The Last Days Omission by G. Michael Epping - Read Online
The Last Days Omission
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Summary

I do not write this book with the intention of criticizing the Western Church or its missionaries. I rather have written the text from a great love in my heart for all the brothers and sisters, who call themselves Christians or followers of Jesus. One important duty of the minister of God is to uplift and speak about the blessings of God. A more difficult task is to reveal and speak about any error that has developed in the Church, which is in need of correction. Should not this second responsibility be received with as much fervor as the first? Too often, not only the members of the congregation, but also the church leaders, do not want to hear anything that borders on correction of current practices and doctrines in either the local assembly or denomination. Too often, such spokesmen are labeled as critics, troublemakers, or false teachers, who come to divide or bring strife into the church. However, is this not what both Jesus and apostles like Paul did, when error had crept into the house of God? Did not Jesus call the Pharisees a den of vipers, and the blind leading the blind? Did not the members of the Sanhedrin hate Him and plot to kill Him for what they saw as high treason? Did Paul not later rebuke and correct the very churches that he had earlier pioneered and planted? And most important, was not this correction offered out of a genuine love for the saints of God? Is it the duty of the man of God to not only be sent out and establish new churches, but also to offer correction and rebuke in these same churches, when they have drifted away from the truth of Scripture? Do we not have a great need today for a minister (whether he goes by the name of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, or just plain reverend) to not only bless and build up the people of God, but also to correct them when they have fallen into serious error? Yet too often, church members bristle and flare up, when the man of God comes in and rebukes them about serious error that has crept into the local assembly.
This book is written from such a position, with the specific intention of bringing an awareness of a serious error, which has infiltrated the Church. This error is widespread and crosses over denominational and other religious lines of authority. Has not the Great Commission that is a direct commandment of Jesus been turned into a Last Days Omission, and treated as an undesirable option of the Bible? The present book has been written with the primary purpose of answering this extremely important question. In Chapter 1, we begin with what the Bible tells us about the initial formation and later expansion of the church. Then, the Great Commission as set forth by Jesus Christ, will be examined in Chapter 2. After this basic groundwork has been laid, we will proceed to investigate some of the problems that have occurred from the practice of the Last Days Omission. Then, towards the end of the book, an antidote will be presented for this modern-day dilemma.

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The Last Days Omission

By Dr. Gary Michael Epping

Antelope Hill Publications

Smashwords Edition

Copyright: 2008

2nd Edition: 2012

All rights reserved by Gary Michael Epping

ISBN: 9781476272528

Licensing notes:

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy.

Other books by Dr. G. Michael Epping

*A Revolution From Darkness To Light

*Spiritual Stirrings Of The Awakening

*Pathways Into The Glory & Out Into The World

*Strong Meat For The Spiritually Maturing Christian

*The Great Doctrinal Divide That Separates God’s People

*Daily Readings On The Obedience Of Man & God’s Blessing

*Releasing Great Grace And Great Power

*The Last Days Omission

*Birth Pangs Of The Tribulation (Part 1)

*Tribulation Rising (Part 2)

*Unfolding of the Great Tribulation (Part 3)

Table Of Contents

Title

Note From The Author

Preface

1st Foreword

2nd Foreword

Introduction

Chapter 1 – The New Testament Church

Chapter 2 – The Purpose of the Church

Chapter 3 – The Last Days Omission

Chapter 4 -- The Last Days Omission

Chapter 5 - Practice Of The Great Commission

Chapter 6 - Joining God's Army

Chapter 7 – The Great Commission Movement

Endnotes

Bibliography

End

*

Note From The Author

Dr. Gary Michael Epping Ph.D. received Bachelor and Graduate degrees in Business Administration, and was a University Professor for twenty-five years. During that time, he taught and published several scholarly articles about the business world. After a radical spiritual transformation at a long-running revival in the mid-1990’s, he subsequently received both Bachelor and Graduate degrees in Biblical Studies and Theology, in order to prepare himself and his family for spending eight years as missionaries in Thailand. The Epping family returned to America in 2009, and is currently living in Montana, where MIchael is a minister, rancher, and writer. At this time, I want to thank my wife, Diane, for standing with me through all of the trials of writing these of books. I also want to thank Fiona Higgins, a missionary in Thailand, for editing all of the books that I have written.

*

Preface

So often, Christians will say that the primary purpose of the church is for the fellowship of believers and a sanctuary from the trials of this world. Yet before ascending back to heaven, Jesus said for His disciples to take the Gospel out to unbelievers, not to establish a safe haven for believers to hide out in. Have we forgotten the commandment of Jesus to take the Gospel out into the far corners of the earth, in favor of the fellowship of the saints? Has the primary purpose of going beyond the walls of the church to save others down the street and around the world, been replaced by building walls in the local assembly to benefit the members. Has the Great Commission for the church been turned into a Last Days Omission? If so, then we need to think seriously about finding an antidote.

I do not write this book with the intention of criticizing the Western Church or its missionaries. I rather have written the text from a great love in my heart for all the brothers and sisters, who call themselves Christians or followers of Jesus. One important duty of the minister of God is to uplift and speak about the blessings of God. A more difficult task is to reveal and speak about any error that has developed in the Church, which is in need of correction. Should not this second responsibility be received with as much fervor as the first? Too often, not only the members of the congregation, but also the church leaders, do not want to hear anything that borders on correction of current practices and doctrines in either the local assembly or denomination. Too often, such spokesmen are labeled as critics, troublemakers, or false teachers, who come to divide or bring strife into the church. However, is this not what both Jesus and apostles like Paul did, when error had crept into the house of God? Did not Jesus call the Pharisees a den of vipers, and the blind leading the blind? Did not the members of the Sanhedrin hate Him and plot to kill Him for what they saw as high treason? Did Paul not later rebuke and correct the very churches that he had earlier pioneered and planted? And most important, was not this correction offered out of a genuine love for the saints of God? Is it the duty of the man of God to not only be sent out and establish new churches, but also to offer correction and rebuke in these same churches, when they have drifted away from the truth of Scripture? Do we not have a great need today for a minister (whether he goes by the name of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, or just plain reverend) to not only bless and build up the people of God, but also to correct them when they have fallen into serious error? Yet too often, church members bristle and flare up, when the man of God comes in and rebukes them about serious error that has crept into the local assembly.

This book is written from such a position, with the specific intention of bringing an awareness of a serious error, which has infiltrated the Church. This error is widespread and crosses over denominational and other religious lines of authority. Has not the Great Commission that is a direct commandment of Jesus been turned into a Last Days Omission, and treated as an undesirable option of the Bible? The present book has been written with the primary purpose of answering this extremely important question. In Chapter 1, we begin with what the Bible tells us about the initial formation and later expansion of the church. Then, the Great Commission as set forth by Jesus Christ, will be examined in Chapter 2. After this basic groundwork has been laid, we will proceed to investigate some of the problems that have occurred from the practice of the Last Days Omission. Then, towards the end of the book, an antidote will be presented for this modern-day dilemma.

*

Foreword

By M. John Cava

I was privileged to be with the Eppings on their maiden trip to Thailand as God burned the passion for missions into their hearts. With small children and a lot of faith, they ventured into a foreign land, language and culture for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? Yes?

Therefore, when Michael writes about missions it is not from a clinical review. It comes from experience and a burden from the heart of God who gave his best to reach a dying world. The Eppings spent years in Thailand working to penetrate a Buddhist culture and trying to nurture a fledgling church. They are among the faithful who just said, Yes Lord, and answered the call.

Now in retrospect this book comes forth to put biblical, missions theology with the practical response. In some places you will be educated. In other chapters you will be discomforted. It will cause you to ask yourself some poignant questions like, whose disciple am I, and what is stopping me to ‘go into all the world and make disciples of every nation. For those who want to be relevant and serve the Lord in their generation, I encourage you to – read on.

But, I warn you . . . this book could change your life.

M. John Cava

World Outreach Center

Fort Mill, S.C.

*

Foreword

By Praphan Nawrat

After the resurrection of Jesus, He spent forty days with His disciples, teaching them things in regard to the Kingdom of God. As His first earthly team was formed, He made it crystal clear to them, exactly what their primary mission was to be: All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you… (Mat 28:18-20). This decree is later known as the Great Commission. This is indeed the foremost purpose for the Church to fulfill.

Obviously, this mandate is not meant to be accomplished by our own efforts and ideas. In Acts 1:8 He made it plain as to how the commission can be fulfilled: But you shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and you shall be witnesses unto me…

Christians today can be broadly divided into two categories: the majority (believers) who omit the edict of our Lord, indulging in their own agendas and worldly desires; and a smaller more zealous group (disciples), who have risen up to undertake the responsibility of the Great Commission. Because of the immensity and difficulty of this assignment, the second group often try to fulfill this commission by means of human efforts. Many can be observed running after conferences, forums, and seminars, in a desperate attempt to find the right ‘key’ or ‘technique’ to accomplish the Lord’s final mandate.

However, Jesus said His yoke is light, and His burden is easy. In this book, Dr. Mike Epping has shown that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, another Comforter, this great commandment can be made light and easy, through power granted from on high. We need to come back to the basics of the Bible. Let’s reconsider the simple, yet powerful ‘key,’ that is success-guaranteed. We do not need to turn to human techniques, as Jesus has already revealed the ‘secret formula’ for His disciples to follow. Let’s return to the Great Commission, and together fulfill the Lord’s mandate within our generation!

Praphan Nawrat,

Editor and Minister,

Divine Communications, Chiang Mai, Thailand

*

Introduction

What Are You Following:

Some people, in reading the title of this book, may think that there was an error made in printing, and that I surely meant the title to be about an end times commission of the Lord. While much of the book is about the Great Commission, the title of the book reflects the presence of a ‘Great Omission’ that is taking place in these last days. Previously, I had thought about naming the book simply ‘The Great Omission,’ but felt that it did not reflect the urgency that is present in these last days. Hence the current title, The Last Days Omission. However, at times in the book, I will also refer to the Last Days Omission as the Great Omission. In either case, we are looking at something that has been omitted from the Great Commission in recent years. Therefore, it is important to quickly present what the Bible describes as the Great Commission, and all the things that accompany it in practice. Only then, will we be in a position to accurately view what is left, when things are taken away or omitted.

The Great Commission

The Great Commission was a commandment given to His disciples shortly before Jesus ascended to heaven. A command is like a one-sided option that we are ‘to do’ in obedience to God. While we have a free will to ‘not do’ what God has commanded, such a deed is an act of disobedience. We must remember that we are not talking about the Great Recommendation, the Grand Alternative, or the Friendly Suggestion. If that were so, then we would be free to personally choose to do or not do what has been written. Several key passages point to the importance of the Great Commission, and they are often called the Commissioning Scriptures. These references are found in: MAT 28:18-20, MRK 16:15-20, LUK 24:46-52, JHN 20:21, and ACT 1:4-5,8-9. Based on these pivotal passages of scripture, it can clearly be seen that the primary purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ is to take the Gospel out to all the people in the world. There may be other short-term goals and objectives that are important, but the long-term objective for the existence of the Church is to win souls for Christ.

In JHN 20:21, it tells about who is to take the Gospel out into the world, So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you. Yes, it is you that is to go! This shows that the disciples of Jesus are to be sent out to preach the Gospel, just as the Father sent Jesus from heaven to earth, so that the kingdom of God might enter the earthly realm, and that salvation might be offered to all people. When Jesus began His ministry and was baptized by John, He was fully empowered for ministry as the Father watched from heaven and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. A key question for a follower of Jesus is, whose power do you go out under?

MAT 28:18-20 says, And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. An essential item for the disciples of Jesus (then and today) is to go into all nations and teach about Jesus, baptizing those who will hear and receive. Also of great importance is when Jesus says that He will be with us (through the Holy Spirit since He was returning to heaven), and that all power has been given to Him by the Father. After we have been prepared and sent out in ministry, are we also to receive power from on high, or are we to go out under our own power?

Then, in MRK 16:18-20 it tells us, And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. Again, this passage tells the disciples to go preach the Gospel to every person, and those that believe will be saved. Of considerable significance, it also says that Jesus will cause supernatural signs and miracles to be manifested through His disciples that take the Gospel into the world. This is very significant, as it indicates that Jesus will use His power through His people, and it says that He will be working with them.

In addition, we know from MAT 10:1 that, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. Also in MAT 10:7-8, it tells us some things that disciples of Jesus are supposed to do as they go, And as you go, preach, saying ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.’ Furthermore, we know that after the Father sent the Holy Spirit to earth, the Spirit was able to give us spiritual gifts that could be used to take the Great Commission into the world. In 1CO 12:8-12 it says, For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues. Although, these passages speak of God’s gifts for us, they do not tell us exactly how Jesus was to give this power to His disciples after returning to heaven.

However, in LUK 24:46-52, we can see how Jesus will be giving power to not only His immediate disciples, but also to all future generations of disciples, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. Several important things are presented in this passage of scripture. First, it says that the disciples of Jesus are to take the Gospel into every nation. It also tells that those who accept Him must also repent in addition to believing. And then, it says that the disciples should begin preaching in Jerusalem. But, the major point of the passage concerns power. They are not to go out under their own power, but are to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit is sent from heaven. They will then be endued with the power that is necessary to be an effective witness. This shows us that a disciple or follower of Jesus will receive power from the Holy Spirit in order to be bold, and will be able to manifest the signs and miracles that were talked about in the previous passage from Mark. However, this passage does not tell exactly how they will receive the power, only that they are to wait in Jerusalem.

ACT 1:4-5.8-9, shows that they receive this power when they are baptized with the Holy Spirit, And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence… But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. This passage specifically defines where we are to go; first to Jerusalem (the hometown area), then in Judea and Samaria (neighboring areas within your region), and to all parts of the world. But the critical revelation concerns the momentousness of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. We are not to go out under our own power, but to be endued with power from on high.

Just prior to His ascension into heaven, Jesus also gave ministry gifts to the Church that would be established on Pentecost Sunday. However, there was a ten-day period (an ‘in between’ time), when the disciples had to rely solely on the promises of Jesus. During this juncture, Jesus went back to heaven, and the Holy Spirit had not yet been sent. The situation was that the Holy Spirit and the ministry gifts had already been promised, but there was no power yet given to operate in any of these ministry gifts. We can see these gifts in EPH 4:8,11-12, Therefore He says, When He ascended on high He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men… And He Himself (Christ) gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." Last words spoken are usually noteworthy. Before going back to heaven, Jesus would not have given the Great Commission, nor the five ministry gifts, unless He fully intended for us to use them together. When the Father, at the request of Jesus, sent the promised Holy Spirit to earth, one hundred-twenty followers of Jesus were immediately baptized in the Holy Spirit, were able to receive spiritual gifts from Him, and were able to operate in the ministry gifts.

Therefore, the disciples of Jesus, from every generation, were commanded to receive the Great Commission in power, and take it into all parts of the world. They were not to go forth under their own power, but to wait until they were endued with power from on high. This means that a disciple of Jesus must not start to evangelize either his own neighborhood, the next town, state, region of his country, or go into another country, until he is baptized with the Holy Spirit and receives power from God. Part of this power for evangelism comes with the spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit will give us. Another part of the power comes from the Church receiving the five ministry gifts from Jesus. These ministry gifts are for leaders, so they can equip and train all of the rest of the saints in the church for ministry, so that they too can become a powerful witness to the lost. Jesus cannot commission you as a disciple, who is to carry the Gospel out to the lost, unless you are willing to first be empowered with these gifts. If you omit or reject any gift that the Lord offers to you, then it is impossible to fully practice the Great Commission. Rather, you have discarded the doctrine that Jesus has given you, and put another man-made doctrine in its place. In reality, you have become a professor of the Great Omission.

The Emergence Of The Last Days Omission

Some people want to pick and choose from what Jesus has made available, and still claim that they are followers of Jesus, who practice the Great Commission. It is a foolish dream to think that we can help Jesus make the Great Commission better by adding some of our own methods, techniques, and technologies, and then omitting some of the gifts that have been offered to us. It is also dangerous, as it opens the door to disobedience. We must remember that Jesus, Himself, told the disciples to not start ministry in Jerusalem until after they had tarried in Jerusalem to receive power from God. Today’s disciples do not need to wait for the Holy Spirit to be given, as was the case with the first disciples. This is because He has already been sent to earth, and is available to empower you as a witness. All you have to do is ask Jesus to baptize you in the Holy Spirit, and then receive any spiritual gifts or ministry gifts that He might give you. If you are not willing to ask for and receive power from on high, then how is it possible for you to be commissioned and sent out as part of the Great Commission? You cannot! With your lips, you may say that you follow the Great Commission, but in reality you are following a doctrine called the Last Days Omission. There are actually two versions of the Great Omission of the last days, which will be explained below. However, later on, I will cease to make any further distinctions between the two, as the magnitude of omission, a little or a lot, does not really change the fact that something has been left out of the Great Commission. That is the basic nature of the word, omission; that is, something has been omitted, left out, or altered in some fashion. Just as an itsy-bitsy lie is still a lie and a tiny bit pregnant is still pregnant, so will slightly omitting part of the Great Commission result in one following the Last Days Omission.

The Lesser Omission

Some people might say, a little omission is okay, if we are still willing to go out and tell the lost about Jesus. However, this is not true, because you are making up your own rules, and disobeying what Jesus has commanded you to do. Some people profess that all of the ministry gifts, spiritual gifts, and the baptism in the Holy Spirit suddenly stopped when the era of the first century church was over, or after all the original apostles had died. But, this is like saying that God did not have the foresight to know what He was doing when He made these gifts available to the original disciples. And then at a later point, when He was a lot smarter, He needed to retract the offer. Preposterous! God is already all knowing of everything past, present, and future. The gifts would not have been given, if they were not meant for all generations. The command to be endued with power, before taking the Gospel out, was a command to everyone that chooses to follow Jesus and become His disciple. Also keep in mind that Jesus did not present the disciples with the Great Commission as an option; that is, we are not commissioned with the Great Proposal.

Some say that they have won souls for Jesus by only speaking scriptures from the Bible to the lost. They say, it is not necessary to receive any additional power from God, because they are already able to use their own power to go forth and speak from the Word of God. While this has a ring of truth to it, the lost soul coming to Christ had nothing to do with any personal power that you might have. It was solely due to the fact that the Word of God was preached. A rank heathen might lead another lost soul to Christ, if he reads from the Bible, and other sinners are around to hear the Word. Or God could even use a donkey or an orangutan to speak the Word of God, and people could be saved. But, this has nothing to do with personal, inherent power, and everything to do with the Word of God. Some might smugly say, see, I can practice the Great Omission, and sometimes a lost person might get saved. Yes, the soul might get saved because they heard the Word, but you will be in rebellion because Jesus told you to be endued with power before taking the Gospel out.

Why, would anyone want to practice a watered down doctrine that might allow an occasional soul to be saved, when you can be empowered like Peter on the Day of Pentecost, and potentially have 3,000 people get saved at one time? God was able to use His power through Peter (and maybe you), with the possibility of many souls coming to Jesus. However, when you refuse to receive power from on high, you are limiting what you are able to do for God as a witness, as well as acting in disobedience. Slippery Sam might try to weasel the Lesser Omission in on the bottom rung of the practice of the Great Commission. But the argument would be like those who sin, just a little, thinking that they might be able to enter heaven and sit in a lawn chair along the back wall. But, it just isn’t so! Omitting anything is the practice of the Great Omission, and an act of disobedience, because you are rebelling against what Jesus has already told you to do. My advice is to get over it, and ask the Lord to give you power from on High, so that you might be fully used by Him.

The Full-blown Omission In These Last Days

In this category, we have a considerable abundance of omissions from the Great Commission. We are talking about the full-blown version of the Great Omission, and there are no valid arguments that you might still be trying to follow the plan of Jesus. People in this category, either don’t believe the power and gifts of God are for today, or they believe they are for today, but for some reason they have never received them. But, that is not all! Too often, they also are unwilling to go out as a witness and tell others about Jesus. They may profess with their mouth to be a Christian, but their actions are lacking. They would rather hang out in the church and have fellowship with the brethren, than to go tell the lost about the Gospel. They are embarrassed or ashamed to tell their family, friends, or others in their social circle that Jesus died for their sins and can save them from a devil’s hell. They may even tell you, one of these days I am going out and will do something for Christ. This kind of person has somehow deceived himself into thinking that it is okay to not be a witness for Jesus Christ, and still find a way into heaven.

The Antidote

Nothing good can ever come out of disobeying God, being a rebel, or trying to write your own rulebook to replace what is presented in the