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The
Witness of Suffering
Paul's
Spirit-inspired words:
"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake,
and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His Body, that is, the church,
of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you,
to make the Word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to His saints."
Colossians 1:24-26.
This
significant statement above about "Christ's afflictions" lacking is not a reference to the unique Atonement of the Lord Jesus. It refers to the costly faithful witness that was demonstrated in His life, which is to continue at great cost in His people as the continuance of His life in the flesh.
 
 
Christ's Atonement was a unique event enacted directly and only between the Court of Heaven and the sinless One, who had limited Himself in love from His eternal infinity to the self-denying parameters of human existence in His identification with us.
 
His
Atonement began at noon, three-hours after He was nailed to the cross at 9am, and ended at 3pm (15:00), during which time He cried out in spiritual anguish "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me" (for even His knowing its purpose was taken from Him) and it concluded later with "It is finished!", during which time the sky had darkened.
Matthew 27:45-46;
Mark 15:34.
So
that "lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His Body" is not a reference to anything about His completed Atonement!
Matthew 4:6.
See: The Words of 2nd
Temptation Are Among Us
In addition,
the 'health and prosperity' doctrine propagated in some branches of Christianity today is simply Satan's repeat of Christ's Second Temptation which teaches that if you really believe in God with enough faith nothing bad can ever happen to you.
Paul's
reference above to his sufferings is explained in more detail as –
"Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned.
Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea;
on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people,
danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;
in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure."
2 Corinthians 11:25-27.
This Witness
of our suffering for Christ will reach its climax in the conclusion of the pilgrimage of Christ's Body, for after completion of our full evangelism-mandate, referred to by Christ as the precondition of the End (Matthew 24:14), there then begins the final and completing demonstration of the true character of Christianity as a witness of the character of God in this world – a prophesied period-of-suffering limited to 1260-days exactly which climaxes in the world-wide public rapture before the eyes of a watching world to meet their Christ in the air.
 
The
Public Rapture
Witness Completed
"...all the tribes of the earth will mourn,
and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And
He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will
gather His elect
[the believers] from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other."
Matthew
24:30-31.
Sadly
some, to try and fit this statement of Holy Scripture into a 'dispensational structure' that they have been taught, have thought these "elect" are simply 'Jews' supernaturally brought to the Promised Land after Christ comes at the end of a seven-year Tribulation, and so confine the Bible's statement that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile to a limited Church Age in history.
 
 
At no time was God ever a racist, not even concerning the descendants of Abraham. God's loyalty to Abraham in His special care for his descendants did not put up a discriminatory barrier that prevented Salmon (ancestor of David) from marrying Rahab the Amorite prostitute for she believed, and king David's whole personal body-guard were Philistines, the Cherethites and the Pelethites (1 Kings 1:44). It was personal faith not race that set people apart, the life of Ruth of Moab (not Jewish) fills a whole book in the Old Testament and became an honoured ancestress of King David even though she was descended from Lot's incest.
 
The angels that supernaturally and publicly gather the Elect of Christ together into His resurrection will show no racial bias and
gather those and only those whose relationship to God is the direct product of the Atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ
– who is worthy that our last drop of blood should testify to His glory –

... not until ...


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