Guide The Glorious Church (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee Book 34)

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We do not resist. But does every Christian keep the word of His patience in this manner? If so, the whole church would indeed be raptured. If this verse can be used indiscriminately to prove the rapture of the whole church before the Great Tribulation, then people can with equal justification forget the condition "whosoever believeth on him" and erroneously claim that all men are saved. Furthermore, the promise of the Lord here is addressed to the church in Philadelphia, not to the whole church. If the church in Philadelphia can represent the whole church, then we may surmise that the entire church will be raptured before the Great Tribulation.

Yet at that time there were actually these seven churches in Asia Minor, and the promise of the Lord was given to but one of these seven. Accordingly, the church in Philadelphia cannot represent the complete church; or else the over-comers in the other six churches mentioned will not be raptured. This first school has not only no scriptural evidence but bases too much of its arguments merely on assumptions.

For such a weighty problem like rapture, it should certainly not be decided on mere assumptions. Its assumptions are as follows. Revelation 1—3 speaks of the church. After chapter 3 the church is no longer mentioned, so that she must have already been raptured by the time of chapter 4ff. If chapters 1—3 refer to this age, chapters 4—19 will be the time of the Great Tribulation, in which the church has no part. This kind of argument is called the argument from silence.

However, we cannot say that from chapters 4 through 19 the church is never touched upon. Even though the word "church" is not used, many other descriptions employed do indeed fit the church, such as "didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation" 5. Unquestionably the word "church" is not used, but who can say that those in view in the above examples do not belong to the church?

Furthermore, "the things which must shortly come to pass" including the Great Tribulation are shown to "his servants" These things will not be written if they are not relevant to the church and to the believers. After the church is raptured, there will still be very many on earth who shall be saved. These are the saints who come out of the Great Tribulation see Rev. They are saved during the Great Tribulation.

There is a weakness in such assumptions by this first school which it must recognize; otherwise its adherents will be unable to round out their theory. Let us understand, however, that the "great multitude, which no man could number" 7. Taking today's population at about 2 billions [That is, in the early 's; but the world population for was estimated at about 4.

Such a numberless multitude who "come out of the great tribulation" mentioned in the Revelation 7 passage must therefore have reference to those overcoming saints who come out of the great tribulation experienced by all believers throughout the twenty centuries of church history. Before the Great Tribulation, the Holy Spirit returns to heaven. Since the church is with the Holy Spirit, it may be assumed that the whole church is raptured before the Great Tribulation.

The basis for this assumption is 2 Thessalonians 2. Yet "one that restraineth" cannot be the Holy Spirit, for the subsequent clause—"until he be taken out of the way"—is not the proper terminology to be used in speaking about the Holy Spirit. The Third Person of the Trinity has many different names, such as the Spirit, the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of revelation, etc; and the word "Spirit" is usually present—and even though in one instance the word "Comforter" is used alone, yet from the next clause which follows "even the Spirit of truth" it is evident that this has clear reference to the Holy Spirit John Never do the Scriptures say the Holy Spirit is "he that restrains"; moreover, how can the Holy Spirit be said to "be taken out of the way"?

Furthermore, where does the Bible announce that the Holy Spirit is absent during the Great Tribulation? And how can there be the so-called believers of the Great Tribulation if the Holy Spirit is not present? For no one is saved without the Holy Spirit. He who is born of the Spirit is spirit. Moreover, this matter of the Holy Spirit's presence during the Great Tribulation is clearly shown in Revelation 5: "and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth" v.

The time of the Great Tribulation is the time of the latter rain see Acts 2. The prophecy of Joel was not completely fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. For on that day there were no "wonders in the heaven and in the earth: blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke"; nor was "the sun All of these five wonders will be fulfilled around and in the time of the Great Tribulation: blood first trumpet , fire first and second trumpets , smoke fifth trumpet , sun and moon sixth seal. Pentecost is only a miniature, a foretaste.

Peter does not say: "It is fulfilled"; he merely says that "this is that" Acts 2.

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As a matter of fact, the Holy Spirit is going to do greater work during the time of the Great Tribulation. If there will not be the Holy Spirit present, how can the saints ever endure during the Great Tribulation?

Reflections on the intersection of life and faith.

The disciples in the four Gospels are Jews. It is to them, that is to say, to the Jews, that the Lord exhorts to watch and pray. Since we Christians will be raptured anyway, there is no need for us to be exhorted to watch and pray. We go to the Epistles for our inspiration. However, the disciples are Christians, and they too are in the church. Are not the disciples called Christians Acts Adherents of this first school of interpretation do not regard much of the four Gospels and the Acts as written for Gentile believers. Scofield, for example, maintained that the so-called Sermon on the Mount is exclusively for the Jews.

They forget, though, the words in Matthew They base all their teachings on the words of the apostle Paul, whereas they should remember what Paul himself said in Colossians 3: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" v. They suggest that the gospel of the kingdom is different from the gospel of grace and that the gospel of the kingdom is only preached during the time when the Lord was on earth and immediately before the Great Tribulation.

Since we are saved by the gospel of grace, it is their contention that the gospel of grace need not be preached to the whole world before we are raptured. Thus, the gospel of the kingdom will only be preached again ten or twenty years before the Tribulation. Yet the gospel of the kingdom is the gospel of the kingdom of God, and the gospel of grace is the gospel of the grace of God.

According to Acts Also, please note from Acts 1 that the Lord after His resurrection spoke to the disciples "the things concerning the kingdom of God" v. They view the work of Christ on earth as fulfilling the ministry towards the circumcised, thus showing a definite Jewish background; and therefore whatever is commanded in the Gospels is not for us Christians but is for the Jews.

Let me say in response, however, that the dispensation of Grace also begins with Christ. Please read the following passages: 1 Matthew The Bible has sufficient evidence to prove that the church passes through the Great Tribulation. The following are some of the evidences. Please read this passage very carefully. Verse 1 gives the topic of this passage— namely, the coming of Christ and rapture. Since the rapture spoken of here is a being gathered in the air, there is already a hint as to its being after tribulation.

In verse 2, the word "spirit" signifies another spirit, not the Holy Spirit; the term "word" means rumor; "us" refers to Paul, Silvanus and Timothy; and "the day of the Lord" is the day of the coming of Christ and rapture. In those days there were people who deluded the Thessalonian believers by saying that the day of the Lord had already come and that they had been left behind.

Yet verse 3 shows that this day will not arrive until after the following two signs: 1 that before rapture, there will appear the man of sin, the son of perdition, who is the Antichrist; and 2 that there will first come the falling away, which is apostasy. When will the man of sin be revealed? It will naturally be at the Great Tribulation. So that rapture will be after this Tribulation. At least part of the church must go through the Great Tribulation. The first passage dwells on resurrection and change; the second deals with resurrection and rapture.

These two are parallel passages. All students of the Bible agree that the events in both passages happen at the same time. Is there any intimation as to the actual time for these events? Indeed, there is. The first school of interpretation insists that the blowing of the last trumpet occurs before the Tribulation, but its adherents have not a single Scripture verse to support their view. The last trumpet is sounded after the Tribulation; it is the last of the seven trumpets mentioned in the book of Revelation.

How absurd it would be if after the last trumpet had been sounded there would still remain seven more trumpets to be heard! It would be like having had the last son born, only to be followed by seven more sons. Someone contends that the "trump" here is the trump of the church, not that of the Tribulation.

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Where, then, is there recorded in the Scriptures anything said about the first trump of the church? Still others say that Paul merely borrows from the Roman military custom, that as soon as the last trumpet is blown the entire army marches away.

Yet the Scriptures have not adopted this Roman military practice. This "trump" is the trump ofGod, not of the church. Without a doubt it is the last of the seven trumpets cited in the book of Revelation. Furthermore, according to Revelation Other evidences are these: 1 Matthew Chronologically, the Great Tribulation falls in this age. If rapture is to occur before the Tribulation, there will be a gap of three years and a half. Acts 2. If He is to come to the air before the Tribulation, would there be any need for waiting, watching, and keeping?

Though there are evidences in the Bible on a post-tribulation rapture of believers, this still does not imply that the whole body of believers will be raptured after the Tribulation. And hence this second school of interpretation has its errors too. For the Bible clearly indicates to us that some believers are raptured before the Tribulation.


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Here are some of the reasons for this view. Were the entire body of believers to be raptured after the Tribulation, there would again be no need for us to watch and wait and be prepared. Knowing that the Lord would not come before the end of the three and a half years' period, we could live evilly up to three years five months and twenty-nine days.

Yet such a concept violates the very principle of the Scriptures. Were all of us believers to be raptured after the Great Tribulation, then our waiting would not be a waiting for Christ but for the Antichrist, since the latter must come first. The church would lose her hope— "Looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" Titus 2.

The second school of interpretation does not accept the idea of a secret rapture; yet its followers forget the word, "Behold, I come as a thief" Rev. A thief comes secretly, is never preceded by a band, and always steals the best. This second school views the twelve disciples as being purely Christians in direct contrast with the view of the first school which considers these twelve as being merely Jews. As a matter of fact, however, these twelve disciples are Christians as well as representatives of the Jewish remnant.

For example, in Matthew Martin Luther , for instance, was a monk who was influenced by the German Dominican mystical tradition of Eckhart and Tauler as well by the Dionysian-influenced Wesenmystik "essence mysticism" tradition.


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He also published the Theologia Germanica , which he claimed was the most important book after the Bible and Augustine for teaching him about God, Christ, and humanity. Meanwhile, his notion that we can begin to enjoy our eternal salvation through our earthly successes leads in later generations to "a mysticism of consolation".

But the Reformation brought about the Counter-Reformation and, with it, a new flowering of mystical literature, often grouped by nationality. No breath of suspicion arose against Molinos until , when the Jesuit preacher Paolo Segneri, attacked his views, though without mentioning his name, in his Concordia tra la fatica e la quiete nell' orazione.

The matter was referred to the Inquisition. A report got abroad that Molinos had been convicted of moral enormities, as well as of heretical doctrines; and it was seen that he was doomed. On September 3, he made public profession of his errors, and was sentenced to imprisonment for life. Contemporary Protestants saw in the fate of Molinos nothing more than a persecution by the Jesuits of a wise and enlightened man, who had dared to withstand the petty ceremonialism of the Italian piety of the day.

Molinos died in prison in or An example of "scientific reason lit up by mysticism in the Church of England" [34] is seen in the work of Sir Thomas Browne , a Norwich physician and scientist whose thought often meanders into mystical realms, as in his self-portrait, Religio Medici , and in the "mystical mathematics" of The Garden of Cyrus , whose full running title reads, Or, The Quincuncial Lozenge, or Network Plantations of the ancients, Naturally, Artificially, Mystically considered.

Browne's highly original and dense symbolism frequently involves scientific, medical, or optical imagery to illustrate a religious or spiritual truth, often to striking effect, notably in Religio Medici , but also in his posthumous advisory Christian Morals.

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Browne's latitudinarian Anglicanism, hermetic inclinations, and Montaigne -like self-analysis on the enigmas, idiosyncrasies, and devoutness of his own personality and soul, along with his observations upon the relationship between science and faith, are on display in Religio Medici. His spiritual testament and psychological self-portrait thematically structured upon the Christian virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity, also reveal him as "one of the immortal spirits waiting to introduce the reader to his own unique and intense experience of reality".

Arndt, whose book True Christianity was popular among Protestants, Catholics and Anglicans alike, combined influences from Bernard of Clairvaux, John Tauler and the Devotio moderna into a spirituality that focused its attention away from the theological squabbles of contemporary Lutheranism and onto the development of the new life in the heart and mind of the believer. Pietism as known through Spener's formation of it tended not just to reject the theological debates of the time, but to reject both intellectualism and organized religious practice in favor of a personalized, sentimentalized spirituality.

Eastern Christianity has especially preserved a mystical emphasis in its theology [41] and retains a tradition of mystical prayer dating back to Christianity's beginnings. The practice of Lectio Divina , a form of prayer that centers on scripture reading, was developed in its best-known form in the sixth century, through the work of Benedict of Nursia and Pope Gregory I , and described and promoted more widely in the 12th century by Guigo II.

The 9th century saw the development of mystical theology through the introduction of the works of sixth-century theologian Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite , such as On Mystical Theology. His discussion of the via negativa was especially influential. As part of the Protestant Reformation , theologians turned away from the traditions developed in the Middle Ages and returned to what they consider to be biblical and early Christian practices.

Accordingly, they were often skeptical of Catholic mystical practices, which seemed to them to downplay the role of grace in redemption and to support the idea that human works can play a role in salvation, and which also seemed to come from post-biblical sources and practices. Thus, Protestant theology developed a strong critical attitude, oftentimes even an animosity towards Christian mysticism.

Historically, Christian mysticism has taught that for Christians the major emphasis of mysticism concerns a spiritual transformation of the egoic self, the following of a path designed to produce more fully realized human persons, "created in the Image and Likeness of God" and as such, living in harmonious communion with God, the Church, the rest of the world, and all creation, including oneself. For Christians, this human potential is realized most perfectly in Jesus, precisely because he is both God and human, and is manifested in others through their association with him, whether conscious, as in the case of Christian mystics, or unconscious, with regard to spiritual persons who follow other traditions, such as Gandhi.

The Eastern Christian tradition speaks of this transformation in terms of theosis or divinization, perhaps best summed up by an ancient aphorism usually attributed to Athanasius of Alexandria : "God became human so that man might become god. Going back to Evagrius Ponticus , Christian mystics have been described as pursuing a threefold path of purification, illumination and unification, corresponding to body soma , soul psyche , and spirit pneuma.

In , the 8th Ecumenical Council reduced the image of the human to only body and soul but within mystics a model of three aspects continued. The three aspects later became purgative, illuminative, and unitive in the western churches and prayer of the lips, the mind, the heart in the eastern churches. The first, purification is where aspiring traditionally Christian mystics start. This aspect focuses on discipline, particularly in terms of the human body; thus, it emphasizes prayer at certain times, either alone or with others, and in certain postures, often standing or kneeling.

It also emphasizes the other disciplines of fasting and alms-giving, the latter including those activities called "the works of mercy," both spiritual and corporal, such as feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless. Purification, which grounds Christian spirituality in general, is primarily focused on efforts to, in the words of St. Paul , "put to death the deeds of the flesh by the Holy Spirit" Romans This is considered a result of the Spirit working in the person and is not a result of personal deeds.

Also in the words of St. Paul , " The "deeds of the flesh" here include not only external behavior, but also those habits, attitudes, compulsions, addictions, etc. Evelyn Underhill describes purification as an awareness of one's own imperfections and finiteness, followed by self-discipline and mortification. Because of this, in ancient Christian literature, prominent mystics are often called "spiritual athletes," an image which is also used several times in the New Testament to describe the Christian life. What is sought here is salvation in the original sense of the word, referring not only to one's eternal fate, but also to healing in all areas of life, including the restoration of spiritual, psychological, and physical health.

It remains a paradox of the mystics that the passivity at which they appear to aim is really a state of the most intense activity: more, that where it is wholly absent no great creative action can take place. In it, the superficial self compels itself to be still, in order that it may liberate another more deep-seated power which is, in the ecstasy of the contemplative genius, raised to the highest pitch of efficiency. The second phase, the path of illumination, has to do with the activity of the Holy Spirit enlightening the mind, giving insights into truths not only explicit in scripture and the rest of the Christian tradition, but also those implicit in nature, not in the scientific sense, but rather in terms of an illumination of the "depth" aspects of reality and natural happenings, such that the working of God is perceived in all that one experiences.

Underhill describes it as marked by a consciousness of a transcendent order and a vision of a new heaven and a new earth. The third phase, usually called infused or higher contemplation or Mystical Contemplative Prayer [48] in the Western tradition, refers to the experience of oneself as in some way united with God.

The experience of union varies, but it is first and foremost always associated with a reuniting with Divine love , the underlying theme being that God, the perfect goodness, [49] is known or experienced at least as much by the heart as by the intellect since, in the words 1 John "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.

Mystical Contemplative Prayer is the blessing for which the Christian mystic hopes. No human effort can produce it. This form of prayer has three characteristics. It can manifest itself in one of four degrees. The four degrees are the prayer of quiet, the prayer of union, ecstatic union, and transforming deifying union. Author and mystic Evelyn Underhill recognizes two additional phases to the mystical path. First comes the awakening, the stage in which one begins to have some consciousness of absolute or divine reality.

Purgation and illumination are followed by a fourth stage which Underhill, borrowing the language of St. John of the Cross , calls the dark night of the soul. This stage, experienced by the few, is one of final and complete purification and is marked by confusion, helplessness, stagnation of the will , and a sense of the withdrawal of God's presence.

This dark night of the soul is not, in Underhill's conception, the Divine Darkness of the pseudo-Dionysius and German Christian mysticism. It is the period of final "unselfing" and the surrender to the hidden purposes of the divine will. Her fifth and final stage is union with the object of love, the one Reality, God. Here the self has been permanently established on a transcendental level and liberated for a new purpose. Within theistic mysticism two broad tendencies can be identified. One is a tendency to understand God by asserting what He is not and the other by asserting what He is.

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The former leads to what is called apophatic theology and the latter to cataphatic theology. Scholars such as Urban T. Save to Library. Create Alert. Share This Paper. Topics from this paper. Online and offline Love. Citations Publications citing this paper. Cavalini , Valder Steffen. A condition monitoring system for wind turbine generator temperature by applying multiple linear regression model Khaled Bubaker Abdusamad , David Wenzhong Gao , Eduard Muljadi.