TIMES of RESTORATION
BY: JACKIE CAPORASO
JULY 4, 2007
MESSAGE No. 172
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF HIS COMING?
TIMES OF RESTORATION
RESTORATION BEGINS WITH US
BY EVERY WORD
THE SEVENTH DAY
LIGHT OF THE BODY
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF HIS COMING?
This is the question on every Christian’s mind today. The forces of evil seem to be closing in on the world, and every Christian is wondering when our Lord will appear and will either take over or take them out of it.
We are well acquainted with the answers that Jesus gave His disciples when they asked Him the question, “…what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matt.24:3b) There will be wars and rumors of wars and indeed, we are seeing this everywhere. There will be famines and pestilences. One only has to look at Africa’s terrible famines and the “aids” epidemic, which is wiping out the population by droves to know that we are at the end of the age.
Jesus spoke of earthquakes in various places. Indeed, we have a record of great natural disasters that are on the increase as never before. Then Jesus told them, “…you will be hated of all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another and will hate one another.” (Matt.24:9b-10)
One does not need to be very discerning to feel the animosity and hatred that the name of Christ stirs in the hearts of men all over the world. Even in this nation of freedom of religion, Christians are often ridiculed or disparaged. The fierce warfare that we see today against Christians and Jews is the culmination of this hatred over the ages. Men can draw up peace treaties until time is no more, there can be no peace without a total change of man’s hearts. This change only comes when man is willing to lay his old heart down on the cross with Jesus and receive the new heart that is his in Christ. This is the only way to peace on earth.
Jesus also spoke of false prophets who will deceive many, as another sign of His coming. This speaks of Christians who will be lured away from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ; it speaks of counterfeit christs and indeed Jesus made a strong point of this.
There are many today who preach a gospel that is far from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is why, even though the written word is not the life, it is a strong witness to the life and an anchor to keep us from drifting away from the truth.
Jesus was quick to add, “…he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations and then the end will come.” (vs.13)
This statement is still under the heading of the signs of His coming. All nations, all humanity will have heard the Gospel of the kingdom (not only the Gospel of salvation) before the coming of Christ.
This is a powerful word. Jesus was saying that the entire world would be given a true witness concerning the kingdom of God. This means that in spite of all the false prophets and all the worldly things that keep the people so busy that they are barely able to think, not one man, woman or child will be left behind when it comes to hearing the good news of God’s kingdom.
But this will not come without extremely difficult conditions in the earth. Jesus emphasized that when He said, “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ! Or there!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.” (Matt.24:22-25)
It was when a lame man was suddenly healed that the people ran to Peter and John and gathered themselves in Solomon’s porch to hear them. Peter urged them to “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:19-21)
Peter was explaining that before the Christ appears, there will be a time of restoration of all things, as spoken by the mouth of all the prophets. Jesus warned that there would be many false prophets at that time too, so it becomes important to know what the true prophets of God have spoken since the world began until now concerning this restoration.
Peter quotes Moses as the prophet who announced that there would be a Prophet like him, raised from among the brethren. “Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:22b-23)
Then Peter declares, “Yes, and all the prophets from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.” (Vs. 24) Peter was addressing the Jews of his time. He was not only telling them of the Jesus that had walked among them, but he was also speaking of the resurrected Christ that had been caught up in the cloud and would some day be appearing again, in that cloud.
We know that the cloud that Jesus was caught up to was not a cirrus or cumulus or any other kind of cloud that we see in the sky everyday. Jesus was caught up in the cloud of the witnesses that had followed Him in the resurrection and that now received Him with open arms.
This was the same cloud that included Moses and Elijah, Isaiah and Daniel and all the saints that had gone before and were seen coming out of their graves at His resurrection. This cloud received Jesus, and is the same cloud in which He will appear as He appears in His saints.
Peter was not a learned man; he was a crude, unrefined fisherman, but when he spoke that day, he spoke by the Holy Spirit. So when he declared that all the prophets from Moses had spoken of the restoration of all things that must take place before the Christ appears, he was speaking according to truth.
TIMES OF RESTORATION
Today, with the help of satellites and television, we are first-hand witnesses of the destruction that was prophesied by Jesus. However, we must also look to the time of total and complete restoration.
The question must be asked, “Is this speaking of the restoration of literal Israel, as some have forecasted, or should this restoration go further back than that?” Peter mentioned the restoration of all things, so we must assume that this goes back to the times before the fall.
This would mean that man would be fully restored to his place under the authority of God’s Spirit and in that way, man would again have full dominion over the earth. This I believe is the restoration that the prophet Isaiah made very clear when he prophesied that where there was hatred and animosity in the hearts of man and beast, there shall now be peace and love.
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole. And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain. For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa. 11:6-9)
This is what creation has been groaning and travailing for. Not only heaven is full of the knowledge of the Lord, but earth as well; this is the hope of every creature. Poets have written about it, artists have illustrated the beauty of such paradisiacal state on canvas.
The words spoken by God’s true prophets are our witness of the truth; we must believe them. We know that the words spoken by Isaiah are true and we need to look to the time of their fulfillment without wavering. In spite of what we see happening everywhere to the contrary, our faith must endure.
And the most wonderful part of this prophecy is that it is not speaking only of the animal kingdom being tamed and living side by side without fear. The animals represent the various human natures that have dwelt in man’s hearts and have been at enmity with each other. The earth is groaning for such restoration.
The prophet Habakkuk spoke of this restoration. When we read the first chapter of his book, we are amazed at what God showed this man. The prophet was asking God the very thing that so many are asking today. “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds.” (Hab. 1:2-4)
The prophet goes on and on in his lamentation. He describes the violence that the wicked has spread over the nations, and God does not seem to be doing a thing about it. But the Lord answered His prophet and instructed him to write plainly the vision, though it was for a latter time.
“Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, who establishes a city by iniquity! Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts that the peoples labor to feed the fire, and nations weary themselves in vain? For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:12-14) The same prophecy that God gave to Isaiah, He also repeated to Habakkuk; the word is fully established at the mouth of two witnesses.
It was then that Habakkuk’s faith was kindled and he wrote, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock be cut off from the fold, there be no herd in the stalls – Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (Hab. 3:17-18)
He had seen the vision and He believed His God. It no longer mattered what he saw all around him; he knew that His God was in charge and that salvation (deliverance) would not fail to come to earth.
Beloved, this is what we have been prepared for and what is expected of us. Not only have we heard God’s word over and over again, but also we have seen the Word made flesh in Jesus, and now we are witnessing the Word being made flesh in us. No matter what takes place around us, we have found the Christ within and we know that full deliverance is coming to the earth.
All the little, and not so little, tests of faith that we have been through, have been to salt us and prepare us to stand in this day. We have been lifted up in a realm of faith that enables us to go through such times without wavering. This is the true “rapture” of the saints. This is how we met Him in the air (in the Spirit) and this is where we are called to stand firm in the faith knowing that His salvation cannot fail.
Because we stood through thick and thin and still proclaimed the vision that God showed us from the beginning, we can stand in full faith and know that no matter what is happening, “The knowledge of the glory of the Lord, WILL cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.”
This means that “In that day the Lord with his severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; and He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.” (Isa. 27:1) This is the twisted serpent that has been thriving in the sea of humanity and has exploited the minds of man to bring them into submission to its devices. It is that reptilian mind that God destroyed on Calvary and will cover with the knowledge of His glory.
RESTORATION BEGINS WITH US
Men have worked long and hard at evangelizing the world. They have poured out their resources, their time, their strength and sometimes their lives to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It has opened the way to the salvation that is in Christ, but it has not yet brought the full restoration of all things as spoken by all of God’s prophets.
We admire the courage of Martin Luther, and all the pioneers of the Reformation, whose faith withstood a most powerful and seemingly undefeatable establishment. We are grateful to all who in their time were fearless to stand in the light that God had given them.
We applaud those as Mother Teresa who give their lives to nurse the sick, clothe the poor and feed the hungry. This is extremely admirable and has its reward; but evidently, it does not bring the deliverance from sin and death spoken of by God’s prophets.
In spite of all the efforts that we can muster up in ourselves, sicknesses and plagues are on the increase and the load is getting heavier than anyone can bear. Jesus said, “For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.” (Matt.26:11) The need to nurture the Christ in His body is of primary importance.
Does this mean that our efforts have been in vain? Not at all, it has all been in God’s plan. The evangelizing serves its purpose. It is through evangelism that we hear the Gospel of salvation and that many have been called. It is through evangelism that many are still turning their lives over to Jesus Christ today and humanitarian goodness must certainly reach out to the suffering masses. This is also the ministry of Christ in the earth.
“So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deut. 8:3)
This is a vital piece of information. If we do not eat our daily bread, our bodies die. But, if our spirit, soul and yes our flesh also, is deprived of the Word that God speaks daily, we remain in the realm o death. This was the lesson for Israel in their wilderness journey, and it is our lesson through the wilderness of this world. The quicker we learn, the better it is for all.
It is by the Word that God created all things, and it is by the Word of God that all things exist together in harmony. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)
“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Col. 1:16-17)
The dictionary tells us that the word “consist” means, “To exist together in harmony”. All of God’s creation exists together in harmony. The stars, the planets, the entire universe rotates together in perfect harmony because of His Word. The only things that we know are not harmonious are the hearts of men. That is because through disobedience, the Word of God has been removed from them.
One may argue that indeed now more Bibles are sold than ever before. More verses of Scriptures are quoted than ever before. There are more missionaries and evangelists in the fields than ever before. Christians are passionate about keeping prayer and ‘in God we trust,’ they see the handwriting on the wall, but in spite of all efforts, the ways we trusted are being removed and violence is increasing in the world at a faster rate than ever before. The affairs of men are not working together in harmony because they lack the daily Word of God.
If the Word that is flowing on the mission fields and in the many churches of this country today was the Bread of Life, the true Word of God, this country would run together in harmony. When we look at the deterioration in the branches of our government today, we are deeply troubled by the animosity that we see between the leaders, or would be leaders, of the greatest country in the world.
They have no qualms about destroying the reputation of decent men for the sake of promoting themselves and winning votes. They have lost respect for those who are in position of leadership and trample fearlessly over their good names. This is another form of terrorism. No wonder terrorism is on the rise and anarchy is taking over the world, one continent at a time beginning with the weakest.
The spirit that is leading the people today reminds me of those who gathered before Pontius Pilate when he asked who he should release, Barabbas the thief or Jesus? They all, with one voice, wanted to see Jesus crucified. They had no idea who Jesus was; they only believed the lies of their leaders.
This is the way that many politicians run the affairs of this country today. They appear so honest and believable and make wonderful promises that they cannot keep. The truth is that they are more interested in securing the next vote for themselves, than they are about doing something good for anyone. Yet, we are not called to straighten them out. God has separated us from the affairs of this world.
There is no harmony where there is no daily Word of God. Jesus called Himself “the Bread of Life.” “…Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:32-33)
We have been fed on wonderful manna while we have been wandering in the wilderness of churches and assemblies. There has not been much harmony in any of these, but when He separates us and begins to feed us the true Bread from above, the Living daily Word directly from His Spirit, we begin to find harmony within ourselves and harmony with those around us as well.
BY EVERY WORD
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light and there was light.’” (Gen.1:1-3)
In the beginning of creation, when all was empty and without form, and when the face of the deep (spirit realm) was in total darkness, God spoke the Word and everything came into being.
The power of God’s Word is awesome; it is more than we can comprehend. The Word is God and the Word is Light. If we were to take in all the rays of the sun at once, we would die. So it is with the revelation of the Word, we can only take in a little at a time. It is by the Word that all things consist, so all things issued from the Word and are contained in the Word.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psa. 119:105) His Word guides our every steps and our life is sustained by every word that proceeds out of His mouth. God does not stop speaking His Word. He speaks it every day, every moment, in one form or another; we need an ear to hear and a heart to understand.
God’s Spirit hovers over those whose heart lean toward Him. Recently, I watched a program where survivors of the Nazi holocaust were being interviewed. The program stemmed from the fact that rooms packed full of records of everyone that had been incarcerated and massacred in Nazi concentration camps had been discovered.
They found these files tightly lined on shelves three rows high and sixteen miles long. Each prisoner had a file with his or her picture and details of their devastating fate and death. The Nazis kept these files to prove to Hitler that his orders had been carried out. It is only recently that these were made public.
So they were interviewing some of the survivors and showing them their files. One old man in particular recounted his deplorable ordeal during his time there. He was thirteen years old at the time and his family had all been put to death. When the Americans found the camps and found him and a few others, he was emaciated to the point of death. Pictures of the survivors were published in the newspapers at the time.
I was a teenager when some of these men returned to Paris. I saw some of them in the subway and I was so shocked that I could not help but stare at them. They looked like dead men walking.
But this old survivor was recounting the time with tears in his eyes. When asked why he had survived, he said that he had found an overcoming (his own word) strength arising from deep within and he knew that he had a purpose and must never give up.
As I watched him, I knew that the strength that he had felt at the time was the Spirit of Christ. This man had been given a purpose and the Christ had reached down to him so he could accomplish it. The Word that he received in his heart had extended his life. The Spirit hovers over His people and blows words of courage and love in their hearts.
THE SEVENTH DAY
The Word that God spoke in the beginning to create the heavens and the earth is the “Logos.” The Logos is not just a language; it is God’s “intention” and “purpose.” It is not only the spoken Word; it is the thought behind the Word. Every word that God speaks contains the intent of His heart. God’s Word has purpose. The Logos is not a descriptive or even instructive Word; the Logos is the full plan of God.
It would be impossible for man to behold the full Logos and still live, so after He sent His Son to atone for our sins, God sent us the Spirit of His Son, the Word made flesh, to speak to us individually in a way that we can understand and be sustained. This Word is called the “Rhema,” and it is our personal portion of the Word – our daily bread.
God speaks and His purpose is fully accomplished. When on the sixth day God declared, “It is very good,” He was saying that all was done according to His plan and purpose; there was absolutely nothing that was not in agreement with His intent.
To better understand this, we must wash away the old idea that the seven days of creation were actually twenty-four hour periods. Instead, let us look at each day being a complete period of time that it takes to accomplish each phase of creation. And let us see that each period of time has been going on from the beginning.
When Jesus was on earth, in flesh and blood, He healed men on the Sabbath. That was the day designated by God for man to rest yet Jesus healed on the Sabbath and His disciples picked corn to eat on that day. He assured them, “For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Matt.12:8) And again, “…The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)
Jesus was saying that He is the Lord of the seventh day. He was announcing that at the point when He appeared, the Word made flesh was accomplishing the work of the seventh day. Everything previous to that time had been the work of the first six days, but when Jesus came on the scene, the work of the seventh day began.
In Genesis, we read, ‘Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen. 1:26a, 27) Satan has persuaded some that the man of dust is already in the image of God, but when Jesus came on earth, He revealed the true image and likeness of the Father. In His resurrection, He became the firstborn of many who will bear that same image. Jesus came to earth to finish the work of the Seventh day. He came to bring man to the full image and likeness of God.
The resurrected Jesus identified Himself, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8)
The Lord, who is the Beginning and the End, is the Word. He says that He is the One who was, so He was the Word that spoke everything into being from the Beginning. Today, He is the One who is the firstborn of the new creation man and He is the One who is to come because He will appear again in those who are the new creation of God in Christ.
The Word is the Beginning and the End; He is the One who began the works and does not stop until all is finished and man is “in His image and likeness.” What we read at the beginning of the book is not finished until we come to the end of the book.
He is the One who is here to put all enemies under His feet. (We are His feet, His body). “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death…Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” (I Cor.15:25, 26, 28)
THE LIGHT OF THE BODY
“The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt.6:22-23 KJV)
This is a key for spiritual, mental and often physical wellness. Jesus was saying that when we set our eyes on evil or when we continually focus on the works of darkness, our entire being is plunged in darkness. We see the dire consequences of this in many of today’s children. They have saturated their minds and hearts with the sex and violence of rap music and video games and they have become a violent, reckless generation with no sense of value.
Another way that evil penetrates and permeates lives is through thought patterns that have been instilled in us through our ancestors. We all know people who are “worriers.” They worry about everything and always imagine the worst scenario for the future. The Lord brought this problem to my attention in my own life. I had never been a worrier but recently I found myself dwelling on thoughts of the worst things that could happen in my life.
As these kinds of thoughts kept pressing on my mind, I realized that I was being assaulted by “anxiety.” As I became aware that thoughts of fear were trying to take me over, I knew that this was a dangerous force to be reckoned with. In the past, I had counseled some who had been plagued by “anxiety” and I knew that it is a ploy of the devil to turn the mind away from the light of truth, but through the experience, I felt the tenaciously sinister power of that force.
Up to now, this treacherous enemy had never had much power over me, but suddenly I found myself worrying about all the things that could go wrong in my life. I realized that these thoughts stemmed from the recent changes in my life, and that it may be normal to have doubts about the future.
But as I pondered this, I came to the conclusion that life is always filled with insecurities. I also know that my Father had always been there for me, even before I knew Him. I then realized that I was going through a test of my faith. No one is ever sure of what the future holds, but as the old song says, we know who holds the future. Jesus said that, “if our eye is not single, if we behold the darkness and not the light, our entire body is in darkness as well,” but if we keep our thoughts on the One who is the Truth, our entire body is filled with light.
I remember the first time that I boarded a jet liner. I had flown to Haiti and Jamaica in a single engine Bonanza without fear because the pilot was a Christian brother. But this time, I was traveling by myself to a Convention in Texas on a commercial jet liner. I could not see the pilot or the crew, and although I was excited about my trip, my thoughts kept gravitating to the idea that we were going to crash.
Furthermore, it was Christmas week, and the “stewardess” (they were called that at the time) was offering complimentary glasses of Champagne. I did not feel right about drinking but the thought came to me, “If I don’t drink this, it will be left over and the pilot and crew will get more to drink!” I then imagined the scenario of a drunken pilot and co-pilot and I knew that the plane was going to crash. It all sounds ridiculous, but at a time like that, Satan uses fear to play with our minds and have his way.
So I took the drink she offered. I also took out the little zippered Bible I carried in my purse. I opened it at random and read the first verse that my eyes fell upon, “For the thing I greatly fear has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me.” (Job 3:25) Then it seems that I heard the voice of the Lord from deep within saying, “Better put your faith in reverse!”
As soon as I heard this, I realized that I was actually believing that the pilot was getting drunk and that the plane was going to crash. I had to quickly reverse my thinking and believe that God was in charge and that all was just fine.
Indeed the devil uses our own faith to believe his lies. The more we worry about the bad things that could happen, the more likely they are to happen; it is called “anxiety.” Troubles stem from many sources, but anxiety is a popular tool that the foe uses to enter our thoughts and make us miserable and vulnerable to harm.
If our eye is full of light, our body will also be filled with light. If we behold evil for ourselves and others as well, our body will respond accordingly. This is why it is so important that we not be yoked with the affairs of this life.
Peter warns that once we have been made free from the world, it is important to not be entangled with them again. “For if, after they (we) have escaped the pollutions of this world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they (we) are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them (us) than the beginning.” (II Pet. 2:20)
I am aware that many well meaning Christians believe that they must join groups that are making strong efforts to try to restore godly virtues in this world. Some try to do something about pollution while others are out to abolish abortion. These labors are all very honorable, but actually they are only another form of “religious activities;” they are not what the Lord is doing with us. They may well be what some are called to, but we must not be motivated or influenced by the spirit of this world.
This is why many among us are being totally separated from all activities. We are not idle, but we must be only about our Father’s business. Our eye must remain SINGLE upon Him and not be occupied with many things, even seemingly good things, so that our minds, hearts, and bodies also may be full of light.
The Psalmist after God’s own heart wrote, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O lord, my strength and my redeemer.” (Psa. 19:14)
What we behold with our eye determines the words of our mouth and the meditations of our hearts. If we keep our thoughts upon the evils that are rampant in the world, we will find ourselves meditating upon them and being brought down to that level. If we behold the glory that the Lord has shown to us and let our eye be single upon the Light that is shining within us, we will find that our minds and hearts are filled with peace, joy and strength. This is more than a commandment; it is life and light in the midst of darkness.
Truly, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path… I am afflicted very much; revive me, O Lord, according to your word. Accept, I pray, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O Lord, and teach me your judgments.” (Psa. 119:105, 107, 108)
Because of His love,
TIMES of RESTORATION – MSG No. 172 [Jackie Caporaso] 7-4-07 1