Occupying Till He Comes
Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry
Luke 19:12-14 He (Jesus) said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them,Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying,Ö We will not have this man to reign over us.
Jesus often spoke and taught in the form of parables. His stories were simple and easy to understand, and yet they were deeply penetrating and conveyed a plethora of insight into life in this present world.
The parable of the nobleman from Luke chapter 19 has many obvious parallels to the realities of Jesus Christís visitation to this world 2000 years ago. A nobleman was comparable to a prince, and therefore was an authority or ruler possessing great leadership and wisdom and was a leader of high Royal lineage. The Scriptures often highlight the fact that Jesus was a Prince. (Isaiah 9:6, Daniel 8:25, 9:25, Acts 3:15, 5:31)
Jesus was the Prince of Peace, and his appearance on the world stage, his resurrection and his ascension back into Heaven confirmed that Jesus was the Royal heir and rightful ruler of this world. Like the nobleman in the parable, Jesus has taken a far journey and left his servants in this world with certain tasks and duties and charged us with occupying his estate in his absence. The Lordís charges in summary form to his servants are, (preach, teach, pray, disciple, and to be a witness) and they must be held foremost in our minds while we labor for Christís kingdom in this alien world.
As anyone who has labored on behalf of Christ in this world can testify, this world is often not very Jesus-friendly. Jesus and the gospel are subjects that the world by its very nature recoils away from. In fact, this world is at enmity with Christ, as it is with his chosen nation of Israel, and as it is also with the true Church.
Christians historically have understood that their calling is to be in the world but not of the world. And more often than not, and especially so in those areas of the world where freedomís light is dim, when a Christian endeavors to strive to fulfill the Noblemanís charge to service, he will find obstacles and hardship. The reason for this sinister phenomenon is that the god of this world desires to keep men in blindness. Among the many methods he utilizes to enslave mankind is the strategy of harassing and persecuting the faithful servants of the true Prince, in order to cause them to lose faith, and to abandon their mission in this world.
The words, "come out from among them, and be ye separate" are words that have been nailed to the masthead of many churches as the absolute most important ideal that Christians should heed in these Last Days. I John 2:15-17 conveys words that exhorts the Christian as he strives to live in this present world to, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world, For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. And James 4:4 conveys probably the strongest wording of all along this line for he says very flatly and plainly, "know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is an enemy of God."
So for any Christian living in this present world system, always a world that is at total enmity with our Savior and Lord, and given over to serving the god of this world, it can be very trying and oftentimes disheartening. Sometimes it can seem as though there is no hope for the Christian as he or she strives to contend in this world, and at times it may seem that God is far away, and that our Godly purpose for being in this world is all but lost. But we must always remember that our precious and wonderful Lord has promised never to leave us nor ever to forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)
Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled
John 14:1Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
(the words of Jesus) Everyone that has ever lived in this world has experienced difficult times at one time or another during their lives. Sooner or later, everyone will endure an episode of trouble either through health problems, economic and financial worries, bereavement, anxiety about the future, injury, depression, conflict, loneliness, or a host of other things. No one is immune, (not even Christians) and even the most confident and optimistic of persons can be brought low in a heartbeat by an unsuspected twist of fate. But, did you know that Jesus prayed for you before you were ever born?
Starting in chapter fourteen of the gospel of John, the heart of Jesus begins to turn toward his impending leaving from this world, and thus he begins to speak tenderly with words of hope and exhortation to his followers. He concludes his dialogue covering chapters 14, 15, and 16 with a fervent prayer recorded in chapter 17 to his Father on our behalf. In verses 15 through 17 of this chapter Jesus prayed these words, ďI pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.Ē
Whereas Jesus had to leave this world and go back into Heaven, it was necessary for Christians (after being saved) to remain here on this earth to do the work of the Lord. We may not always realize it, but Christians and the Church are the vehicles through which much of the Lordís work is accomplished in this evil infested world. Without us here in this world working with great efficiency and wisdom, the Lordís harvest in this world would be dramatically inhibited.
It is a basic truth that once a person becomes spiritually born into the kingdom of God, he automatically becomes an alien in this world. This world no longer seems like home to the Christian, and given the fact that Jesus has promised to go and prepare a place for us where we will reside with him forever, it often seems logical that God should just remove us from this evil world. Yet two thousand years ago Jesus prayed to his Father not to remove us from the world, but prayed that the Father would empower us and provide us with sustenance while we labor on his behalf in the world. And the thing that sustains us and sanctifies us down here in this evil world is Godís Truth!
This world hates the truth of God, and it has already demonstrated (crucifixion) its hatred for the word of God. And lest we forget, the word or the truth of God was manifest in flesh as our Savior, Jesus Christ. (John 1:14)
As Christians we neednít marvel that the world would possess so belligerent an attitude toward us. Afterall, the world hated our master, and if it hated him, it will hate us.
John 15:17-20 These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I (Jesus) have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;
John 17:14-19 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
On the surface, it might seem like a bad break to have to remain for a time here in this fallen world, and to be physically separated from Jesus Christ, but in the overview of the providence of God, our mission in this world is a chance to invest in the joy of helping to make the Lordís harvest an all the more abundant one. This is the fruit of his love. Were it not for others who shared the good-seed of the Gospel to us at some point in our lives, then we would also remain in darkness, and alienated from the kingdom of Heaven.
Nevertheless, even though our Lord has left us to labor in this evil infested world, (for the benefit of all those who will believe in Him) he has promised to return for us, and to gather us unto himself, that where He is, there we may be also! Furthermore, the Lord has pledged that while we labor in his vineyard here on the earth, that He will send his Comforter to abide with us as we endeavor to sow the seed of the Lordís Gospel while here in the enemies territory. (John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;) This resident Comforter that resides within the soul of every believer also assists in teaching us all things, and inconjunction with its guidance, it fosters within us inner peace.
(John 14:26-27 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.)So, today, even as I am able to witness the storm clouds of Armageddon gathering on the worldís horizon, revealing evidence of the impending Time of Jacobís Trouble, I feel no fear in my heart, and I am unafraid. I have residing deep within my soul the calm and blessed assurance that the Comforter is with me, and that Jesus is soon coming back for me, just as he said that he would. This is the residing ďblessed hopeĒ (Titus 2:13) that should reside in all believers, and especially those of us who labor and live in the Last Days era. The Lord has also conveyed to us that even as he tarries in Heaven, with great patience for the fruit of the harvest, that He will see to it that no temptation shall overtake us that cannot be countered by his Spirit that is living within us. Christians can do all things, and we can even endure all things, through the power of Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Persecution & Troubles: A Christians Badge of Honor Many Christians have had to suffer because they steadfastly adhered to serving the Lord with devotion and without deviation. The early Church suffered greatly at the hands of the Jewish High Priest and the Sadducees because they refused to stop speaking in the name of Jesus. (Acts 5) The religious elite of Israel commanded the apostles to refrain from teaching the gospel of Christ, but the apostles counted it a great joy to be beaten on behalf of Jesus, and they considered it a badge of honor to be counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. (Acts 5:41)
Paul exhorted the Roman Christians, who lived in a very antagonistic and anti-Christian setting to keep the faith and further conveyed to them that the sufferings of this present world are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us. This grand glory is not merely the glory of being in Christís kingdom, but the glory of being glorified by him when He appears! (I Peter 4:13-16) Paul told the Corinthians that he himself took great pleasure in infirmities, reproaches, persecutions, and distresses for Christís sake, particularly when it resulted in the furtherance of Christís kingdom. (II Corinthians 12:9-11) The suffering that a Christian may endure while in this world will only inflame within his soul the glorious passion of victory that he will sense on that great day when the Lord claims his throne. If we who now suffer with Christ, how much the more will we thrill when he is reigning! The following words are from Jesus own lips, and they reveal that as loyal heirs of the King, we can expect the world to be against us:
Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.The persecution and distresses that a Christian endures while laboring for the Lord while in this world in effect serve to make us a living spectacle to the whole world. Even the angels of Heaven marvel at the loving faithfulness we demonstrate for our beloved Lord, and they stand in austere reverence as they witness the wondrous return on the love of God. (I Corinthians 4:9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.) The Crown of Life awaits all Christians that endure the distresses of this evil world, and the Crown of Righteousness shall be awarded to all those who keep the faith, and persist in fighting the good fight, and finish their race yearning for His appearing. James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Encouraging Words As We Occupy Till He Comes
The 2000 year old stirring words of Jesus, ďOccupy Till I Come,Ē resonates within my soul. These words are a commandment, and they also convey a sense of urgency. The word, ďoccupyĒ is taken from the Greek word, ďpragmateuomiaĒ, and means to busy oneself about a task. Our task of fulfilling the Lordís commission today is urgent. That sense of urgency is heightened for the Christian as the signposts signaling the soon coming of the Lord are sailing by quickly everyday. The emphasis of FOJ and any other prophecy ministry is rooted within the study of Godís prophetic word, but as any astute observer of Bible Prophecy knows, the Last Days will see increasingly perilous times come to pass. Therefore, FOJ would like to share the following words of assurance, comfort, and hope as we near the day of this worldís reckoning in the Valley of Decision. There are seven things that we can take great joy in knowing, as we watch for the Lordís coming. These seven terms for encouragement were first echoed by the Apostle Paul, when he exhorted his co-laborer, the beloved Timothy whom he mentored, to run a strong race, and finish his course strongly.
Paulís brief letter to Timothy highlights these wonderful things to dwell upon, while we strive to occupy for our Lord in this world. Like Paul and Timothy, we may endure hardship and affliction, but through Christian comradery in the Lord, we can endure all things because of Godís wonderful gifts.
II Timothy 1:1-2:11 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.II Timothy 2:1-11 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
As laborers for the Nobleman, Christians have two vital weapons in waging war against the gods of this world. The vital weapons at our disposal are the Word of God, and our personal prayer life. Paul conveyed to Timothy that he remembered him always in prayer, night and day, and fondly recalled his faithful and stalwart service. Such remembrances between individual Christians serves to strengthen each of us as we march forward in the Lordís army.
Paul recounted to Timothy that victory was assured, and that as laborers for Christ, the gift of God resides within each of us. The gift of God invigorates us with courage, power, and superhuman strength. It also multiplies the love of God within our hearts, and constantly renews our minds, and generates within us a heavenly perspective.
Thirdly, Paul reiterated to Timothy that every Christian has a Holy Calling. There is no higher purpose in the world for an individual than to serve his Lord in whatever capacity the Lord has equipped him to serve. He has given us talents, abilities, minds, wisdom, and everyone must find his calling to find personal contentment in godliness. Every Christian in the world has a purpose, and a special calling, and the performance that duty on behalf of our Savior is the greatest privilege that a human being can have. Each and every calling plays a part in the master plan that God has ordained for this world.
Fourthly, Paul reasserts to Timothy, and all Christians since, that death has been abolished. Death has no power over any Christian. We need not ever fear bodily harm or death. Its sting has been forever removed by the resurrection power of Christ. The radical Islamic suicide bombers erroneously believe that they will immediately be transported into paradise when they blow themselves up as they kill innocent people, but the truth of the matter is that they immediately fall into Hell. These people are deceived, and know not the truth. But for the Christian, to be absent from this earthly vessel is to be present with our Lord.
Fifthly, Paul enforces to Timothy that God is able to keep us. All that we have committed unto him, he will never lose. The Lord has never lost anything, and our salvation is secure by his promises. We have no need to fear the great judgement day, for we are already pardoned. Our lives, our bodies, and our souls are in his hand, and having committed our all unto him, we can have calm assurance about the future because he able to keep it all secured for eternity.
Next, Paul assured Timothy that the truth of God is never bound. While at times it may seem to us that we are laboring in vain, God says that his word always bares fruit. We are the sewers of his seed, and while some seed may fall on stony ground, and the Devil may hinder its planting, we are assured by God that his word has power to penetrate any ear that will hear. The word of the Lord is absolute truth, and truth is unchanging, and undefeatable.
Lastly, Paul concludes that we all can rest in the assurance that when we come to the end of our labors in this world, that we will live forever with the Lord, and be rewarded by him many times over for our faithful service. Therefore, we neednít trouble our hearts with the affairs and trials of this world, for He that is gone to prepare a place for us will indeed come again and receive us unto himself.
More Encouraging Scriptures for Occupying in this World
Revelation 2:25-26 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
I Peter 1:3-7 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
II Thessalonians 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
Jude 1:24-25 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry
Darrell G. Young