Lord speaks of in Matthew 24:8-9.

 

Index

The beginning of the end

Melchisedec priests

The end of the beginning

A principality in denial

Spheres of influence

Travail

 

 

 

The beginning of the end

In the previous five articles of this series, we have studied Matthew 24 verses 1 through 7, and we have seen how they speak of a spiritual turmoil that will take place inside the Church. This turmoil will "destroy the earthly temple", meaning that it will destroy the earthly structures inside the Church that have held God's people from fulfilling their God-given prophetic potential. As this turmoil begins (and it has already begun), the white horse of the Apocalypse will be released, followed by the 3 other horses of the Apocalypse, which will bring judgment against the spirits of Cain, Balaam, and Korah.

 

After verse 7 of Matthew 24, the Scriptures record the following words from the Lord:

 

"8All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my nameís sake." (Matthew 24:8-9)

 

Notice that the Lord is saying in verse 9 that we will be "afflicted", "killed", and "hated". Jesus was saying this to the disciples that were close to Him (Matthew 24:3) as they asked Him about His parousia (i.e.- His second coming) and the end of the world. Therefore, it cannot be said that the ones afflicted, killed, and hated will be the unbelievers. It would also be wrong to say that He was specifically referring to the Primitive Church disciples, since verse 9 begins with the word "then". Since the preceding verses are spoken in the context of His second coming and the end of the world, verse 9 most specifically refers to the Lord's faithful believers in these latter days.

 

As you may know, the popular "theory" among "eschatologists" (and believers in general) is that the Church will remain on Earth as it "saves" the last few souls before being raptured out of this world, marking the beginning of a great period of sorrows and tribulation for those "left behind". This theory, which conveniently removes believers just as the hard times roll in, is an obvious contradiction of what the Lord says in Matthew 24:8-9. If we are not going to be around when tribulation comes, why would Jesus say that we would be delivered up to be "afflicted" and that we would be "killed" and "hated by all"? Not only does the Lord contradict the eschatologists' theory, He even specifies that the ones under tribulation will be His faithful disciples, not the unbelieving world.

 

If faithful believers are the ones who are called to suffer tribulation, we must understand how this tribulation will be manifested in our lives. To do so, we must study each of the three things that the Lord speaks of in Matthew 24:9:

  1. Afflicted

    The word "afflicted" in Matthew 24:9 was translated from the Greek word thlipsis, which is derived from the word thlibo that means "to press" and is used when referring to the pressing of grapes. Since grapes are pressed to extract the liquid juice out of them, the word thlipsis refers to pressing circumstances that bring affliction over our emotions. Why? Because, as we have seen before, there is a strong connection in Scripture between flowing waters (or liquids) and emotions (Leviticus 17:11).

     

    As we have also seen before, the evil spirits who "specialize" in producing emotional affliction, torment, and despair are the Hittite spirits. Therefore, the Lord is saying in Matthew 24:9 that His faithful believers will be delivered up to be afflicted by the torturing emotional stings of Hittite spirits.

     

    "21And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, 22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:21-22)

    [The word "tribulation" was translated from the word thlipsis that appears in Matthew 24:9. Notice also that "tribulation" is spoken of in the context of "souls", which confirms the emotional element of tribulation, since the largest component of the soul is the part comprised by the emotions.]

     

  2. Killed

    The word "kill" in Matthew 24:9 was translated from the Greek word apokteino, which appears 83 times in 71 different verses of the New Testament. Almost always, the word is used in the context of an authority killing (or trying to kill) someone who has not abided by its laws or decrees, as can be seen from the following examples:

     

    "From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day." (Matthew 16:21)

     

    "The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee" (Luke 13:31)

     

    "And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day" (John 5:16)

    [The word "slay" was translated from the word apokteino mentioned above]

     

    Therefore, the word apokteino implies the concept of an authority executing judgments. As we have seen before, the evil spirits that "specialize" in making earthly judgments against God's faithful believers are the Jebusite spirits. Believers under Jebusite influence like to "slap" faithful believers into unconditional submission to the decrees of Amorite, earthly kings (i.e.- "high-ranking ministers"). Jebusites are legalistic people who act as the Amorites' "police force".

     

    Therefore, we can conclude that, when the Lord said that we would be "killed", He is saying that we would be exposed to the earthly and unfair judgments of Jebusite authorities who would be enforcing earthly, Amorite laws and decrees against us.

     

    "1These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." (John 16:1-2)

    [Contrary to popular belief, the word "synagogue" is not a Jewish word but rather a Greek word that literally means "gathering together". In other words, "synagogue" literally means "congregation". In the original Greek text, verse 2 literally says that those who are faithful to God will be "put out of the congregations" and that those who will kill the faithful will think they are doing a service to God. Therefore, this verse is not referring to persecution by unbelievers but rather to persecution by our own brothers and sisters who will want to "kill" us for not submitting to the Church's earthly structures. By the way, the word "killeth" was translated from the word apokteino mentioned above.]

     

    [I know that some might want to argue that John 16:1-2 only refers to the persecution that early Jewish Christians suffered at the hands of their Jewish brethren. However, such an argument is ludicrous. I have heard pastors quote passages such as verses 23 and 33 of the same chapter (John 16), and these pastors clearly teach that, in those verses, Jesus is speaking not only to the Primitive Church disciples but to us as well. If the word "you" in the first few verses of John chapter 16 must be understood to be referring to the early Christians only, why does the same word "you" suddenly refer to us as well when it appears a few verses later, just because those verses say "pleasant" things. Remember, the entire chapter is a single, continuous narration by the Lord. It is hypocritical for pastors to interpret Scripture in such a way that only the "nice" things apply to us.]

     

  3. Hated of all nations for His Name's sake

    As we have said before, all nations (whether literal or spiritual) revolve around their "teachers". This means that a nation's teachings are the underlying glue that hold a nation together. UnGodly nations are glued together by Girgashite teachings, while Godly nations are glued together by prophetic teachings.

     

    While the teachers are the underlying glue of a nation, every nation is ruled at the top by some sort of "king" or "ruler". As we have seen before, a Girgashite "ground-swell" of support allows Amorite kings to hold on to power. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that Girgashite teachings allow Amorites to maintain control over a nation. When those Girgashite teachings begin to be challenged or questioned, the Amorite's kingdom is placed in jeopardy. Therefore, every time the Lord comes against an Amorite kingdom, He always attacks the underlying Girgashite teachings first. This is why Jesus' ministry on Earth revolved so much around teaching.

     

    When God's prophetic teachings begin to challenge a nation's Girgashite teachings, the high place or status of the Amorite king's "name" or "reputation" is endangered. When prophetic teachings replace Girgashite teachings, the Amorite's name is toppled and replaced by the name of God, and God's kingship is established over that nation. As we have said before, Amorites love to have their names "uttered"; they love to have their name in the air and to have that name exert influence over large numbers of people. Therefore, they hate any manifestation of prophetic teachings which jeopardize the loftiness of their name. When they see prophetic teachings gaining momentum, they stir up their ground base of Girgashite support against those who promote those teachings:

     

    "17Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? 18For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. 19When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. 20But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. 22Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. 24When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. 25Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children." (Matthew 27:17-25)

    [It is worth noting that the phrase "gathered together" in verse 17 was translated from the Greek word sunago, from which the word "synagogue" (used in John 16:2 quoted above) is derived]

     

    Notice that Pilate was not too thrilled about killing Jesus, because he did not see Him as a threat to king Caesar. The chief priests and elders, however, stirred up the crowd against Jesus because they saw Him and His prophetic teachings as a threat to their religious kingdom. The phrase "chief priests" in verse 20 was translated from the Greek word archiereus, which is derived from arche, meaning "beginning, first, principal", and hiereus, meaning "priest"; in a sense, archiereus could be translated as "arch-priest". Because of this, it is evident that the "chief priests" are the Amorites in this passage, while the "elders" are the Jebusites who support them.

     

    In conclusion, we can say that "being hated of all nations for His Name's sake" (Matthew 24:9) means that we will provoke the hatred of Amorite kings against us because we will come to exalt the Lord's Name and not their name. They will then stir the hatred of their respective "Girgashite nations" against us in order to destroy us.

     

From all of the above, we can see that Matthew 24:9 is saying that those who remain truly faithful to Jesus will be exposed to attacks from Hittite, Jebusite, and Amorite spirits. If you revisit the triangle of evil, you will notice that these three spirits correspond to the 3 types of spirits at the top of the triangle. This means that those who remain faithful to God's true prophetic spirit will draw the wrath of the people and evil spirits at the top of the hierarchy:

 

"17But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 21And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22And ye shall be hated of all men for my nameís sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." (Matthew 10:17-22)

[As we said above, the word "synagogues" in verse 17 literally reads "congregations" in the original Greek]

 

Notice that the passage above is very similar to what the Lord said in Matthew 24:9-13, which He spoke in the context of end-time events. Therefore, it is not surprising that verse 18 above reaffirms the conclusion derived from Matthew 24:9 when it says that we will be brought before "governors and kings" for His sake, meaning that we will be brought before the "top of the hierarchy". The word "Gentiles" in verse 18 was translated from the plural of the Greek word ethnos, which literally means "nations". Therefore, verse 18 reaffirms the fact that those who are obedient enough to challenge the Girgashite nations and their teachings inside the Church will draw the hatred of many as the Amorite, Jebusite, and Hittite brass in the religious hierarchy comes against us.

 

Melchisedec priests

The verse prior to Matthew 24:9 reads, "All these are the beginning of sorrows". The word "beginning" was translated from the Greek word arche which, as we said above, means "beginning, first, principal". This same word is used in many verses of Scripture when referring to spiritual "principalities" and to people in power:

 

"And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor" (Luke 20:20)

[The word "power" is a mistranslation of the word arche]

 

"20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." (Ephesians 1:20-23)

 

As you may know, the word "Christ" literally means "the Anointed One". Therefore, the passage above declares that, when we are in the Anointing of the Lord (i.e.- "in Christ"), we break above all principalities and above all names. The anointing of the Lord is by Its nature a "hierarchy breaker"; It unifies us to His Nature and It gives us the authority to challenge any name that defies God's Lordship, whether that name be inside or outside the Church.

 

The Word declares that the Old Covenant Aaronic priesthood is over (Hebrews 7:11-12) and that the priesthood that is currently in place is the Melchisedec priesthood. When Scripture declares that all believers are "priests" (Isaiah 61:6, Revelation 1:6, 1 Peter 2:9), it is declaring that we are priests after the order of Melchisedec, and this is what Adonai says about Melchisedec:

 

"1For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; 3Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually." (Hebrews 7:1-3)

 

This means that, when we move in the Anointing and carry out our Melchisedec priesthood, there is no "father" or "mother", meaning that all temporal hierarchies of authority are transcended. The word "beginning" in verse 3 above was translated from the word arche used in Matthew 24:8, which, as we have said above, can be translated as "beginning" or "principality", and the word "days" refers to "temporality". Therefore, when Melchisedec is said to have "no beginning of days", the Lord is saying that, in the Melchisedec priesthood, there is no "beginning" or "principality" of temporality. There is no temporal principality that the Melchisedec priesthood is ultimately accountable to, at least where its priesthood actions are concerned.

 

The end of the beginning

Since the word arche has somewhat of a dual meaning in Greek ("beginning" and "principality"), it becomes evident from all of the above that there is a "dual" meaning hidden in the phrase "beginning of sorrows" of Matthew 24:8. Just as it literally refers to the "beginning" of sorrows, it is also the Lord's way of prophetically pointing to the attack by the religious "principalities" against those who abide "in Christ" (i.e.- in His Anointing). In other words, Matthew 24:8 could be translated as "All these are the principality of sorrows". There is a religious elite inside the Church that has made it necessary for the prophetic remnant to go through "sorrows" so that the Body of Christ may be restored.

 

Fellow believer, if you are willing to walk in the Melchisedec priesthood anointing and be emotionally afflicted by Hittite spirits, killed by Jebusite spirits, and hated by Amorite-backing "nations", your "sorrows" will mark the beginning of the end for the principalities and powers that rule over the Church at this time. As the Amorites, Jebusites, and Hittites see you threaten their domination, they will come against you, but you can rest assured that your suffering will serve as a seed that will eventually topple their hegemony. Your suffering will lead to the end of the arche, i.e.- to the "end of the beginning".

 

A principality in denial

John 8:32 is one of the most quoted verses in Scripture. Ironically, it happens to be in the middle of one of the least understood passages in all of Scripture:

 

"31Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33They answered him, We be Abrahamís seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:31-36)

[The word "continue" in verse 31 was translated from the Greek verb meno which means "to abide, to remain" (this is the same word that the KJV translators consistently translated as "abide" 7 chapters later, in John chapter 15). The word "word" was translated from logos, which, as we have said before, speaks of God's judgments.]

 

Notice that Jesus spoke these words to the Jews who had believed in Him; He was not talking to unbelievers, yet He said to them "If you abide in My judgments, you are My disciples indeed" (v31). This means that not all believers are disciples. In God's eyes, a true disciple is one who has believed and who then abides in His judgments.

 

Notice how these believers felt insulted when Jesus said that they needed to be free. They answered, "We ain't nobody's slaves! We are Abraham's seed!!" (v33) They thought that being under the covering of some earthly name of good repute guaranteed their spiritual freedom. In today's terms, verse 33 would read, "Hey, who says I'm a slave? I've been a deacon at my church for 13 years!" or "Hey, who says I'm not right with God? I am a Baptist minister with a nationwide TV ministry?" or "Hey, who says I'm not a faithful believer? I am an active member of one of the largest congregations in the U.S."

 

In verse 34, Jesus answered, "Whoever practices sin is a slave of sin" (v34). As we studied in our previous article, the word "sin" in Scripture is more than a label that one places on certain actions; it refers to a condition where a person is dominated by his or her soul and not the spirit. A believer may be born-again and have the "new inner man" inside of him (Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10), but if his life is ruled by his soul and not by that new inner man, he is "in sin", and is therefore a "slave of sin" (John 8:34), even if he is not out fornicating, stealing, or killing.

 

In John 8:35, the Lord says that a soul-centered person loses his or her title as "son of God" and will eventually be "kicked out of the house". Those who submit their soul to the Spirit and allow the new inner man inside of them to be manifested are the true "sons of God" and will abide in the house forever, because they are willing to abide in His judgments (John 8:31). There are many actions that seem perfectly acceptable to the world and to the Church but that are sin before God because they are motivated by soul judgments, and not judgments in the Spirit. As we saw in a previous prophetic word, mother Theresa performed many "commendable" works of charity, but most of them were "in sin" before God's eyes, because they were motivated by soul judgments and not judgments in the Spirit. Many people think they are right with God because they perform many "pious" activities at church, without realizing that, in God's eyes, they are spiritual slaves of their souls. 

 

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isaiah 64:6)

 

People ruled by their souls tend to think that God's judgments against them are too unfair, just as the believers of John 8:33 did when Jesus judged them to be "slaves". They point to their external works and to the great number of people who agree with them and who think well of them. They say, "Hey, my pastor thinks I'm doing a fine job; I do everything my leaders at church tell me to do; I do community work; I don't drink; I don't smoke; I don't commit immorality", yet, before God, they are spiritual pygmies who refused to grow because the growing pains produced by God's judgments simply were not their "cup of tea".

 

With time, this type of believer becomes the most hardened enemy of God's Glorious purposes. Why? Because they have a stake in preserving the religious status quo. They have established a comfortable little niche within the religious structures that certifies them as "good Christians", and any questioning of that status quo endangers the spiritual validity of their niche. This is why they hate those who "rock the boat", and they do everything to "kill" them (Matthew 24:9):

 

"I know that ye are Abrahamís seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you." (John 8:37)

 

In the minds of such believers, God becomes inextricably intertwined with the principalities of the religious structures where they have built their niche. They become staunch defenders of those "arches", and, like "good children", they un-discerningly adopt all the spiritual traits of the arche-daddies that they uphold:

 

"40But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. 41Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." (John 8:40-44)

 

The word "beginning" in verse 44 was translated from arche. Therefore, it can be also translated as "principality", meaning that, in a subtler spiritual sense, God is saying the following in verse 44: "he was a murderer from the principality". Many people justify their actions because they are following the decrees and traditions of their arches or leaders. However, God declares that something is not "right" in His eyes just because a "leader" does it. Why? Because, according to verse 44, there can be murderers at the top!!! The Church is currently dominated by arches that work to kill the prophets and silence the voice of the Spirit (Amos 2:9-13):

 

"Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city" (Matthew 23:34)

[As we said above, the word "synagogues" literally reads as "congregations" in the original Greek text]

 

According to John 8:34, the Church's arche has no truth in it, meaning that it refuses to accept God's judgments against it, since, as we have seen before, truth is inextricably tied to justice and judgments in Scripture.

 

It is interesting to note that the word arche also appears in the following passage:

 

"9On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: 10And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 11And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 12Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. 16This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven." (Acts 10:9-16)

 

The word "corners" in verse 11 was translated from arche (apparently, the Greeks saw the corner of a sheet as one of its "beginnings"); therefore, the original text says, "a great linen knit at the four beginnings". As we saw in a previous word, this passage denotes a predisposition by the early apostles to belittle believers who were not fully Jewish, which is equivalent to the predisposition of today's leaders to belittle believers who are not "full-time ministers" with a religious title at or near the level of the title that they themselves wear. Today's arche is unable to visualize the God-potential in all who have believed, and it is inconceivable to them that anyone of a "lower rank" may actually have the right to judge or question their decrees (Luke 11:19).

 

A person who refuses to accept God's judgments is a person in denial. The Church, therefore, is currently ruled by a principality in denial.

 

Spheres of influence

Having said all of the above, a small clarification must be made. The word arche which we have mentioned throughout this article also appears in the following passage:

 

"1Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, 2To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. 3For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another." (Titus 3:1-3)

[The word "principalities" in verse 1 was translated from arche]

 

[The phrase "speak evil" in verse 2 was mistranslated from the Greek word blasphemeo, from which the English verb "to blaspheme" is derived. As we have said before, to "blaspheme" is to throw accusations that are essentially motivated by a desire to injure another person's reputation because of some personal resentment or soul-centered dislike. If your judgments are birthed out of a selfless zeal for righteousness, they are not blasphemous.]

 

Verse 1 above speaks of being "subject to principalities and powers", but this must be taken in the proper context. Remember, these words were written by a Jewish man (Paul) who refused to obey the Jewish religious leaders' orders to stop preaching the name of Jesus to the Gentiles. They were written by a man who would have undoubtedly preferred death rather than obey any Roman decree banning his faith in Christ. Therefore, it is evident that the passage above speaks of having a predisposition towards obedience without losing sight of the sphere of influence of the authority being obeyed.

 

Since we as believers are called to be unconditionally submissive to God, that submissiveness will manifest itself in an inherent predisposition towards obedience of authority. Yet, it is crucial that we understand that all authority (except for God Himself) is limited to a certain jurisdiction. For example, Paul knew that Caesar had jurisdiction over many things in his life, but he had no jurisdiction over whom Paul could believe in; therefore, he would have never obeyed any decree from Caesar prohibiting him from believing in Jesus. A traffic officer has jurisdiction over the speed at which you drive your car, but he or she can't tell you whom you are supposed to marry!!! A father has jurisdiction over many things in his teenage son's life, but he can't force him to attend his congregation if God explicitly tells him to attend another congregation. In the same way, he cannot impose a college career on his son if the son feels that he is called to do something else. Whether he's right or wrong, a human father's authority can only go so far.

 

You may also notice that Titus 3:1-3 is geared towards the respect of secular authority. Paul makes no mention of "pastors" or "religious leaders" in this passage. In fact, he would be the first to deny that this passage applies to the principalities in the Body of Christ, since he never speaks of good "principalities" inside the Church. Whenever Paul speaks of "principalities", he always speaks of them as "external" to the true Body of Christ (consider Ephesians 3:10 and Ephesians 6:12, and Colossians 2:10-15, for example).

 

When Pharaoh, legitimate king of Egypt, explicitly ordered the murder of every male Hebrew that was born, Moses' parents were not willing to obey (Exodus chapter 2). They knew in their spirits that Pharaoh had no authority from God to make such a decree, and they knew that they were not bound to obey it. In fact, they realized that they would be disobeying God if they obeyed Pharaoh. If a church leader tells you to stop speaking in tongues because his denomination teaches that the speaking of tongues died with the Primitive Church, you would be disobeying God if you decide to repress that manifestation of the Holy Spirit in you just to obey that leader. He has no authority to prohibit true manifestations of the Spirit of God (Acts 4:20), no matter what title he may possess or how "old and venerable" his denomination may be.

 

When confronted with the "obedience" issue, the Lord also alluded to the concept of "spheres of influence":

 

"20And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor. 21And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly: 22Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no? 23But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? 24Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesarís. 25And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesarís, and unto God the things which be Godís." (Luke 20:20-25)

[As we said earlier, the word "power" in verse 20 is a mistranslation of the word arche]

 

Many authorities are unwilling to recognize the limits of their jurisdiction. For example, when Moses told Pharaoh to let God's people go, Pharaoh thought that he had the authority to reject that command. When the "rulers" (archon in Greek) of the people and the "elders of Israel" (Acts 4:8) saw that Peter and the other apostles were preaching in the name of Yeshua, they thought that they had the right to shut them up (Acts 4:21). Just because an authority claims to have jurisdiction over something does not necessarily mean that he or she has that jurisdiction. All true authority is derived from God (Romans 13:1), and we as believers are called to discern between God-given authority and earth-imposed authority, and that discernment cannot rely on external factors that are visible to the natural mind.

 

Travail

The word "sorrows" in Matthew 24:8 was translated from the Greek word odin, which literally means "birth pangs" or "travail pain". Since Matthew 24:8 is spoken in the context of the Lord's Second Coming (Matthew 24:3), it becomes evident that the Church must go through labor pains before the Lord's parousia.

 

As we have said before, eschatologists paint the coming of the Lord as an event that is somewhat external and independent from us. This perception, however, is clearly contradicted by Scripture:

 

"11Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" (2 Peter 3:11-12)

 

In several versions, verse 12 reads "hastening the coming of the day of God" (and I believe this is the correct translation). If the Lord's Coming is an event we have no say in, why does the Lord call us to "hasten" it? Verse 12 also says that we are to "look for" the coming, which implies a sense of expectation and longing. A person who longs for something is constantly checking to see whether or not that which he or she longs for has come to pass. Longing implies emotional suffering; it implies a consuming desire and emotional pain until the hope is fulfilled (Proverbs 13:12). Why would God call us to suffer for His Coming like that? Because it serves as necessary sowing and watering in the Spirit that eventually leads to the longed for harvest: the latter-day manifestation of the Lord.

 

"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." (Revelation 22:17)

 

According to Matthew 24:8-9, the Church must go through labor pains in order for the Lord to come. Labor pains imply a pregnancy, and a pregnancy means a child on the inside that must come out. Therefore, God is saying in Matthew 24:8-9 that the manifestation of the Glorious Lord is currently inside the Church, like a baby inside his mother's womb, and that His Second Coming refers to the day when that baby is born and fully manifested from inside the Church and out into the whole Earth. According to 2 Peter 3:12, the Church can accelerate or delay the chronos (natural time) of the Lord's Coming. His parousia is not an event independent from us and external to us. It is dependent on us and internal because the Lord will appear from inside His Church. Let those who have ears hear what the Lord is saying to His people. As His faithful remnant travails, the arches will fall and the True Arche will appear.

 

"22Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it." (Acts 2:22-24)

 

"13But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14)

 

"16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." (Colossians 1:16-18)

 

{The next article is titled "Betrayal before the end"}