The Last Days Body of Messiah (Part 2)

The Last Days Body of Messiah   (Part 2)

(Acts 2:42-47) (Acts 4:29-35)

The Lord Jesus had returned to heaven and the 120 in the upper room were waiting upon the Lord Jesus to clothe them with His power from on high with the Holy Spirit which the Lord Jesus had promised them that they would need to become His witnesses to the whole world (Luke 24:49) (Acts 1:4-8). The eleven apostles and the other believers including the women and Mary Jesus’ mother and his brothers all joined together constantly in prayer as they waited upon God. During this time they chose the twelfth apostle to replace Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:12-26).

On the Day of Pentecost the 120 in the upper room were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages given to them by the Holy Spirit which their hearers understood, even though not all of the 120 understood the languages they were speaking (Acts 2:4-11). After this happened, Peter rose up and preached the gospel to the crowd gathered who had been drawn to the power they had witnessed when what looked like tongues of fire had rested upon the 120 who were boldly declaring the wonders of God (Acts 2:11).

Now some of the crowd were confused and others laughed thinking that these men and women were drunk. Straight away Peter jumped up spontaneously and preached to them the Word of God under the anointing of the Holy Spirit which, was scripture from start to finish, and Peter used the scriptures to explain all about the Lord Jesus (Acts 2:14-36). After he had finished his hearers were convicted of their sin of unbelief in the Lord Jesus as Saviour, Lord and Messiah. They were cut to the heart, stuck with deep conviction and their conscience inundated with the truth about the Messiah and their need to get right with God and they cried out “what must we do?” Peter did not mince his words or use some ‘soft’ ‘seeker friendly’ approach trying not to offend them.

He told them in no uncertain terms what they needed to do if they wanted to be saved. He told them to repent of their unbelief in the Messiah our Lord Jesus, to be baptised on confession of their faith in Him to save them, and to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37-39). Added to this, Peter using many other words challenged them to save themselves from the spiritually corrupt generation which was evident in Jerusalem at this time.  As a result 3,000 were added to the believing community at Jerusalem (Acts 2: 40-41). Now we need to see what happened after the believing community had been filled with the Spirit for the first time, as a second filling with the Holy Spirit was to come as we will see in this study. Now let’s look at the next two passages in Acts (Acts 2:42-47) (Acts 4:29-35).

(Acts 2:42-47)

(Vs.42) “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. “

Notice that “they devoted themselves” or “continued steadfastly.” The word means “to adhere to one, to be his adherent, to be devoted or constant to one, to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing, to continue all the time in a certain place, to persevere and not to faint, to show one’s self courageous for something and to be in constant readiness for one and to wait on constantly.” First and foremost they gave themselves continuously to the apostle’s teaching or doctrine which the apostles established from the Old Testament scriptures which was the Bible of the first century Body of Messiah.

By the revelation of the Holy Spirit the spiritual truth we have in the New Testament was hidden in the Old Testament, however, through the Holy Spirit that truth hidden in the Old Testament was revealed in the New Testament for our instruction in spiritual matters as New Covenant believers. As Rabbi the apostle Paul wrote; “For everything that was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Of course at that time the New Testament was still being written.

Firstly then they had a hunger for the Spirit-breathed Word of God because they knew that this would protect them from doctrinal error by false prophets and teachers, and prove to be the spiritual compass that would steer them through the tumultuous storms that lay ahead for the assembly, and the instruction manual for their everyday life as the corporate Body of Messiah (Matthew 4:4). Doctrine is important because we will live out in our lives what we believe in our hearts, “for out of the heart flow the issues of life” and “as a man thinks in his heart so is he” in his outwards words and actions (Proverbs 4:23; 23:7) What is in a person’s heart in abundance will come out in their speech (Luke 6:45). Do we have a hunger for the Word of God? When Rabbi the apostle Paul writing to His protégé Timothy said in his first letter to him; “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).

He also wrote in his second letter to Timothy; “I charge you in the presence of God and of Messiah Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:1-4). If ever we live in a time, when, by and large, the ministers and pastors and leaders in mainstream denominationalism and within Charismatic circles need to hear and obey what Paul wrote to Timothy, it is today! Multitudes of ‘churches’ today have congregations with itching ears to hear what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear! Spurgeon said something like this; “The time will come when you will no longer have shepherds in the pulpits feeding the sheep, but clowns in the pulpits entertaining the goats!” Much more could be said on this matter!

Today many of the young ‘gurus’ in skinny Jeans and tee shirts standing behind the lectern on the stage are ‘pumping up’ their congregations with stories, jokes and giving out a string of personal prophecies one after the other, while also emphasising healing manifestations and miracles of one sort or another, but neglecting to preach the whole Word of God. In fact many do not even know how to rightly divide the Word of God! When they are ‘centre stage’ they use the Bible as a prop and often will quote verses of scripture out of context to bolster their own ‘doctrines tickling the itching ears’ of their congregations! There is no preaching about repentance, sin, holy living, Hell, the judgement to come, or the subject of Bible Prophecy and the end times. As for teaching about Israel and God’s end-time purposes for His people you have replacement theology growing in leaps and bounds and even anti-Semitism spreading through wider Christendom. So the community of believers at Jerusalem, after being filled with the Spirit, they devoted themselves to, or continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine. Do we have a hunger like that for the hearing of the Word of God?

Secondly; they devoted themselves continuously to three other things, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer, and these three are linked together. They fellowshipped around the Lord’s Table, which included a meal together and during the meal  the cup of wine and the bread were taken in remembrance of the Messiah our Lord Jesus. While they were together they enjoyed worship and sharing with each other in the Holy Spirit and in corporate prayer and the gifts of the Spirit were at work in their assembly. This they did as often as they met together. It was no Sunday religious ceremony once a month! (1 Corinthians 11:26). Do we meet together regularly with other brothers and sisters for fellowship around the Lord’s Table and for corporate prayer? And then we read what else they were doing…

(Vs.43) “Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.”

In the first century Body of Messiah there was an abundance of genuine Holy Spirit inspired spiritual gifts operating and God could do these supernatural works among them because they had a reverence for Him and worship was no light and frivolous matter to them. In the last century Body of Messiah there will also be an abundance of genuine Holy Spirit inspired spiritual gifts. As for the gifts of the Holy Spirit they never ceased to operate in the Body of Messiah, and even though we have the completed canon of scripture, does not nullify or replace the gifts of the Spirit which are part and parcel of God’s spiritual armour and weapons (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). The apostles were unique as they had seen the Lord Jesus and been with Him from the beginning of His public ministry and some of them wrote the New Testament (Acts 1:20-26).

Today those with an apostolic calling and gifting upon their life will also see genuine Holy Spirit miracles, signs and wonders following the preaching of the Word of God (2 Corinthians 12:12). Real men with an apostolic calling and gifting on their life will be God’s ‘storm troopers’ dropped behind enemy lines to establish a base of operations for when the main forces ‘hit the beach’ with follow up for the new assemblies established by those Church planters. These supernatural signs follow after the Word of God and are not a substitute for the Word of God (Mark 16:15-20). One with an apostolic calling and gifting today will often find themselves in situations where the gospel has never been preached. Satan will target these men. In a time of war the snipers go for the officers and if they take them out the line of command is fractured. One who has an apostolic call and gifting upon his life will be targeted and designated by Satan as a prime target.

As for miracles signs and wonders they have their place; however they are no substitutes for the preaching of God’s Word. For example; what is the good of someone being physically healed if they are still going to hell? Today there is an infestation within the wider Body of Messiah of those claiming to be apostles and claiming that the ‘manifestations’ of all sorts at their meetings are the work of the Holy Spirit, but those involved with these ‘manifestations’ of one sort or another, cannot themselves rightly divide the Word of Truth! These men are not persecuted, they live in luxury, own big houses, prophesy in assemblies and take exorbitant offerings. Some even fly jets and stay in five star hotels and were expensive jewellery and clothing. Peter and Jude say of them; “they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!” and “greedy shepherds who feed only themselves.” (2 Peter 2:14) (Jude 1:12). Now the gifts of the Spirit are operating today and will be in abundance in the Body of Messiah just before He comes back. In those countries where the Body of Messiah is being persecuted the genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit are already at work. In these last days they are desperately needed! Are we open to the gifts of the Spirit practiced Biblically? And then we read…

(44-45) “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.”

The assembly at Jerusalem knew the end would come and so they pooled their resources and shared everything they had. They did not have their hope fixed in this world or focused on the things of this world. No one was in need in the assembly at Jerusalem as they worked at looking out for each other’s welfare. They knew that the future of Jerusalem and the temple was a dark and dire one, and that every level of society in the city and in the outer towns and villages would be shaken by what was coming including the economic crash. It was a very serious thing to God that his Son had been rejected by His own Jewish brethren and that as a result God’s vineyard would be stripped bare (Matthew 21:33-45).  Many in the assembly sold their property and possessions and gave to their fellow believers in need because they knew that the economy of Jerusalem was going to collapse big time when the city fell to the Romans and the temple in which the Jewish people trusted was levelled.

While we have possessions and God does bless His people in temporal matters, we should hold on to them lightly and loosely because the days are coming when the very things we possess may well be taken from us because of our faith in the Messiah our Lord Jesus. This was the experience of the first century Body of Messiah, and when they lost everything because of persecution they still had the joy of the Lord Jesus in their hearts (Hebrews 10:32-39). Are we willing to share what we have with our brothers and sisters who do not have the resources we have? This will be a common practice in the days to come when the true and faithful Body of Messiah is forced underground in the western democracies.

We need to be working in and for the kingdom of God while we have the light to work because when ‘the night’ comes no one will be able to work! As the Lord Jesus said; “While it is daytime, we must do the works of Him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4). In its context He was talking about His crucifixion when for three days and nights His disciples would not be able to do His work because of the darkness of that time of tribulation spanning three days and nights. Prophetically, He was foreseeing a time at the end of the age when during the ‘night’ time of Great Tribulation lasting for three and a half years it would be very difficult to preach the gospel of the kingdom, a difficulty in every nation of the world during this time. And then we read…

(Vs.46-47) “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and singleness of heart, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

Before they were kicked out of the Temple they met every day in the temple and in their homes for fellowship and shared their meals together, and ate their meals with a single minded attitude of faith, with joy at God’s provision. They also continued to praise Him for their daily needs, and because they has genuine love for each other as they were being constantly filled with the Spirit, even the unsaved were attracted to their assembly. It was little wonder that souls were saved and added to the assembly daily by the LORD. This is God’s strategy for every assembly in every age, especially as we see the moral and spiritual landslide in the world and the end-time apostasy spreading like gangrene through wider Christendom today! Are people being saved every day in our assembly? Do we see this happening in churches in the western democracies today?

In some of these rather ‘crazy’ churches where extremes are common place we need to ask “What are people being saved into? a Lunatic Asylum or a zoo?” Getting saved is one thing and God operates sovereignly in this matter, but it is important what they are moulded into. Many mega churches these days are seeing their congregations swell with ‘converts’, but when you look at the watered down seeker friendly, seeker sensitive gospel these churches are preaching they are messages that minimise and in many cases simply ignore repentance, eschatology, hell, the need for living lives separated to God that are separated from the world, and lack deep conviction and repentance of sin and living lives that please the Lord Jesus. Many of these mega churches are into money and wealth and teach that this is a mark of God’s favour and blessing but it is spiritual deception designed by Satan to entice many undiscerning believers to end up making shipwreck of their faith because they stopped fighting the good fight of faith and rejected holding onto that faith and a good conscience (1 Timothy 1:18b-19).

God’s strategy is to see souls saved on a daily basis and given proper Biblical discipleship. When the Holy Spirit is really in charge and in control this will automatically happen even when persecution is rampant! Real joy of the Holy Spirit is infectious and the joy of the LORD is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Joyless believers are not attractive. However we must also allow for seasons of darkness, doubt, depression, anxiety, and turmoil when natural joy is impossible, even to those who are spiritually mature in their walk with God. After all in this world we have a spiritual wrestling match going on in the inside of us with our fallen fleshly nature and with rulers, principalities, and spirits of wickedness in the unseen spiritual realm (Galatians 5:16-18) (Ephesians 6:10-12). Supernatural joy which is one of the fruits of the Spirit is attractive to the unsaved when the Holy Spirit is at work. It is not a joy based on euphoric spiritual experiences or comfortable circumstances, but a joy that is seen by the unsaved when things are at their worst for the saved New Covenant believer.

During some of the worst plagues in history it was saved believers who worked among the sick and the dying and in many cases died themselves while seeking to save others. During more recent times it was the men and women of the Salvation Army that worked tirelessly in times when there were infectious diseases and many died as well in those situations. Like the martyrs of old they were not necessarily happy to die but they died happy! When the Holy Spirit is really at work in the local assembly the LORD will add souls to the fellowship every day. Let’s continue as we now look at our next text…

(Acts 4:29-35)

(Vs.29-31) “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus. After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”

Whenever the Holy Spirit is really at work Satan has a knee jerk reaction! It wasn’t very long after the day of Pentecost when opposition arose against the Jerusalem Assembly. The Lord Jesus had healed a man crippled from birth when the apostles Peter and John prayed for his healing. Peter did not direct this man to see a priest or a religious leader for counselling, or direct him to start seeking to become more religious, but pointed him to the Lord Jesus who was the only one who could save his soul from hell and heal his body. The crippled man was well known to those who attended the temple as well as the religious leaders. When they saw the joy and the healing of the saved man leaping and jumping around them and praising God they became very jealous because the power of God rested upon the apostles. More than likely the religious leaders in their embarrassment would have loved to show him and the two apostles the back door of the temple!

The crowds gathered and Peter took the opportunity to preach the gospel to them. He castigated them in love for their lost souls because they had crucified the Lord Jesus and this healed man was a testimony to the power of the Resurrected Lord Jesus at work by His Spirit in the apostles, and in the lives of the assembly at Jerusalem. Peter told the large crowd, including the religious leaders attending, that they needed to repent and turn back to God for their sins to be forgiven if they would experience the seasons of spiritual refreshing from the Lord’s presence (Acts 4:19). Peter also used the Word of God and like his first sermon on the Day of Pentecost it was scripture from beginning to end, something sadly lacking in many sermons in church these days. The converts went from 3,000 to 5,000.

C.H. Spurgeon said; “The Word of God is the iron anvil upon which the hammers of the opinions of men are smashed!” God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah; “Let the prophet who has a dream retell it, but let him who has My word speak it truthfully. For what is straw compared to grain?” declares the LORD. “Is not My word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that smashes a rock?” (Jeremiah 23:28-29). Dreams and visions have their place, but when compared to the Word of God that is like a fire burning up the impurities of the human heart, and like a hammer that breaks up the hard rock like hearts of those who need to be saved, dreams and visions are compared to straw. Straw has no nutritional value but wheat on the other hand does have nutritious value. Dreams and visions over time tend to fade, but the Word of our Triune God lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:24-25) (Psalm 119:89) (Isaiah 40:8). It is perfectly consistent in what it says and it will say the same thing tomorrow as it does today despite how we might be feeling and can be counted upon to produce the kind of spiritual fruitfulness for God that He desires. As Rabbi the apostle Paul writes; “All Scripture is Spirit-breathed by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

After the man had been healed and Peter had preached a powerful message by the Holy Spirit with great results the very next day the religious leaders brought Peter and John before them. They wanted to know by what power Peter and John achieved this supernatural healing. Well Peter once again filled with the Holy Spirit preached the Word of God from beginning to end and focused on the resurrected Messiah our Lord Jesus. The religious leaders were astounded because these men were speaking and acting just like the Lord Jesus did when He walked among them (Acts 4:8-13). After listening to Peter’s Spirit filled sermon they censured them not to speak or to teach in the name of Jesus. This did not deter the apostles but emboldened them to keep testifying to the Lord Jesus and to His power to save the soul and to reconcile men and women to God! After further threats they let them go because all of the people were praising God for what had happened because the man crippled from birth who had been healed was 40 years old!

When Peter and John returned to the assembly they reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. As a result all of them together in complete unity and with one mind and heart lifted up their voices loudly to God and reflected back to Him what He had said in his Word. They were using the Word of God as the basis of their prayers because they knew that God kept His Word. They did not pray for protection, even though they felt they might need it, but prayed that they might boldly speak the Word of God, and that the LORD would work miracles signs and wonders in the name of the Lord Jesus following the preaching of the Word of God. After they prayed Pentecost was repeated, they were all refilled with the Holy Spirit and Peter himself for the third time, and while there were no tongues of fire resting upon them, and there was no speaking in other dialects, the whole place shook with the power of God as they spoke the Word of God boldly. In the Bible you always see in evangelism the Word of God preached and endorsed by supernatural miracles, signs and wonders. This was common place in the early Body of Messiah. Let’s continue…

(Vs.32) “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.”

Unity is something that only the Holy Spirit can produce. True Biblical Unity of the Spirit is based on truth because He is the Spirit of truth and it is the truth of God’s Word that He uses to bring about unity and the one who leads us into all truth concerning the things of God (John 15:26; 16:12-16). Now today we have Ecumenical Unity being touted within wider Christendom and even some now entertaining interfaith associations. All of the religions including the Roman Catholic Church teach a different way of salvation. This is a big subject in itself but not the purpose of this article.  In his second epistle the apostle John writes that we should not have in our pulpits or even associate with those who do not hold to apostolic teaching that he and the other apostles had received from the Holy Spirit (2 John 1: 7-12) (1 John 2:18-23).

True unity on the Holy Spirit will produce the fruit of the Spirit in the lives of the local Body of Messiah. The believers we are told were of one heart and mind and there was no disagreements among them but all knew intuitively what the Holy Spirit desired of them corporately as a fellowship. Once again they were willing to share their physical resources with those who did not have much by way of material comforts. They shared everything they had. In the last days when the Body of Messiah goes into the time of Great Tribulation and goes underground in every nation sharing what we have with each other will be a conspicuous mark of the faithful remnant of New Covenant believers. When such liberty in the Holy Spirit is present God’s power will be released especially when the opposition to the gospel of the kingdom is predominant! When Satan turns up the heat so does God and there are no guesses as to who loses out big time! And then we read…

(Vs.33-35) “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.”

When the local Body of Messiah has true unity in the Spirit and in the truth and are engaged in sharing their resources with their fellow believers the power of God will be present and recognised by all in that assembly. The apostles at the meetings were testifying very powerfully to the resurrection of Messiah and this was a major mark of apostolic preaching and testimony. In fact Satan hates the preaching about the resurrection of Messiah. He gets very upset with those who do. People will have a human Jesus who was somewhat of a moral reformer, or a benevolent Jesus who was just a kind and gentle man or a rather indulgent father figure and one who dispensed spiritual insight, or one who was a great teacher. Some will even preach a Jesus who does not command men to repent but just to believe, and others say He was even a prophet, while others will say He was a great example to humanity, and some even say He was a deluded madman, and Satan is okay with all of this.

However, to say the Messiah our Lord Jesus died physically to atone for the sins of the whole world, and who defeated Satan and his hordes from Hades at the cross, and as one who was raised physically to life again from death and the one who is returning to judge the nations means that Satan and mankind have to deal with the Lord Jesus and are accountable to Him. This was the main thrust of apostolic preaching by the apostles of the Messiah our Lord Jesus. When you look at the ministry of the prophets, the Lord Jesus and the apostles they all preached repentance accompanied by salvation. Their messages were not ’seeker sensitive’ or ‘seeker friendly’ but aimed at the conscience of men. Conviction of sin is never produced by dispensing ‘guilt trips’ on people of course, but solely by the blessed Holy Spirit’s convicting and converting work! Man may be the instrument through which the Holy Spirit works, but the man himself has no innate spiritual power of himself to produce any spiritual work for the LORD. Unless the Holy Spirit does His divine supernatural work in the inner soul and spirit of a man he will never be saved! (1 Corinthians 2:11-16).

Testifying to the resurrection of Messiah with great power from God caused Him to pour our His lavish, unmerited, unearned favour upon His children gathered there at Jerusalem who had been redeemed by the blood of His Son the Messiah, bringing about a willingness to share everything they had just as had happened after Pentecost. No one missed out in the Jerusalem assembly on this occasion when they were all re-filled for the second time with the Holy Spirit as a corporate assembly of New Covenant believers. Persecution would not stop them testifying to what God had done for them and for the whole world through His Eternal Son in bringing salvation to all who would receive it, both for the Jews and for the Gentiles. As Rabbi the apostle Paul writes; “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then to the Greek. For the gospel reveals the righteousness of God that comes by faith from start to finish, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17).

The Book of Acts is God’s blueprint and pattern for the Body of Messiah and His Word and His purposes for the Body of Messiah have not changed.  There was a structured religious system in place at Jerusalem which was a valid Biblical system, being Mosaic Judaism with its temple and sacrificial system and with its High Priest. The people in Jerusalem, especially the religious leaders some of whom had participated in the trial of Jesus calling for his crucifixion and who were present at His crucifixion, were still presiding and attending the temple worship regularly. Like the people in the time of Jeremiah who could not imagine the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians, the Jews at Jerusalem could not imagine the temple being destroyed by the Romans. They trusted in a religious system that was a valid one scripturally speaking, but also a spiritually bankrupt system.

Many man-made rules and regulations and traditions had been added to the Word of God which the Lord Jesus Himself spoke about when He said, “These people honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; they teach as doctrine the precepts of men’” (Matthew 15:8-9). This structured religious system still valid scripturally, did not save the Jewish people in the end from the Romans. It is interesting to note that in 70AD during a lull in the siege of Jerusalem Simeon the Bishop of Jerusalem, who had replaced James as the head Bishop because James had been killed by the sword at the command of Herod, led those who had believed what the Lord Jesus had said about the destruction of Jerusalem forty years before, to be supernaturally led by the Spirit through the enemy lines to safety at a place called Pella. Soon after their miraculous escape the city of Jerusalem fell to the Romans and the temple destroyed. This occurrence can teach us about the faithful Body of Messiah that goes into the time of great tribulation but is saved out of it before the wrath of God is poured out (Revelation 7:14).

The day is coming when the faithful Body of Messiah will be rejected by wider Christendom with its denominational structures. Many Charismatic churches will also participate in this rejection of the faithful remnant because they are into all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders that are replacing the plain teaching of God’s Word, and the people are not being warned and prepared for the coming persecution in the west. Ecumenism and interfaith and all sorts of so called ‘spiritual manifestations’ are on the rapid rise within wider Christendom, especially in the affluent western democracies that have had a Judeo-Christian heritage at one time, but are now neo-pagan. Before the Lord Jesus comes back western Christendom by and large will compromise with the secular government in order to keep their churches open.

Already we see official Churches in North Korea, China, and in Russia that are state sanctioned churches on display for western tourists, but in reality are spiritually bankrupt. Today in Islamic and Communist countries the faithful Body of Messiah is worshipping underground and suffering terrible persecution just like they did in the early centuries of the Church.  In light of the ‘night’ of great tribulation that is to come before the Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus as the Body of Messiah we need to be following the pattern of those we read about in the Book of Acts and get back to the basics of the faith once delivered to the saints (Ephesians 4:4). The rescue of the Body of Messiah is coming when we will be gathered to meet Him in the air at His Second Coming, but not before the apostasy, the revealing of the man of sin and the flood of satanic counterfeit miracles signs and wonders are revealed to the faithful Body of Messiah still living on earth. Paul clearly states these facts (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). Now is the time for the wider Body of Messiah for the most part in the western democracies to rediscover and implement into their assemblies God’s Biblical pattern for worship, service, for ministry, for evangelism and discipleship as revealed in the Book of Acts in the Spirit-breathed Word of God.


Those within the Body of Messiah who have a basic understanding of Bible prophecy know this world is doomed and that the time is coming when everything that God has not established will be shaken and dismantled in wholesale lots! To this the prophets and the apostles and the Lord Jesus testify in the Bible. God’s pattern for the Body of Messiah has not changed. Before the Lord Jesus comes back He will have a body of a faithful believing remnant that will be continuously being filled with the Spirit, devoting themselves to the Apostolic doctrine taught in the Word of God, devoted to fellowship, to the partaking of the Lord’s Table, and to prayer. The assembly members will be awed at the genuine supernatural power of the Holy Spirit working among them. They will be holding all things in common as they share their resources with one another.

They will be meeting together every day when and where they can, whether in factories, in office buildings, in caves, in private homes and even in the forests if necessary. In their homes they will be eating together with their fellow believers with gladness, thankfulness and with singleness of mind and heart, focused on spiritual matters, praising God in their homes and in places where they work if it is possible in the environment. They will also be enjoying the favour of the unsaved that are drawn to their fellowship, that see the joy of the LORD they are experiencing despite their difficulties trials and tests, and want to experience this for themselves. When possible the faithful Body of Messiah will still be seeking opportunities to witness to the unsaved as they did in the Book of Acts. When persecution arose against the Jerusalem assembly after the death of Stephen the believers who were scattered by the relentless persecution preached the Word of God wherever they went! (Acts 8:1-8).

Those assemblies that are open to the Holy Spirit and witnessing and working by His power they will be seeing the unsaved get saved every day and added to the fellowships. This will be the pattern of the last days Body of Messiah. As for the denominational structures they will be for the most part spiritually bankrupt and subject to government control. In the assemblies of the Body of Messiah their testimony to the work of the cross and to the resurrection of the Messiah will be very powerful accompanied by genuine miracles signs and wonders wrought by the Holy Spirit working through the individual believers within those local assemblies. This will be in the midst of persecution, marginalization from society in general, loss of employment, loss of possessions, betrayal by false brethren and family members, trials before magistrates, imprisonment and government sanctioned regulations that go against the Word of God.

In all of these matters when things get darker by the hour, the light and glory of God resonating from the Body of Messiah will arise and get brighter and brighter for all to see, both the principalities, the powers and spirits of wickedness in the unseen spiritual realm, and by the unsaved in the world living on earth. In these last of the last days, the same radiance and glory of God that rested upon the Lord Jesus when He witnessed and worked among us, and in turn rested upon the first century Body of Messiah, will also rest upon His Body the faithful remnant for all to see at the end of this present age which is fast approaching!

As Isaiah the prophet declares…

“Arise; shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your dawn rising like the sun” (Isaiah 60:1-3).

In that day, when the gospel of the kingdom has been preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, the end will come! (Matthew 24:14). This will be the last great sign that will usher in the close of this present age, and the Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus who rescues us from the coming wrath! (1 Thessalonians 1:10).