What The Lord Said To Me Today

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How many times has God corrected you? How many times has your understanding of some scripture been changed by new light, shone by God, on a particular scripture? For me, it has happened quite a lot.

There is a feeling you get when reading the New Testament writings of Peter, Paul and John that they labored for the Lord, at least for quite a while, carrying with them the understanding that Jesus' return was very close. Acts 3:19-21 seems to imply that Peter thought, at that time, that the turning of the Jews to the Lord through repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ could trigger the soon return of Jesus. Paul also seemed to carry this belief: at least until he received new light from the Lord in the process of making his reply to the Thessalonians, which we know as the book of 2 Thessalonians.

This happened to me tonight. For some reason, until tonight, Acts 2:7 simply did not register with me. Now, I knew that Jesus and the twelve were from Galilee, but it certainly never registered with my brain before that the scripture records in that verse that all those 120 in the upper room, who were baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in other tongues, were Galileans. As the Lord revealed this to me, I recalled times when I have preached about this event and indeed, I preached a message that contained some error. Lord please forgive me! Praise be to God that He corrected me tonight.

Yesterday, I engaged in some spirited letter writing with an old friend who has gotten into a bad place in the Lord. The way I see it, the love that was within him has grown cold. He doesn't see it like that, but sees that he has separated himself from our church fellowship for justified reasons. This man has, for many years, been a watchman: a seer of signs.

I remember when I first met this man, he was clipping news articles and presenting them to a small home group that I was a member of. He would find biblical signs in the names of current political leaders. He would see signs in current events. Some of them were quite compelling. For example, there was the newspaper picture of Mikail Gorbachev, with a dove sitting on his head. That dove had simply decided to land there. Art really made a big deal out of that sign of the antichrist. Then, there was the initiation of peace in Israel in 1993 and 1994. The treaty signing table had a statue of Isis behind it, which has always been symbolized by SSS, or 666. And so, that peace process was marked with 666.

There have been hundreds of other compelling "signs" that we have seen in the last ten years. We have had the Chernobyl meltdown. That word, in Russian, means "wormwood". We've seen the Russian SS18 (6+6+6) missiles that have the name "Satan" in the Russian arsenal. We've had Saddam Hussein, whose name means "destroyer", which is also "Abadon" and "Apollyon". We've even seen Turkey construct 32 dams for the purpose of stopping up the Euphrates River.

I will confess right now that many times, in 1991, 1992 and 1993, I thought that the return of the Lord was going to happen within days or weeks. I was preaching the gospel three times a week to mostly lost people, out of doors and in the jails, and my preaching displayed that urgency, but I was wrong. I needed to be corrected. Those times of great concern and alert came and went, then new signs of the Lord's return emerged. We've had the seven year peace treaty, which concluded September 13, 1999. This apparently was a decoy seven year treaty. We've apparently even had a decoy antichrist: William J. Clinton, whose name computes to 666 when translated into Hebrew and Greek.

Now tonight, we've had the gracious concession speech of Albert Gore, Jr. He, with his name Gore, and all the signs and biblical implications that name evokes, will apparently exit the world center stage, at least for awhile. Much was made of his name and it's connection warfare and trouble.

During the process of receiving these mutiple corrections, I was confronted with one more. I initially held to the widely taught pre-trib rapture doctrine, but I read some scripture that I could not fit into that doctrine: Revelation 20:4-5. I then read Marvin Rosenthal's book- "The Pre Wrath Rapture of the Christian Church". While I didn't agree with everything that Marvin presented, there was enough evidence presented there that I once again, stood corrected.

I've often wondered, as I've gone through each of these corrections, just how much more error I'm carrying around in my bag of doctrine. I've studied myself approved. I've read the bible many, many times and I've studied lots of study helps and theological studies, but I still find, as I did tonight, that I've still got some error that the Lord needs to correct. This humbles me. It also causes me to listen carefully when people disagree with me: I might be the one who is wrong.

One thing I have learned in all of this correction is that the sign may scream of imminence and a soon return of Jesus, but that does not necessarily mean that He will return soon, as I reckon the meaning of soon. As I told my friend yesterday, for obvious reasons, the book "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Happen in 1988" won't preach anymore.

Correction! None of us likes to be wrong, but none of us can help but be wrong, for we are flawed creatures. Does not the scripture say that nothing good lives in me except for Christ in me. Nothing good comes out of me unless Christ has done it through me. Of that I am certain.

I have learned one thing. By being open and humble about my many errors and wrong understandings, God has lifted me up. I'm not making as many errors as I did ten years ago. Yes, I still make them, but there is improvement. I'm reminded now of the words to a song we sing: "Humble Thyself in the sight of the Lord; Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord; and He, will lift, you up, higher and higher, and He, will lift, you up.

My friend seems not so open to correction. I've never known him to change his mind even when confronted with evidence. He holds fast to his opinions. My own father was like that for many years: he was always right; he had to be right.

I'm reminded of something Bob Neumann said to me not too long ago: "the servant is called upon to die, and a dead man has no rights". If I am truly dying daily, I'll have no need to be right all the time, even when I'm dead wrong. We all err in so many ways. We make so many mistakes. We sin unwittingly so many times. We hurt others and we aren't even aware that we do it. Truly, men will always let you down. Jesus never will.

Lord Jesus, please help us all to walk in Love toward one another, humbly realizing our faults and our flaws and our propensity to err. And Lord, never stop correcting me please, never stop!

Stephen L. Bening
a servant and prophet of our Lord Jesus Christ

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