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66 Responses to

  1. Ros Burgess-Clay says:

    God bless you Bill. My heart is heavy with this situation. We all have been guided, taught and blessed by our Lord being able to use each one of you. We have all found such encouragement when we thought that we were alone and no one else seemed to believe what we saw in the Word, as something very different was being preached from the pulpits. We have shared meals together, laughed together, rejoicing in the love we have for each other which only comes from our Heavenly Father. There are few men left who will stand strong for what is the Truth, as you say, even when it means you are set apart and suffer for it. This is exactly what Satan wants, to bring you all down so there is no longer a voice to speak out in these wicked times and where there is such deception in the churches that proclaim everything but our Lord and Saviour of the Bible. I am sure there are many, many brothers and sisters praying for each one of you at this time.
    “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” 1Jn.3:24

  2. Bill says:

    Pastor, I don’t know Phillip, I only know Jacob by his teachings I’ve heard thru your church, and thru Calvary Chapel conferences, but I do know you. I’ve followed your teachings thru both your online postings, and the CDs I get every month or so. I also know you by your books (thank you for the last one), and I know the comfort and understanding I received over the phone with you so many years ago when the Kansas City Prophets overtook the church I was then attending. As such I trust your heart, and your wisdom. As such I choose to form no opinion concerning this conflict between these two, and join you whole heartedly in prayer for reconciliation based on truth. It breaks my heart whenever I hear of watchmen inadvertently clashing their swords. There are so few men willing to stand for the truth in this world filled with error that the church would be weakened by this division if it is not healed.

  3. msindisi says:

    Dear Bill,

    Thank you for your clarification on other aspects of this situation that have not been mentioned by either party. So often personal issues get in the way and bring unnecessary division between brethren. I desire to see biblical unity and am saddened to see the discord on an issue that should not divide. But I do feel that one major issue concerning the fall out has not been addressed by your post. It is the claim by Philip Powell that if a bible teacher is non pre-tribulational in his view of the rapture he is a false teacher and there are no exceptions because in stating that the anti-christ is revealed first, it is a denial of the pre-tribulational view of imminency; the rapture can happen at any time. Jacob’s view is that the rapture is not imminant but at any time we can go to the Lord.

    I received a CWM posting where this denunciation was expressed of any, without exception, who disagreed with the pre-tribulation view of the rapture and I was disturbed. Should ones timing of the rapture be the source of unity between brethren? Should anyone who differs in their view of the timing of the rapture to us be labelled as a false teacher? I tried to reply to the email address with the following message:

    Dear Philip,

    You wrote:

    “Those who teach that the end times will be marked by an ability on the part of God’s People to “know” when the “Anti-Christ” will appear, or who he will be, and to look for those signs, strike at the heart of the doctrine called “imminence” i.e. Christ can come at any time.
    As such they constitute false teachers”

    I am quite disturbed that you would make such a bold stance concerning an issue that many pre-tribulation rapturists would not divide over or say that we should divide over. To say that someone who teaches a view of the rapture that “we know who the antichrist will be before the rapture” is a false teacher because of that is to make the timing of the rapture a divisive issue.

    There are solid bible teachers teaching a view called pre-wrath who teach that we will be raptured after the abomination of desolation. Among them are men like Jacob Prasch and Marvin Rosenthal. I myself also believe this doctrine. They would teach that all of us will make it to the blessed hope because the rapture is immediately proceeded by the resurrection. They teach that the whole event is imminent and any of us could go to be with the Lord at any time and so teach that we should live careful lives. So why would you care to mark out Marv, Jacob or myself as false teachers? Or have I misunderstood your posting?

    Yours in Yeshua,

    Salvador Ung Hayworth

    I do hope that this division over the timing of the rapture will be repented over. It should not divide brethren so sharply as it is doing. We need to argue from scripture in grace and not from a dogmatic adherence of confessional stance alone.

  4. PJ Stringfellow says:

    Yes it is very sad to see how this is causing division within the body. These two men have great knowledge and love for the Lord. Maybe knowledge can blind us from our love for the Lord. We all need to humble ourselves, to teach and to be taught from the word.
    Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.
    In these last days we need to be working as the body preaching Christ so that many may find forgiveness and life in Christ.

  5. Thank you Pastor Bill for that clarification, it is so sad to see such damage done between brothers, praying repentance and reconcilation and Psalm 133

  6. Marilyn/Maz says:

    Dear Pastor Randles,
    As expressed here already by others this is a very sad, and I would say even distressing, situation for everyone. I do understand your position and respect you, however, I need to express something in answer to your post here, as a member of the body of Christ.

    Firstly, it is true that the two men involved here are loved brothers by various sections of the living church, and I understand your heart that yearns to see reconciliation, however, I withdraw from going along fully with your ‘take’ here, which will be explained below. Secondly, when something of this serious nature occurs, while we do not want an over – exacting examination of either brother’s motives, on the other hand, motive is what is being disclosed here to all, and especially to those who may be the recipient of those words, even as you have pointed out with your concern of pride etc. Further, what the perceived offender has done previously, may indeed bear weight concerning his character but on the other hand, it should not be the ultimate ruling factor. And so, in conflict of interest, clarity is paramount. (Not saying that I have it to give)

    As also pointed out by our brother above here, as a leader of God’s people, surely Phillip’s words must be assessed, or judged if you like, as divisive and hurtful to some sections of the body of Christ, not to mention slanderous of another brother, which is potentially harmful to his ministry and therefore to the spiritual health of the people he reaches – if in fact they are deemed to be divisive. Of course brother Jacob’s words should be also assessed.
    This of course is not a place that a woman should preside over but as a member of the body of Christ, I too received the post our brother mentions above. While those words are not directed at me personally, they are nevertheless out there and surely responsibility for those words is laid firmly at brother Phillip’s feet.

    A relative point that perhaps should be taken into account here, one that may or may not bring clarity, is the the biblical gift of discerning of spirits in 1Cor.12:10. While the word of God is the ultimate and sacred plumb by which we discern that which we are hearing, my understanding of the gift of ‘discerning of spirits’ (V.10) is that the Holy Spirit gives to some (as and when He wills) a judicial estimation of, by what spirit someone is speaking. This is for the building up of and also service to the Church. Therefore, should not the understanding that many are disturbed by the spirit of the things said here, be taken into account? Surely there are other factors involved in situations like this, hypothetically for example, there are many teachers but One who is sent by God, therefore is this the one who is speaking?

    Bless you and thank you for the hearing.

  7. I don’t understand how two such prominent leaders in the church could let this escalate to the point of publicly harming each other with their words, under the guise of “truth”. What is the point of the “discernment movement” if one cannot discern one’s own heart or motives? Is “discernment” simply “criticism” under a more spiritual-sounding guise? There are baby lambs watching…. I am praying to Jesus that for the sake of HIS church somebody will be the bigger man and humble himself.

  8. Rockysands says:

    Hi Bill, It’s a very sad day, we likewise revere both of these men and are shocked by much of what we are reading, this take “brother against brother “to a new and frightening level, But in all, may The Truth prevail, may pride be taken low and may Love endure.

    These are difficult times that requires prayerful and uncompromising discernment, may we all be in prayer for Jacob and Phil that unity between them may be found in Truth,

    In Christ.

    Love

    Phil (Rockhampton QLD)

  9. Richard L says:

    Thank you Bill, knowing the two parties involved – particularly the former, having seen one email and heard of others, I was please to see you balanced statement. Our prayers are that for th body, you are able through His grace and spirit to pour oil on the situation.
    – Psalm133

  10. Wayne says:

    Thank you for this information Bill. I am very sorry to hear about this and hope that you may be able to mediate a satisfactory resolution. We need men like this working together
    if Jesus is to find “faith” on the earth when He returns.

  11. Ann Hansom says:

    We have lost some great men of God this past year – by the Lord’s homecalling. This is at a time when we shall miss them more than ever. As people who have greatly benefited by your ministry Pastoir Bill and your colleagues- it has literally been a lifeline to many of us -this is a good timet to say how much all has been appreciated. As none of us are perfect we know that God disciplines and chastens His children – how much more so those who are called to serve the body of Christ. It is just a thought but could there be a ‘higher ‘ motive at work here? Are there some things that need sorting out on a personal level with these men that God wants to deal with? Should they be ministering to ‘the body’ of Christ when they feel as they do to one another. Prayer is so needed for all concerned. This is so terribly sad. Thank you for explaining the situation to us and for your sincere efforts towards peace.

  12. ali says:

    Such troubling times within the world and the church. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but…. I would appreciate your prayers for my son Stephen, a salesman, out of work and unable to secure such. Has a family, a mortgage, is a fine Christian man but in desperate need of work. He refuses to take govt. assistance but is walking in faith. He is not eligible for unemployment as he was partial owner of the business that is now gone. thx and God bless.

  13. STUART KIRKHAM says:

    Dear Brother Bill,
    Thank you for your gracious words in diffusing such a potential break up between two faithful gifted brothers in The Lord. My wife and I have met both these guys, Jacob and Philip are Biblically sound along with Bill Randles himself whom we also know. I lean towards a pre-tribulation rapture like Philip Powell and the late Dave Hunt amongst others. However other sound Evangelical preachers have a different view of the rapture and in my opinion it is a case of agreeing to differ over non essentials of the Faith. Of one thing I am certain, God will look after His children as He as always been doing, Praise God! He will protect us through the Great Tribulation if we go through it or take us to Glory before The Great Tribulation takes place. That is if we are still alive when these events take place. Psalm 91, my favourite Psalm is a great comfort to believers.
    Satan himself is attacking believers, particularly renowned preachers through his army of demons as never before, we ARE in the end times though no man knows the day or date of The Lord’s return.
    Come Lord Jesus!

  14. Chris Saunders says:

    We cannot afford to lose men of God who have exhorted us to walk closer with the Lord over the years we really need to hold them up in prayer, but at the moment until they have repented of the false beliefs we must, pray for them, not discuss them harmfully, nor turn our backs to them, but also we must not follow any doctrine which will lead us into the snares and traps of the Devil.. let us pray. Chris Saunders

  15. Dear Brethren
    Let these two battle it out. Let’s see who is right using the plumb line of scripture.
    Pray that they don’t reduce themselves to childish behaviour and personal public laundering.
    Both Philip and Jacob are intelligent and on independent evaluation sui -juris and of sound mind.
    Let there be no party sprit!
    [1Cr 1:10-13 NASB] 10 Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
    Let none of us take sides. I.e. I am with Jacob OR I am with Philip.
    Let the two of them battle it out.
    All things work together for good and the outcome will be interesting and a blessing to us all.
    May God Bless them both in The Lord Jesus Christ.
    Lawrie Cornish (NZ)

  16. Gina Nestor says:

    Dear Pastor Bill,
    Thank you for your post. I had no idea there was a dispute between Phillip and Jacob. I don’t know Phillip but I follow Jacob’s teachings closely. I am praying for resolution to this issue. We should not divide over the timing of the rapture. We should agree to disagree agreeably. The timing of the rapture is NOT an essential of the faith. Thank you for your post and your thoughtful, measured response. Satan is truly trying to divide. God bless you.

    • I too think this issue of the timing of the rapture is not essential to the faith. We need to pray that these two bury their differences asap as they are not doing any good by holding a grudge. The body of Christ needs strong leadership and a spirit of love and peace, always

      • STUART KIRKHAM says:

        I agree entirely. The devil is attempting to drive a wedge between these men. Prayer is the answer. Peace and Reconciliation. GOD can sort it out, only HE can see the full picture.

  17. nannette says:

    Dear Pastor Bill, Thank you. This very thing happened to me although I am not a teacher, just a member of the body. The longer it takes to reconcile, the harder it will be. In my case, reconciliation never happened, the pastor’s wife (a teacher for 35 years at the church) and I was the recipient of one lady in the body’s hurtful behavior. She still cries over it, and it broke her heart as it did mine. I heard an awesome sermon by Pastor David Hocking I never forgot and I shared it will the lady, to no avail but in this case it is good to go back and be a simple child of God and listen. He said: “We forget about the devil’s tactics who gets us to fight each other, he gets us to forget about the demonic forces, he gets us to fantasize about what does not belong to us. He says we over estimate our own abilities and fail to understand and apply the resources God has given us, and our resource is in the Lord in recognition of our needs. We need to continue to pray for protection for God’s saints, praying always, and to the commitment of the proclamation of the gospel.” All this is known by these wonderful pastor teachers, let us not forget to apply them, and be THANKFUL! God knows what He is doing!

  18. Ross says:

    Bill,

    Thank you for this post. I submit my comments in sadness as a previous long time supporter and advocate for Jacob. We recently have suffered rejection and hatred from fellow believers that has been fuelled by many hurtful and unhelpful comments made during a recent sermon at a local gathering from in which he spoke. The visit from Jacob inspired more division and opinion rather than repentance and healing. Many of the statements were unverified and hearsay, rather than a scriptural approach to relationship and accountability. My comments are not to add to the boiling pot of division and opinion but rather a call to these gifted men of responsibility. A call to realise the great and fearful burden they carry to the people and to do it with a servants heart and a servants humility. As the Grace we have been afforded is sufficient and it is all about the Lord and not ourselves. I pray that since you might have the ear of these men, encourage them to seek who their master truly is, and to treat all the flock in the summary of the commandments issues to us as a community in the Lord. To love one another in truth and walk rightly before our Lord.

  19. Megan Reardon-Bester says:

    We are ‘starving’ for spiritual grain in my part of the world. Most of us have left ‘churches’, our bible groups have divided over similar issues, our ‘cyber’ church is now under attack – which is basically our only connection to other brothers and sisters – we so desperately seek ‘fellowship’. I know there are seats available at Pastor Bill’s church, would love to re-locate, but am called to be faithful here. Feed the flock, do not abandon the sheep! Seek re-conciliation based on Christ alone, there is a bigger picture, remember the widow and the orphan, we glean the corners and edge of the fields. God bless to all involved. Not by might, nor by power but by my spirit………..in Thee do we Trust, the same yesterday, today and forever.

  20. nannette says:

    Amen sister Megan. We were warned about famine by our dear brother Jacob. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come. nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-38. Jesus is coming soon! If you have even only one born again one to study with, Praise God, even if you don’t, Praise God! God provides!

  21. Gill Richard says:

    Dear Bill,
    I have been very saddened by this whole matter and am praying for reconciiation for all concerned.
    Sadly, this whole debate has been characterised by unloving and ungracious language and attitude by some of those involved, especially towards the erring brother.
    You and Jacob know this brother and you both hold him in high esteem. Your aim was to restore him lovingly.
    Very regrettably, this wasn’t the case with the others involved, who did not listen to your wise counsel, but rather went ahead and denounced the brother publically. Even before they decided to take this course of action, their communications with him were not very pleasant and caused him great distess. They also adversely affected his health.
    They don’t even know the erring brother; had they not interfered in the first place, you would not have to be addressing this matter now.
    I pray that they will examine their hearts and their motives,and issue an apology to the brother concerned.

    In Him
    Gill Richard

    • billrandles says:

      Thanks Gill. I have to add though, that the brother himself put us in quite a position. Why cling to speculative theology in the day of apostasy and the LIE?We were all engaged in the fight for the life and doctrine of the remnant church, and known for calling out major heretics. I do understand why the others were concerned about purity of doctrine. There was also a loving concern for me, that I might not be burdened via an association with an indefensible doctrine of a friend.

  22. joan fletcher says:

    PRAY,PRAY,PRAY for all these dear brothers who are on the front line. This is unfortunate that this has happened. We are told to pray for all those in authority 1TIMOTHY 2 verses 1 and 2 Each one of these dear brothers have been given to the church for the ministry of the building up of the church . Also to warn us of the evil times we are living in especially regarding deception in the church. Behind this divide and misunderstanding is the work of the enemy, who seeks to steal to kill and destroy especially relationships in the body of Christ. My prayer is that there will be forgiveness and reconciliation between our brothers . We all make mistakes even the strongest of men in the faith, let us remember Love covers a multitude of sins and that the Lord will be merciful and help Jacob and Philip to stand together once again in earnestly contending for the faith.

    Joan Fletcher

  23. Josephine says:

    Growing up Roman catholic, I never heard of a rapture. It seemed to be an odd teaching when I first heard of it. As a young believer I began to search the scriptures to see if the bible taught we would be gathered to meet Him in the air. To my pleasant surprise I found the New testament did teach this. A few years latter i heard of Christian men arguing over the timing of the rapture. Why did it matter so much to them that they would act hateful to each other. Today most Christians I talk with do not believe in the rapture at all and what disturbs me most is that they say they really don’t believe Jesus is returning to earth. I pray these men stop and see the greater cause for alarm is the lack of faith on the earth today.

  24. Jason Schmidt says:

    Praying. The last thing anyone wants is for this to become yet another location where people sling accusations. Writers, please be cautious and make sure that you have talked with the appropriate party about even small annoyances that you have with specific people here, and have exhausted other channels prior to posting.
    The thing going on at the moment is not directly about the rapture/tribulation body of issues, but it’s good to remember that a heresy in that situation got things rolling a bit. Although there are various positions that are not heresy about this, there are sometimes positions that are clearly heretical. I didn’t read anything that said anyone actually disagreed that there was heresy going on here. But the discussion of the issue itself brings to mind various positions and predisposes the thoughts to view the next situation in a certain way.

    From the outside looking in primarily through this article, I could understand how a person could look at the situation and read group-dynamics implications into Jacob asking for a delay, wanting to talk to the person individually, and then asking for someone who might have a conflict of interest to step out of the discussion. Particularly if this is treatment that is different than any other person who has published heresy, whom people in the group do not know. And especially with the particular topic of that heresy, which as mentioned above, biases the mind to certain patterns. Similarly, the impatience to write a letter prior to Jacob getting back could also have group-dynamic motivations. I suggest that the group prayerfully consider whether there should be changes made to how you approach people who have written such things. If the approach is different for people who various ones in the group know, than it is for people nobody in the group knows, that difference will result in members with differing views on which approach should be taken: it’s a tinderbox for the Devil unless all have previously discussed and worked through what they’d like to see happen if it was their own long-time friend and nobody else knew them.

    The whole group confronting the person together as a first step seems like it would immediately put him on the defensive rather than having a conversation with friends, but I think you guys know that pretty well, so there must have been reasons for doing this. Extending the previous speculation though, it could also be an escalation of a situation where people who didn’t know the person were uncomfortable with the notion that only the people who knew him were meeting with him. These things I offer for your consideration to maybe help.

    It’s not a sad thing to have these disputes, though personality attacks are a bit of a distraction. It’s not a blow to our testimony for these things to happen, we are in fact, as Bill mentioned, not yet perfect people. It is a great opportunity to learn and testify. We have the unusual and amazing notion that there is more to life than our own offenses, a recognition that there can be things that are both offensive to us and yet still true about us – and that’s ok because God isn’t done with us yet, and then the notion that we actually do not have the final word. When the world sees two or more people who seem to have offended each other past the point that they would say there is no return from, and then see those same people not gloss over or abdicate strong beliefs for false unity, not throw in the towel and divide with enmity, but stay in there and work out what is actually true and come to true unity… that is not the norm. The norm is the belief that discernment, and focus on what is true will inevitably divide people because (as they believe in the norm) there is no actual independent truth. But God has brought and will continue to bring these men to that Truth,

  25. Richard Smith says:

    I can now see why God may have have to send the harsh discipline of persecution to knock his people into shape. having visited Auschwitz just over two tears ago, this comment is not made lightly. However, one result of persecution is that you discover whether your relationship with Jesus is real or not.

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree with this statement. Where do you read on Iranian christian websites where Christians are being killed about these kind of debates? We in the UK should be ashamed of ourselves, and hold a prayer meeting and we should humble ourselves before the Lord and repent of the damage we are doing to the preaching of the gospel. Having just come back from a country where Christians are in the minority yet the gospel is being preached with power by the power of the Holy Spirit, the church in England is wretchedly poor yet we think we are rich! Repent church and humble yourselves before the Lord and pray for salvation of others!

  26. Evie says:

    I notice now on Philip Powell’s website that he and his group have backed down somewhat (apologising) re the disagreement with Jacob Prasch. Whether it’s a face-saving exercise, a genuine apology or both, I hope that all involved, now graciously put the whole business behind them.

    • msindisi says:

      Hi Evie,

      Do you have the Link to the apology? I am wondering if Philip has repented from labelling all those who disagree with the pre-trib rapture view and those who do not hold to imminency of the rapture like, Jacob, Marvin Rosenthal etc as false teachers.

      • Evie says:

        You said earlier that you wrote to Philip and received CWM material so you must know his website address is Christian Witness Ministry!

  27. msindisi says:

    Hi Evie,

    Normally I receive emails from Philip Powell and I don’t visit the CWM sight. I have met Philip personally and have visited his Church. But the reason I asked is I wanted to be sure that I was looking at the same thing you were. I read the following on the website:

    “There have been and always will be disputes about the interpretation of scripture regarding the Rapture of the Church and Christ’s Second Coming. One thing we do know is that we have TO BE READY for the day known only to The Father – Maranatha”

    I praise the Lord for this answer to prayer. The timing of the rapture and the pre-tribulation view of immanency should not divide the pre-millennial crowd. There are bigger fish to fry. As long as we take the Pre-trib emphasis of being ready for the Lord at any time and the Pre-wrath and post-trib emphases of keeping our eyes open for the revealing of anti-christ and knowledge that we may live to see a worldwide persecution of all believers then our view of the rapture should not divide us or cause us to label one another as false teachers or heretics. We should not back out of debate but must do so with love and respect.

    Shalom to all,

    Salvi

  28. Susan Brogaine says:

    I believe that there is too much ego getting in the way here on both sides. On a slightly different point, I also wonder whether in this day and age, given the vast amount of technology available to us (you tube, skype etc etc), whether it is necessary for people like Philip and Jacob to be doing as much travelling as they do. Surely the money spent could be used better elsewhere.

  29. Simon says:

    Can’t believe you guys made a big hoo-hah over non-essential matters like Midrash and prophecy interpretations…

  30. Anonymous says:

    Firstly, the enemy is laughing so hard at all of this. Instead of praying about the principality that is behind this division, the church is divided. We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities. Secondly, there but for the grace of God go I. Where is lovingly restoring the brother in error. Thirdly, How is this a good witness to an unbeliever. Can the church in the UK please wake up. It has head knowledge but no heart knowledge and no knowledge of the power of the Holy Spirit because if it did, this would have been dealt with in prayer and not on the internet!

    • Simon says:

      Exactly, this website and others like Moriel has always been head knowledge. I have never found them to be edifying in any way, but always nitpicking. Audiences here are not interested in the devotional material and hardly read them, as evidenced by the total lack of comments and discussion after each blog post. But controversial postings like this one draws a huge crowd. In a way, I am glad this issue happened and was made public. At least we now know these men are fallible and can also be guilty of mistakes like the very ones they choose to criticize. Amen.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Do unbelievers dying in hospital today and going to hell care whether the tribulation is pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation or post-tribulation? Please church wake up and preach the gospel. Please also repent of gossiping publicly on the internet. This should all have been done privately. some details should never have been mentioned. That’s it it is finished, covered by the blood of the precious Lamb shed on the cross for all the bitter words and sin of this situation. It was all taken on the cross by our wonderful saviour!

    Enough!

  32. Ross says:

    We have lost the community in Gods word because of our blindness to His instruction and teaching on how to live His way. Such division for so many reasons, so sad when the world needs direction and can’t turn to the ones that should be living out the answers. Please be blessed and listen to http://www.skipmoen.com on his recent teaching called “upside down leadership”. Maybe a start to understanding why we struggle to stand/pray united and to be the light to the world!

  33. Ken says:

    God never promised to spare believers from the tribulation caused by the wrath of man and Satan. Consider the Catholic Inquisitions and today’s persecution unto death of saints in many parts of the world. God only promised to keep us from His wrath. There is not a single verse in the Bible that supports the disarming false doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture, but there are hundreds of verses to the contrary. Sadly, there is a lot of spiritual blindness going on in the New Churches of Laodicea.

  34. Hullo – this is Philip Powell here. I know I’m late but better late than never. I have read most of the pertinent posts above – not all of them. My concern has never been about the timing of the rapture. If you examine my statement carefully you will see that I did NOT dub those who take a different position to mine, which is definitely premillennialism and per tribulational false or heretical. My objection was to the repeated statement by Jacob Prasch that the faithful church will (must be able to) identify the anti Christ before the rapture. That I think is false and heretical as it places an onus on the church and away from Christ regarding the timing of the rapture, which I believe is clearly lodged with God and His Son only. I pray that this post by me will not open the matter to further debate but will help to calm the waters. I see the doctrine of “imminence” viz that Christ may return at any time not “immanence” viz. that Christ is present in all things, which Jacob Prasch mistakenly called it twice, is IMPORTANT and vital to the whole eschatoligal position.

    God bless you and may Jesus Christ be praised in all things.

    Philip Powell – Brisbane, Australia.

    • msindisi says:

      Dear Philip,

      I appreciate you replying to the comments, many of which are sentiments expressed in my post. Therefore I would share my heart with you concerning your reply as a brother in Christ who much appreciates the service both yourself and Jacob Prasch have rendered to the body of Messiah. I urge you as a brother to desist from labeling this view concerning the revelation of antichrist to the church preceding the rapture as heretical.

      You state that this has nothing to do with the timing of the rapture and your argument is not with that but I believe that you are wrong. The timing of the rapture has much to do with the notion that the revelation of Antichrist to the Church precedes the rapture. Those of us who are intra-trib or post-trib (believing the rapture occurs after the abomination of desolation) by default believe that Antichrist is revealed prior to the rapture as we believe 2 Thessalonians 2 teaches. Our definition of imminence differs from that of the Pre-trib rapturists. For many of us the whole events surrounding Jesus’ return are imminent and can start at any time. Jacob defines imminence (please forgive his spelling but surely he did not intend “immanence”) as an understanding that at any time we could go to be with the Lord. But it is a fallacy to assert that we deny imminence. It is true that we deny imminence as defined by the pre-tribulational rapture theory.

      As someone who believes the abomination of the desolation precedes the rapture, I believe that we are not destined for wrath, (being pre-wrath myself), that Jesus will come as a thief in the night, and I refute the notion that noting these signs concerning the antichrist detracts from putting the onus on God for I uphold that no person knows the day nor the hour. Matthew 24:36 “But of that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” and Matthew 24:42 “Therefore be on the alert, for you, do not know which day your Lord is coming” (and Mark 13:32-37), according to the dictates of pre-tribulational exegesis do not apply to the Church. The disciples addressed to in the Olivet Discourse, in pre-tribulational exegesis, represent Israel (hence when it states that “when you see the abomination of desolation”, according to those who are pre-trib, the disciples cannot represent the church). If that is true then the disciples cannot represent the church in Matthew 24:36-51 because it is the same sermon and the same context. But those of us who are not pre-trib believe that the words apply to the Church and therefore no one can know the day or the hour of Jesus’ parousia which is like a thief in the night (Matthew 24:42-44).

      Neither does Jacob’s teaching take away from the expectancy of Christ’s return. The assistant pastor of a Church I used to attend, Paul Wilkinson, said in private correspondence to me that I sounded much like a pre-tribulationist though I had made it clear that I was not. Our hearts desire and longing is for Jesus’ return for the Church for which we expectantly wait despite the fact we believe that there are signs which precede his coming.

      It is one thing to believe that such teachings are erroneous and another to classify them as heresy (which is factious teaching). Those who promote heresy are heretics who must be marked and separated from. ****If this be your view of a heretic, and of those who promote heresy,**** then what do we do concerning those pre-tribulationists who also believe that the antichrist will be revealed to the church immediately prior to the rapture? What do you do with all the pre-tribulationists who believe that the rapture is the start of the seventieth week? Do you mark them and separate from those brethren? They would also be holding to views that, by default, necessitate the fulfilling of certain signs before the rapture takes place and thus contradict the pre-tribulational definition of “imminence” as Arnold Fruchtenbaum teaches.

      I have given a long reply but, ****if the above be your view of those who promote heresy**** I am urging you, please my brother, disagree with Jacob by all means. Even strongly disagree with his view of the rapture and the necessity of the antichrist being revealed to the church before Jesus comes back. But please do not start labeling us who hold to these things as heretics, or promoting heresy, as that implies that we must be marked and separated from. I do not believe that this is an issue to divide over and break fellowship over. Let us hold forth the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace when it comes to these issues of differences over non essentials to Christian fellowship and participation in God’s work. Let us discuss them, and debate them, but not fall out over them. We must be careful that we do not cause people in the flock to stumble over our unnecessary divisions.

      God’s peace be on you.

      Salvador.

      • philipcwm says:

        Dear Salvador:

        Very strangely and coincidentally I am in the throes of compiling an email to you, totally apart from this from you, on my LAPTOP. I will hope to complete it before I go to bed and will send it to you. It spells out my position and my concerns about JP’s take and his recent unacceptable deriding of good and godly men. Please await it’s arrival before responding to this.

        The major problem with your view as I see it is that it, like the Kingdom Now teaching, puts the emphasis on US and away from the sovereignty of God in respect of the Rapture I.e. we decide when it will occur by our knowing who the anti-Christ is. That is why I dub it false. You may not see it that way but effectively you CANNOT avoid that conclusion. Also there is nothing in Scripture which tells us to look for the anti-Christ. On the contrary we are definitely and directly told to LOOK FOR CHRIST.

        Please watch this space.

        Love in Jesus,

        Philip.

        Sent from the iPad of Philip L Powell

        >

      • msindisi says:

        Hi Philip,

        I will appreciate such a reply. The point I was trying to make is that this should not be a divisive issue which should polarize those of us who have like minded ness in regards to the gospel and stand fast against the deceptions of the word of faith, prosperity, emergent church, etc. As others who are friends with CWM and Moriel respectively have told me personally, it is a secondary issue. I know people like Paul Wilkinson who passionately hold to your view. Andrew Robinson preached it as you have explained it but Paul never treated my stance as heretical though he felt strongly about it. Though I believe that these signs precede the rapture, of which I do not know the day or hour, I long for Jesus’ return and cry for Him to return when I see what is happening around. The longer I walk with Christ the sooner I expect Him to return. When I see the signs happening even now it tells be His return is closer than it has ever been. Whether I am still alive at the time or pass away, I will experience the blessed hope, for when we see Him, we will be like Him for we will see Him as He is. And because of this great hope, we are exhorted to purify ourselves even as He is pure.

        My whole purpose in discourse is to keep the peace between brethren of like mind. In essentials unity, in non essentials liberty and in all things charity. Surely the signs concerning the parousia of Christ, such as the abomination of desolation, the man of lawlessness being revealed, false Christ’s and false prophets are put there in scripture for a reason. Surely the Lord wants us to look into these things. Is that not why Pre-trib theologians, such as Arnold Fruchtenbaum have extensively written about the revealing of Antichrist though they do not believe we will be here to see him? So if we are all growing in understanding of these things, as the Spirit illuminates the scripture, then surely it doesn’t matter what your stance of the rapture’s timing you would recognize Antichrist if the rapture is after the abomination of desolation. I cannot believe that godly pre-trib people will not be ready to suffer and experience martyrdom if that be the case, by God’s grace. But if we are walking ready lives every day and purifying ourselves in light of the blessed hope if it is Pre-trib then surely we will be caught up despite the fact that we believe the rapture occurs after the abomination of desolation.

        Please excuse the long winded reply. My heart is for a conciliatory approach and I apologize if my tone does not match my intent.

        Love in Christ,

        Salvador

      • philipcwm says:

        Dear Salvadore:

        I agree that we should not divide over the timing of the Rapture. I did not say that those of you who embrace a Post-Tribulation or a Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church are heretics. My concern was with the statement that the “the faithful Church (remnant) must identify or be able to identify the antichrist before Christ can (will) return.” That I believe is a serious error, for the reasons I have elsewhere stated. If I have misunderstood the statement then I stand to be corrected. Your explanation only compounds the difficulty, as I see it. You appear in one of your emails to me to suggest that the concerning statement that I have cited above is part and parcel of the doctrine of the Post-Tribulation (Pre-Wrath) position. If that is so it compounds the problem that I face. I do not think it is so.

        My position acknowledges that all Christians face “tribulation”, but that is distinct and different from what Scripture calls “The Great Tribulation” or “Jacob’s Trouble”. I also cling dearly to the doctrine of “imminence”, which both Jacob Prasch and you have wrongly dubbed “immanence”. If we must wait for the Church to identify Antichrist then we have destroyed the truth of the Imminent (that it may occur at any time) Return of Christ. Also as I have said previously, in my opinion, it changes the focus from watching for Christ to watching for the antichrist.

        I agree with your statement about fundamentals as opposed to incidentals and the need to maintain charity in all things and have strenuously argued for that, citing the famous quote that you allude to, throughout my ministerial career, which now stretches to almost 60 years.

        My one and only concern in all of this is the dogmatic statement that the Church must identify the Antichrist before Christ can or will return. If that statement is adequately explained or withdrawn the contention will cease.

        “In Essentials – UNITY; in Non Essentials – Liberty; in ALL THINGS – CHARITY.”

        In that regard I will continue to canvass for a retraction by Moriel of their advice to people to avoid me and CWM. That is neither consistent to your argument nor yet charitable. It should be apologised for as brother Bill Randles apologised for the implication that I am DOCETIC, which I am not.

        May peace prevail among us.

        Yours because His in grace and love,

        Philip L. Powell CWM.

        Sent from the iPad of Philip L Powell

        >

      • msindisi says:

        Thanks Philip.

        I am open to being contradicted but I don’t see how the issue of antichrist being revealed can be separated from the timing of the rapture that is placed after the abomination of desolation. Let me quickly explain. If the scripture “you do not know the day” in Matthew 24 concerns the rapture (and I believe it does and you used it to speak of your definition of imminence – the rapture in particular rather than the whole seventieth week) then it indicates that the disciples in the olivet discourse represent the faithful church. If that be so, Jesus tells the disciples, who represent the faithful church, in the same sermon “when you see the abomination of desolation”. I do not see how you can then hold to a (post abomination of desolation – whether intratrib or post trib without understanding that the antichrist would have to be revealed first before the rapture takes place. Only the faithful church in this scenario would then identify him as such. Thus he is revealed to the faithful church.

        I also think that is where we are missing each other. But I take this as a non essential and I think that I may still enjoy fellowship and unity with those who differ. I hope you do too. And I agree with getting these accusations off the internet.

        Love in Messiah.

        Salvador

      • philipcwm says:

        Dear Salvadore:

        None of this has so far been published on Bill Randles’ blog as far as I can see. This maybe due to his possibly being away from Cedar Rapids. I think, not sure, that he may now be in OZ.

        I really don’t want to perpetuate this discussion. I repeat that my one only concern about all this relates to the statement that “the end time church must be able to identify the antichrist before Christ can return”. That I believe is a false claim that borders on heresy, for the reasons I have given, which I do NOT wish to repeat. I disagree with your reasoning about the abomination of desolation in its link to that statement.

        You appear to miss my point, which is about the identifying of the antichrist, not so much about his being revealed. He will of course be revealed in God’s time. That is NOT the same as saying the church must (has to) identify him before Christ can return. Surely neither you nor Jacob Prasch can logically or theologically subscribe to that idea. I think that JP made a serious mistake when he twice made that claim in his book and elsewhere.

        In my opinion we are simply going around in circles. I will make no further comment on this issue

        Every blessing in Christ,

        Philip L. Powell.

        Sent from the iPad of Philip L Powell

        >

      • philipcwm says:

        Dear Salvadore:

        I think part of the problem lies with a definition of “revealed”. That in my view does NOT involve or imply the church having to identify the antichrist. I think JP’s take on this is heretical as it makes the church responsible for the timing of Christ’s return and takes the whole issue away from the sovereignty of God and Christ. It also causes God’s people to focus on the Antichrist and off Christ. In my view it is a dangerous doctrine – as dangerous as the Kingdom Now teaching. In CETF # 69 we plan to publish the first of a series on IMMINENCE (not imanence, which is something quite different and something that JP mixed up).

        Every blessing,

        Philip
        http://www.cwm.org.au

      • msindisi says:

        Hi Philip.

        If the rapture happens after the antichrist is revealed then it must be that the antichrist be revealed before the Church is raptured. The text seems to place the revealing of the antichrist at the abomination of desolation which is what I believe it relates to. When Jacob says the church must identify antichrist then it places the rapture in a place unrelated to the abomination as the church could theoretically identify antichrist before the abomination. I claim backing of Jesus’ teaching that the church in Jerusalem would be around to see the abomination of desolation. This does not contravene God’s sovereignty if His sovereignty has determined this. The argument has the same logical fallacy of the Calvinistic argument that if your belief in Christ is essential to getting born again and not the result of the new birth then you are denying God’s sovereignty in salvation. Dave Hunt ably refuted the logical fallacy of the argument in his book “What love is this”.

        That said, do you really regard me a heretic because I hold that due to the teaching of scripture the church must identify antichrist before the rapture happen? Will you denounce me because of that? If someone teaches something heretical does that make him a heretic? If one is a heretic then should they be marked and avoided? Then what happens when someone like Bill teaches alongside a heretic like Jacob or myself should the occasion arise. Will you disfellowship with Bill for doing that?

        Or is this more a personal issue between you and Jacob concerning the strong words and accusations that have been made, that Jacob did not pull down from his website? If that is a major component of this equation then one has to ask whether self-preservation is not at play here? Self preservation is a not a sound ingredient and may have far more consequences of bringing unnecessary division in the body of Christ. I leave this discussion noting my agreement with Bill’s original posting.

      • philipcwm says:

        Salvadore – the only issue from my perspective is the statement that the church must identify the antichrist before Christ can (will) return. That statement is I think heretical for the reasons I have given. I have no more to say on the matter in this forum or at this point in time.

        Every blessing,
        Philip.
        http://www.cwm.org.au

      • philipcwm says:

        Dear Salvadore:

        I had no idea our interaction would be posted on Bill Randles’ blog, though I raise no real objection. I will try to answer your question, even though I think I did cover the point.

        I do not consider those who accept the idea that Christ will return after the great tribulation – not before it – as being heretical, and have never said or implied that.

        My one and only point is that the claim that the “faithful church” must identify the antichrist before the Lord can or will return is an heretical statement for the reasons I have given several times.

        There appears to be no point in discussing this any further.

        All the best,
        Love in Jesus,

        Philip L. Powell
        http://www.cwm.org.au

      • msindisi says:

        Hi Philip.

        Happy to leave it there. Just want to assure you that I will not call you a heretic because you believe that no signs precede the rapture. I regard the service you have rendered to the body of Messiah in issues concerning Toronto, Word of Faith and other such things as invaluable to the body as that of Jacob’s service. May the Lord bless you.

        Salvador

      • philipcwm says:

        I do not believe and have never said, “no signs precede the rapture”. You are putting words in my mouth, which is not the first time you and others of your fraternity have done this.

    • midrashcreed says:

      Doesn’t it all seem a pointless squabble compared to what’s happening to Christians in the Middle East, the multi-sexual revolution that’s overtaking the churches in the West and the current threats to Israel well documented by Bill Randles. Haven’t the parties involved in it got better things to do with their time? Represented here is the kind of pettiness that discredits Evangelical Christianity. How jesus must weep.

      • philipcwm says:

        I agree and have tried to say so, but my IT ability is virtually nil. It didn’t seem to work. If you can help I’d appreciate it, but then may be even that is a waste of time and effort in the bigger scheme of things.

        Every blessing,

        Philip L. Powell CWM

        Sent from the iPad of Philip L Powell

        >

      • Ross says:

        Who knows, we might even be wrong about the Rapture? comments from a friend of mine and somewhat thought provoking…

        “Then two will be in the field. The one is taken away and the one is left.” Matthew 24:40

        Is Taken Away – Ignoring the context makes for great Hollywood movies and bestselling books. Maybe that’s why it is so appealing to forget what Jesus says just before this auspicious verse. But if we don’t pay attention, our theology will be confused and we might have expectations that are entirely off the mark.

        Matthew 24 is a discourse on the end times. Jesus describes some of the signs, but He uses a crucial Old Testament story to set the stage. It is the story of Noah. “Just like the days of Noah,” says the Lord. That should give us all the clues we need to understand the context. What was it like in the days of Noah? People believed things were pretty much normal. They didn’t give a second thought to the idea of judgment. In fact, even though it took Noah one hundred years to build the ark, no one worried about the implications of that vessel. They didn’t see it coming until the rains started, and then it was too late.

        Here’s the crucial question about the days of Noah: Who was taken away? Guess what? It wasn’t Noah. He remained, safe and secure inside the ark. Those who were taken away were the ones who were lost in the Flood. They were no more. Noah floated above the storm. All the rest vanished, swallowed up in judgment. In Greek, it is paralambano, to take from.

        Now apply this context to the lessons Jesus teaches in Matthew 24. Two are in the field. One is taken. Two are at the mill. One is taken. If we believe the mythology of bestsellers, comic books and movies, we will think that the righteous will be whisked away, instantaneously translated to heaven while the dumbfounded world stares at empty chairs. But that’s not what happened in Noah’s day. The righteous stayed put, right here on the earth, riding out the storm. It was the unrighteous who were taken away.

        By paying attention to the Hebrew idea of salvation, we won’t follow the masses proclaiming spiritual evaporation. The Hebrew idea is rescue in the midst of trouble. It is not escape. Salvation is God showing up with reinforcements so that I am able to fulfill His mission. Salvation is not evacuation to the beach of the heavenly sea so that I can lounge in a comfortable chair while angelic creatures bring me refreshing nectar. If you want that kind of salvation, go talk to Mohammed. Hebrew salvation is Spirit-provided power, courage and endurance right here in the place where “thy will be done.” Our preoccupation with getting to heaven lets us ignore the “days of Noah” lesson. We need to stop looking for a way out and start doing the will of the Father where we are. When judgment comes, the obstacles will be removed and the earth will be restored – just as it was when the ark came to rest after the storm.

        It’s hard to give up the fantasy that if we just wait a little longer, God will snatch us out of this mess. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. If we are going to be consistent with the divine mission, we will realize that escape is not a godly option. “If this cup cannot pass from me,” is the option of the follower of the Way. But be comforted. He is with you. And if Jesus is here, why would I want to run to the beach?

        by Skip Moen

      • philipcwm says:

        Brother Bill:

        If you are looking for a comment from me re blogging the following from Ros, (Skip Moen) my suggestion would be to leave it off the blog.

        It really adds nothing pertinent and will I think add to the confusion.

        I am so pleased to read that you will try to meet me during your visit to OZ.

        “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done …. ”

        In Christ, With much love,

        Philip.

        Sent from the iPad of Philip L Powell

        >

      • Ross says:

        I’m afraid that is exactly the point. It was to show how we hold theological positions and views higher than the relationships. We all could be mistaken but the lack of humility and arrogance that fits the Greek mind set ( If it doesn’t fit in the box then throw it out and the person) brings about further division and even more franchises on beliefs and further denominations. Go ahead, disagree and argue. It’s what was happening in scripture for centuries. But when the Messiah came to reveal their hearts and lack of humility then they had a decision to make. Turn and repent or reject him and others and stand in the place of YOU being the authority of scripture. Where is the heart and love in that? Aren’t we to love the Lord your God and our brother just the same. I’ll bet you’ll find many more examples in your “Christian” walk where it’s more comfortable to surround yourself with those that agree. If the aim was to agree with each other then how would we learn. Thank you for proving my point.

      • Ross says:

        The really sad and difficult thing Phillip, is that I know Jacob and he is probably not humble enough to receive what you have to say anyway. It’s a vicious circle that separates us from each other and from helping one another in humility to seek the truth and build each other up in the knowledge of the Messiah. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?, to be able to sit together and acknowledge our faults and need for help in seeking the truth while we discuss and seek together?. True community in the Word.

  35. philipcwm says:

    Thanks SALVADORE for your response:
    As you know I have drafted a full response to the above, which i thought was to be a private email to me, which is the way I think the matter should first be approached. Though I have no problem with it being publically aired. My ONLY objection is (was) to the claim that the faithful Church must first identify the anti-Chrsit before the rapture can take place. There are three problems with that assertion as I mentioned in my longer private email to you, copied to Bill Randles the owner of this blog:
    1) Firstly there is no biblical warrant for the assertion;
    2) Secondly it misdirects the focus of faithful Christians, away from Christ and onto Anti-Christ;
    3) Thirdly it inevitably destroys the doctrine of imminence, which Jacob Prasch wrongly calls “immanence”.
    In my view the only position that covers every biblical claim regarding the Rapture and Second Coming of Christ is the Pre-Millennial, Pre-Trbulational return of Christ, a view which has been adopted historically by many great Bible Teachers and more recently by such men as Dr. Dwight L. Pentecost, Dr. Fredrick Tatford, Dave Hunt and Dr. Paul Wilkinson; I subscribe to that view and while I do not consider that those who are of another persuasion are false teachers I do think that the claim that the faithful church must recognise the anti-Christ before the rapture can take place is false, and heretical.

    May the Lord grant us all peace.

    In Christ,

    Philip L. Powell.

  36. philipcwm says:

    Thanks “MIDRASHCREED” whoever you are. I take your point and will do my best to humbly comply. I do believe that TRUTH matters. I agree that there is room for disagreement on the Rapture and its timing. The Bible is not clear. My concern was at the dogmatic claim that Christ “cannot” (will not) return until the faithful church identifies the antiChrist. I think that is a false claim.

    Grace and Peace in Jesus,

    Philip L. Powell

    • midrashcreed says:

      Gratefully acknowledged. As for whether the Church will recognize the anti-Christ before the rapture I think the best policy is to keep an open mind. Let’s wait and see on that one. When your having to a heartbroken married mother whose husband is wanting a sex change the whole thing seems absurdly trivial. That’s the sort of thing I’m having to deal with now.

      Sadly, I don’t think h you can reason with Jacob Prasch. Nearly 15 years ago he hurled repeated accusations of Plagiarism in my direction which in my profession is the equivalent of accusing a surgeon of leaving a scalpel in a patient.I could have sued but didn’t for biblical reasons. He also could have landed me in a lot of hot water on another even more serious matter. By the end of 2001 I came to conclude that the man had an accusing spirit which is a pity because during the mid-1990s he really got me into Midrash. I’m now putting to good use all that he taught me in another sector. If he knew how I was putting it to use, he’d be fuming. I respect Jacob as a very gifted bible teacher, but I do no respect him as a man. That sums up my position. You’re by no means the only one who’s been burnt by him. His handling of human relationships has been consistently crass.

  37. msindisi says:

    Dear Philip,

    Please excuse my claim that you did not believe that any signs need precede the rapture. It was a mistake that I made due to the nature of pretribulational teaching concerning imminency. According to many pretribulational teachers there are no signs concerning the rapture and therefore no sign concerning the rapture precedes. If the rapture is imminent then there is no need for any intervening event. For if there was then the rapture would not be imminent, it could only come after certain signs had been fulfilled. I would not label John Walvoord a heretic for holding to this definition of imminence nor Arnold Fruchtenbaum even though he goes as far to say that the rapture will come some time before “the tribulation” (he means Daniel’s seventieth week).

    That is my point, it wasn’t to argue whether you believed that signs precede the rapture or not.

    So let me rephrase the statement. Whatever your understanding of imminency, and for that matter whatever anyone else understands of imminency (that the whole end times events concerning Christ’s return which incorporate the rapture, or that the resurrection and rapture are imminent with no signs preceding or with signs preceding, whatever the case may be) I will not accuse you or Jacob or anyone else of teaching heresy for these things do not undermine Cardinal doctrine. We are all pre-millennial, we all believe in the rapture, we all believe that we may see intense persecution in our lifetime coming to the west, we all believe in the purposes of God for Israel as a nation and we all compel our listeners to live a life we the understanding that we can go to be with the Lord at any time, and I am presuming that you would teach that in the context of the rapture. We also are all looking forward to the blessed hope and I can safely say that that is something I ling for and hope for more than I did 10 years ago because the more I see happening in this evil world the more I desire and long for my Messiah’s return. Maranatha.

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