The Rapture

The Rapture

In Matthew, Chapter 24 we read of the “Great Distress” that will come upon the earth in the latter days

This will be a time of …

A great falling away of believers as Jesus states that “the love of many will grow cold.”

The word “love” here in the original language is ‘agape’ which is “God love.” Only believers have this love in their hearts. So, Jesus is saying that during this time of “Great Distress” there will be a great falling away of members of the Church.

This will be a time of …

The Rapture – a word used by believers but not a biblical word

The Rapture refers to the time when Jesus returns to take His people – the true Church   – into Heaven. We will be “caught up in the air with Him.”

The Rapture – is part of the Second Coming of Christ

This time (without the use of the word ‘Rapture’ is written about in 1 Thessalonians                                   4:13-18.

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word    from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

When in the “Last Days” does this happen?

This time of “Great Distress” and “Tribulation” is spoken about in the writings of the Prophet Daniel as well as the writings of the apostle John – the Book of Revelation

It is a 7 year period of ‘distress’ that is broken into several sections each 3.5 years long

                        We are told it will start … go for 3.5 years

                        Then there will be a major event

                        Followed by another 3.5 years

There are 3 camps in the Christian Church regarding how we interpret these prophetic indications

The Pre-tribulation group who believe we will be raptured before the “ever increasing lawlessness when darkness becomes gross darkness” come upon the earth

The mid-tribulation camp that believes the true believers and disciples of Jesus will suffer through the first half of the Tribulation (3.5 years) and then be Raptured to be with Jesus

The post-tribulation group who believe that Christians will go through all 7 years   of the Tribulation and then be raptured if proven faithful

I am often asked which “camp” I am in and thus what I believe.

I reply that my opinion is absolutely not important. God has never asked me my   opinion. What matters is that we be ready regardless of when the Rapture takes place. I base this thought on the words of Jesus found in Matthew 24:44… “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

So the key is to be ready!

And, how can we be ready?

What does it mean to be ready?

To be ready we need to be born again, born from above, born of God

The explanation of being born again:

When we are physically born into the world we are born into spiritual darkness and separated from God by our human nature and the original sin of Adam and Eve

We are born physically but we are spiritually dead – separated from the source of life and the Creator of all – God, our heavenly Father

This “original sin” and our subsequent sins committed personally keeps us separated from the Creator because He is holy, spotless, and without sin

If we die in this “natural” condition we will spend all of eternity separated from Him

The cost of sin is death – separation from God

The payment required to cancel the ‘sin debt’ is the death of a perfect sacrifice

As there are no perfect people we find ourselves in an impossible situation

So, while we were in this state and condition God had already planned a solution to our predicament

He became a man, born of a virgin, perfect man and totally God, and dies on the cross of Calvary thus paying the price for our sin – death / separation from God

And, by His resurrection from the dead He proved that hHis message is true and that He is God incarnate sharing our human nature and dying for us as the perfect man and thus perfect sacrifice

Jesus talks about this with a very religious man named Nicodemus…

John 3:1-7 “Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.Nicodemus said to him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again.

Paul writes about this in the Book of Romans…

Romans 3:23 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

We miss the mark of holiness and God’s perfect plan and purpose for our unique life

Romans 6:23a “The wages of sin is death…”

Death being spiritually separated from God now and forever because of sin

Romans 5:8 “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 6:23b “…the gift of God is eternal life:

This gift of “eternal life” is defined in the Gospel according to John, the apostle

John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

This means He gives to us the supernatural ability to have a personal relationship with Himself – God the Father and God the Son

This is enabled by the God the Holy Spirit who lives in us and enables us to have this relationship

Thus we also share fellowship with the Holy Spirit

2 Corinthians 13:14 “and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Thus we are able to see (as Jesus said to Nicodemus (see above), hear (see John 10:3), and touch God in this relationship

John, one of the early apostles wrote about this…

1 John 1:1-4 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Yet, as we have seen, during the increasing of lawlessness the love of many of the believers will decrease and fade completely.

Matthew 24:12 “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”

The reasons for this ‘leaving of the faith’ are varied I am sure. Let me suggest several:

1> People received the supernatural ability to have a personal relationship with God but never took the time or invested the effort to develop the relationship. Thus the relationship dried up and died – as happens with any relationship that is neglected.

2> The pleasure of the world drew them back and just as they made a decision to enter the Kingdom, they made a second decision to leave the Kingdom and go back to living like the world

3> They were really not born again in the first place. They were lied to by the Church!

Let’s look at this third one in some detail

The Church has been proclaiming the gospel of salvation. This is not a biblical gospel. In fact, it is not a gospel at all.

As Paul warned us… people will preach “another gospel” which the born again church has been doing now for many decades

2 Corinthians 11:3-4 “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.”

We are called to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom(Matthew 24:14)

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

The Gospel of the Kingdomis based on the Gospel I explained earlier in this teaching …

  •             You are born into spiritual darkness because of original sin (of Adam and Eve)
  •             You are a sinner by your thoughts, words, and deeds (actual sin)
  •             These sins separate you from God who is the source of all life and al that is good
  •             While you were still sinning as a sinner God loved you so much
  •             In love He sent His Son Jesus to die on a cross and pay the penalty for your sin
  •             He rose from the dead to prove He is God and that His death paid the price

This is the basics of the Gospel …

  •             The Church has been preaching this and sharing this
  •             Then someone asks you, after you hear the message, “do you believe”
  •             Well, it made sense and was well explained – seems reasonable, so “yes”
  •             You understand in your head the information
  •             Then they ask if you would like to pray and receive Jesus (what He has accomplished)
  •             You pray together – something often called “The Sinner’s Prayer”
  •             Then they tell you that you are born again.
  •             BUT, you are not!

Paul writes,

2 Corinthians 7:8-10 “For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”

So, the Gospel of the Kingdom shares the basic message of the Gospel

And then, the person sharing waits to see what the Holy Spirit is doing in your life

If your heart is ready the Holy Spirit will “convict you of sin, righteousness, and judgement” (John 16:8-10)

This conviction will be obvious to the person sharing with you as it will show on your face, in your body language, and in your brokenness and humility as you recognize that you have offended a holy God and are currently an enemy of Almighty God

This conviction will lead to “godly sorrow” which is sorry that you have offended God. Worldly sorrow is sorry you got caught and/or that you are now paying the consequences for your actions

“Godly sorrow” will lead to “repentance” which is a changing of your mind about God,    sin, and salvation… the Christian faith. And, because you begin to think differently, your lifestyle, your thoughts, actions, attitude, and behaviour will begin visibly changing

Then you pray and acknowledge that you are a sinner, that Jesus is God (Lord, Saviour, and God), and ask Him to forgive you, and receive both His forgiveness as well as the gift of eternal life.

Now, you are truly born again and in a relationship with the living God. Saved and in the Kingdom of God!

Any other message is a “false gospel” preaching a “false Jesus” and a “false spirit.”

When John the Baptistbegan his ministry his message was:

            “Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 3:2)

When Jesus began His ministry His message was,

            “Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15)

When the Church began and Peter preachedthe first sermon, He told the crowd they needed to repent

Acts 2:37-38 “Now when they heard this (the Gospel) they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brothers, what shall we do?And Peter said  to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

                        Notice: conviction, Godly sorrow (cut to the heart), repent…

Peter told them to “repent” and not just “repeat after me” a Sinner’s Prayer.

So, I don’t know when the Rapture will take place and my opinion is not important. What is important is that you are ready regardless of when the Tribulation and Rapture happen.

Matthew 24:44 “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

Consider the true Gospel, the Gospel of the Kingdom… and let the Holy Spirit move in your heart (John 16:8-10) so that you will truly be “born of water and of the Spirit” receiving the true Gospel of the Kingdom and not “another gospel” as many have done today.

Audio coming soon!

When Jesus was twelve years old He went with His parents to Jerusalem. After the celebrations were over the many families who had been in Jerusalem worshipping travelled back home together. It was only later that they discovered Jesus was not with them.

Often, as believers, we travel through our daily lives and don’t realize that we have misplaced Jesus. Often we run on our own agenda and only when things don’t go the way we want them to do we realize that we are ‘missing Jesus.’ It seems at times that we think we are smart enough or strong enough to handle life on our own. Then when we call out to Him in our crisis only then do we realize that we are ‘missing Jesus.’

This teaching will be looking at this bible story found in Luke’s gospel (Luke 2:41-52) as we examine our own lives to see where we have wandered away from Jesus and so, in some ways, we are ‘missing Jesus’ in our daily walk. And, we will also look at why this seems to happen when we truly are in love with Him and have committed our lives to Him.

Taking a Step Back

In the first 300 years of the Christian faith… dynamic, powerful, influential

And, as a result, the Early Church grew at a terrific rate ….

  • In the year 250 AD – 1.9% of the population of the Roman Empire was born again
  • In the year 300 AD – 10.5% of the Empire’s population was born again
  • In the year 350 AD – 56.5% of the population was born again

The Early Church…

Worked with regional apostolic centers … Located in Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, and Rome

Centres where the fivefold ministry teams were located and from where they spread out as needed to plant the Gospel of the Kingdom and establish new expressions of the Church  Read more

Ephesus – A Light in the Darkness

Within the Kingdom changes we have been discussing over the last few days there will be an increasing emphasis on the regional apostolic church. Recently in this series of teachings I have looked at the regional centers of Jerusalem and Antioch.

So, let’s turn our attention to the third apostolic regional center found in the city of Ephesus.

But first remind you of where we have been in this discussion…

God is changing the Church.

He is breaking off those things that were not part of His design for the Church that Jesus came to establish.

He is breaking off old traditional mindsets

He is calling us back to His original plan Read more

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Sixty-Six

So Paul came to Rome and added his gift. He taught the church and trained the saints in ministry. But Paul did more in Rome than just teach and minister. God used Paul tp penetrate a whole new strata of society. In Rome, Paul penetrated the capital of the world.

God’s ways are amazing. God arranged for Paul to have a unique entrance into the city of Rome. In Romans 1:9-11 Paul assured the Roman church that he has been trying to get to Rome. It was the desire of his heart to minister among them and he had asked God repeatedly to make a way, but God had not yet opened up the door.

Finally, God provided a way. Paul had been arrested in Jerusalem and the Jewish religious leaders wanted him killed. To escape their plot, Paul exercised his right as a Roman citizen and demanded a trial before Caesar. So Paul was sent to Rome as a prisoner, awaiting trial before Caesar. He won a “free, all-expense-paid trip to Rome,” courtesy of the Roman government.

He was taken to Rome as a prisoner, but he was not put in jail. He was allowed to rent his own house while he waited for his court date. He was in that house for at least two years. While he was there, he was free to minister and teach and “have church” in his home. The only stipulation was that, since he was a prisoner he had to be kept under guard continually. And it was not just any guard. Since he was awaiting a hearing before Caesar, the guards assigned to him were members of the elite Praetorian Guard, the same soldiers that guarded the imperial palace.

So, picture this: Paul was living in his own house in Rome. All the Jewish leaders from the city came and talked with him about the Messiah. Some of them received Jesus. Then for two years he used the house as a training center. He preached. He taught. He performed miracles. He healed the sick. And all the while members of the elite Praetorian Guard were assigned to watch him and listen to everything he said.

For two years the guards rotated through Paul’s house. They listened to the teachings and the discussions. They saw the miracles. They would go back to the barracks at night and tell the other guards what they had seen saying, “You wouldn’t believe what happened today!” The result was that the whole Praetorian Guard was evangelized. And through these same men, chosen as the best from every corner of the Empire, the Gospel penetrated both the imperial palace in Rome and every corner of the Empire.

And so the church in Rome continued to grow. We know from history that the early Church grew with incredible speed, but in most cities we can only guess at its size. But in Rome we have a way to measure the harvest.

The city of Rome has an estimated six hundred miles of catacombs burrowed under the city. From the first century to the third, these tunnels were the city’s cemeteries. Millions of people were buried in catacomb tombs during those years.

It is easy to identify which of the tombs were Christian tombs because the Christians tended to decorate their tombs with Christian symbols and pictures of biblical events. By studying the catacombs, archeologists are able to get a fairly accurate picture of the size of the church at any given time. Their studies reveal that by the end of the first century, the church in Rome numbered two hundred thousand people. That is a fifth of the population of the city!

Try to envision that kind of growth. The church in Rome would have begun near the middle of the century with a single house church of probably 20 people. As the saints were equipped to minister, that little church multiplied to two, and then to four, and then to eight. Through fifty years of sometimes severe persecution, the multiplication continued until by the end of the century, the church numbered 200,000. Assuming that an average house church numbered about 20 people, by the end of the first century there would have been more than ten thousand house churches scattered across the city of Rome!

That’s church growth! The Romans had no way to stop the growth of the church. As the church operated in fivefold ministry under the power of the Holy Spirit, the harvest came in.

From the apostolic center in Rome, teams went out to every part of the world. You have heard the saying, “All roads lead to Rome.” This also means that from Rome you can go anywhere in the Empire.

So teams went out and planted churches in every location. Tertullian, in the year 200, wrote to the pagans, “We have filled every place belonging to you: Your cities, islands, castles, towns, assemblies, your very camp, your tribes, your companies, your palace, your senate, your forum. We leave you your temples only. We can count your armies, but our numbers in a single province will be greater.” That’s called harvest.

The church historian Philip Schaff writes, “It may be fairly asserted that by the end of the third century the Name of Christ was known, revered, and persecuted in every province, and in every city in the Empire. In all probability at the close of the third century the church numbered ten million souls.” Some estimate that by the end of the third century, half of the population of the Empire had converted to Christianity.

Today: We are seeing the restoration of the ministry of the apostle to the Church in many nations. And, we are beginning to see the emergence of apostolic regional churches or apostolic centers where the fullness of the fivefold ministry can reside and then minister from there to house churches throughout their region.

These apostolic centers will enable the Church to once again grow and spread with incredible speed. God is preparing His Church to receive the great end-time harvest. God is changing His Church. He is changing the structure and basic foundation of the Church so that His life can once again be experienced and shared. He is doing it for one main purpose – that the harvest may come in.

Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

We will rise up powerful once again and, like the church in Rome, penetrate the structures of the world.

God is restoring the Church as His new wineskin, and He will pour in the new wine.

Happy New year from all of us here at Ralph Howe Ministries.

Our prayer for you and your family is that 2018 will be a year when His power is more evident in your life that at any time since you began your journey with Jesus.

That 2018 will be a seriously supernatural year of the Lord as you walk in His love, influencing and impacting your friends and neighbours.

Thank you for your prayers and financial support over this past year. It has been an amazing journey with Jesus for all of us involved in Ralph Howe Ministries. Our teams have touched lives in numerous nations as we travelled overseas. And, our outreach in western Canada has been seriously blessed as more and more lives are impacted and changed by the Word of God.

2017 saw new church plants; increased outreaches to many who have never experienced the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the power of God; many who were bound by the spirit of religion and tradition have been set free; and there has been a renewed commitment to see the Church that Jesus is building become a reality in an increasingly religious world.

2018 is looking to be an exciting year with a commitment to a number of overseas trips already made and several others in the works with dates yet to be determined. Our overseas ministry continues to expand and increase. And, each trip, as in 2017, will see a young apostle-in-training from North America travelling with Ralph to Eastern Europe and Central Asia. As well, there are several teams planning trips into the United States and remote areas of Canada to plant the seeds of the Gospel and raise up disciples as Jesus builds mew expressions of His Church.

These are exciting times that we live is as Jesus reveals the fullness of His ministry to the Church by reestablishing the fivefold ministry in the midst of His people, especially the ministry of the apostle.

Again, our sincere thanks for your prayers and financial support over the past year, and as we enter 2018, we know that together we can make a serious difference and have a tremendous impact for the Kingdom in many nations of the world.

Merry Christmas!

As we celebrate the birth of Christ and the amazing gift that He is; we at Ralph Howe Ministries want to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very “Marry Christmas.”

Our prayer is that this Christmas the Prince of peace will make His supernatural peace known to you in a fresh and new way. That you will come to know the depth of the peace with God you received when you were born again and that you will walk in the supernatural peace of God that only Jesus can release to our lives.

May you have a tremendous celebration of the birth of Christ and may His presence become even more real to you on a daily basis as you walk in His supernatural power in your daily life.

From all of us here at Ralph Howe Ministries – our best wishes and prayers for you and your family at this special time as we remember and celebrate the birth of our Saviour.

An Apostolic Understanding – Part Twenty-six

We are talking about trying to transform a pastoral model of the church into an apostolic model. This is definitely a difficult task and not to entered into by the faint of heart. The two models are so vastly different in their foundations, perspective, and operations that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to move a group of people, the local church, from one model to the other. I speak from experience having, after 17 years of working with a local congregation, simply failed to see the transformation take place.

So, the current model of the local church is based on a pastoral model with the key, main leader being the senior pastor or lead pastor. We have built the church on the backs of these men and women when it was never God’s plan nor design to do so. As we saw earlier, Paul sets out for us the order of working within a local church and seeing new churches raised up.

1 Corinthians 12:28 “And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.”

Because we have built upon the backs of pastors – a non-biblical model – we see that the statistics regarding the life and ministry of pastors is distressing. Studies in North America show:

80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses regularly struggle with depression
80% feel they are unqualified for their position; they don’t believe they have the ability and training necessary to do what their job requires
70% say they regularly consider leaving the ministry
50% say that they would leave the ministry if they had another option to support their family
1500 pastors actually leave the ministry every month due to burnout, moral failure, or contention in the church
70% of pastors do not have anyone they would consider to be a friend. Almost no pastors have a close friend
75% say that they live under constant stress. The insurance cost for mental breakdown for clergy is 4% higher than for any secular industry
77% of pastor do not feel that they have a good marriage
50% of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce
The majority of pastors’ wives say that the single most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage was the day that they entered the ministry

Think about it now. The traditional pastoral model of the church is destroying pastors. In a pastoral church, pastors are given a set of demands that no one can fulfill. God never intended one person to do it all. God never gifted one person to do it all. The old wineskin places demands on the pastor that no human being can satisfy!

It is no wonder that the Church is in a mess if this is the condition of most leaders. The pastoral church is an old, non-biblical, wineskin that does not work.

So, we need to change and build biblically. This means that we need a new understanding of the role of “pastor.” The biblical pastor is a fivefold ministry role as seen by the only time in the New Testament that the word is mentioned. Ephesians 4:11 states, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers…” Here the “pastor” is a trans-local minister who is part of a team of trans-local leaders. They move from church to church in a region working as a team in the various churches. They can show up alone or as a team depending on the need of the local assembly. The pastor comes to a local church to teach and train the people to “do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12) and equip them so that they work effectively. Then the body can minister to the body (see 1 Corinthians 12) and every person ministers and all needs are met. Biblically, there are no solo pastors as they always work within the fivefold ministry team. And, the local church or assembly is not led by a local pastor. Totally unheard of in the New Testament and an invention of men in the late 300’s.

So, what do we do with the current crop of pastors? They will need to step down as the local church builds on a biblical foundation. Some will need to find alternate employment and continue to minister to those they are in relationship with at work or in the community. Every member of the body of Christ is a minister. So, they continue to minister but as a disciple and not from an official position of ‘pastor’ and not paid by the local assembly.

And, we should note, that most “pastors” are not pastors. Some are apostles. Some are prophets, evangelists, teachers …. The problem is that the old wineskin had only one main position of ministry – the local church pastor or priest. So, when someone answered the call on their life to go into the ministry – the only ministry they knew and were aware of was the pastorate. In fact, in most cases, the only ministry position recognized by the organized church was pastor or priest. So, many of those serving today as pastors are misplaced and need to discover their real calling and giftings and simply leave the pastorate and pastoral ministry and fulfill the real call upon their lives. The old wineskin forced everyone into the same mold and made them all do the same thing. This is now, hopefully, coming to an end.

So, one last thought … this is why most pastors are miserable. Their weekly schedule is full of things they are not gifted to do, and it always takes longer to do what they are not gifted to do. This means they rarely have the time to do what they are called to do. Pastors need to be free to be who they are. A church needs to figure out what their pastor’s gift and calling really is, and let their pastor exercise that gift to equip the Body of Christ. Then God will raise up the people – the priesthood of all believers – and equip them to do the pastoral ministry as a result of being empowered and released to do body ministry … member ministering to member as it was in the beginning and is suppose to be now.


Ministry in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan

Ralph will be ministering in the town of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan November 26th, 2017.

Location: Assiniboia Apostolic Church located at 200 4th Avenue East in Assiniboia.

Time of service: 10:00a

Everyone is welcome

Ralph and his team will be teaching God’s Word and ministering prophetically during the service.

Topic for the morning: Jesus, The Revolutionary