Archive for the ‘Rapture’ Category

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In this blog post I attempt to discuss the different views people have regarding the Rapture.  What is the Rapture?  The word “Rapture” is a Latin word for the words “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.  The concept is that the Lord will return for believers (John 14:3 and Acts 1:9-11).  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says that those who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…”  The context of this concept from chapter 4 is found in 1:10 which says, “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”  Some things stand out, like the promise of the Lord’s return.  Also there is a wrath that is coming.  This word “wrath” is not defined for us until 5:9, which says “For did not appoint us to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  The context of the word “wrath” here is found in the preceding verses.  5:4 says, “But you brethern are not in darkness so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.”  The word “Day” is referring to the concept of the Day of the Lord (5:2).  The Day of the Lord is an OT concept, that has two phases 1. God’s judgment against sinful people 2. God’s eternal reign over His people (Joel 2:28-32; Isaiah 13:9-11; Zephaniah 1:14-18; 3:14-15).  The book of Joel as a whole is an exposition of the Day of the Lord.  On a side note, it is important to understand that the word “Day” is not meaning an actual 24 hour period, but rather a span of time.  In this 1 Thessalonians book, Paul uses the phrase Day of the Lord to refer to Christ’s return and coming Judgment.

The college and seminary I went to did me a favor in the way I was to approach the bible.  They taught me not a systematic theology (although I took all the courses on that), but to be a bible expositor.  What does that mean?  It means to read the bible and look at key factors before I interpret like 1. the Grammar 2. Language (Greek or Hebrew) 3. the audience 4. the style 5. Historical.  Why is this important?  Many today feel the need to read the bible through their systematic theology rather than allowing the bible to speak for itself.  This is extremely easy to do.  For example, many of a Reformed Church background like to substitute the church for Israel in scripture.  Therefore, the promises of God to Israel are now meant for believers.  Israel rejected Christ therefore, the promises transfer to the church.  The problem with this way of looking at scripture is that the context twisted.  It can lead a person down a slippery slope.  In my opinion, legalism usually follows close behind.

What does this have to do with the Rapture?  The audience and context is highly important when one reads the bible, especially concerning prophecy.  The Rapture is a biblical concept that means to be caught up to meet Jesus in the air.  My next blog will be about the different views on when the Rapture will take place.

 

 

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03 (2)

I saw a very interesting article on Yahoo! News today.  The title was, “Clinton fears efforts to ‘re-Sovietize’ in Europe”.  Hillary Clinton spoke of “efforts by oppressive governments to ‘re-Sovietize’ much of Eastern Europe to Central Asia.”  Also she said this, “It’s distressing that 20 years into the post-Soviet era…so many of the hoped for indicators for progress are retreating.”  Russia has been displaying characteristics of it’s old Cold War days by cracking down on democracy and human rights groups.  This ‘re-Sovietize’ would be a ‘customs union’ called Eurasian Union.  “Russia led efforts for greater regional integration.”

The statements in quotes are from Bradley Klapper.

What does this mean?  Let me start by writing that it does not that we should run for the hills, because the end is near.  However, it is very interesting to watch the European Union get established and now you have Russia doing something similar.  Russia no doubt wants more power and the Eurasian Union would be rouse to gain the power.  I believe that is why Clinton was upset upon hearing of it.  When I read the article it reminded me of Daniel 7:23-24.   In verse 24, the ten horns are ten kings that were on the beast.  The ten kings represent ten kingdoms that will be ruling upon the earth at the time of the Tribulation.  Russia putting this union together tells me that a kingdom is being set up.  One more step closer to the Lord’s return.

I think what is interesting is what will happen if Syria is overthrown.  Will Russia or some other country come in and form another union.  Come quickly Lord- Revelation 22:20

Revelation 22:1,2 says this, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  In the middle of the street and on either side of the river was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits each tree yielding its fruit every month.  The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

I grew up in Indiana in an old Baptist church in Zionsville.  One thing that always stuck with me was how I should interpret God’s word.   It is my opinion that God’s word was written for us to take Him literally.  However, unless the different authors of the books use literary devices for example: hyperbole, litotes, or just a simple “as,” “like” for comparison.  For me this clears up confusion when I read certain passages, like Jesus saying if your eye offends you pluck it out.  Does Jesus really want me to pluck out my eye?  No.  It is a figure of speech, meaning be willing sacrifice anything to enter the kingdom of God.

Now when we come to the above passage, like many passages in Revelation it tells us something interesting about the scene in God’s Kingdom.  There is a river of life and in the middle there is a tree of life.  A tree that has different fruit on it.  Then the passage says, “the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”   The bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:35-49 that we will have resurrected bodies, “we have borne the image the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.”  So what role do these leaves play?  So here is my explanation, which comes from a Pre-Tribulational Rapture point of view (which means that God will rapture believers today before the Tribulation begins).

When the Lord returns to put an end to the Tribulation, He will immediately begin to set up His Kingdom.  The Overcomers from Revelation 2 & 3 will rule and reign with Christ in His Kingdom.  However, who are the people who are living in the kingdom?  Let me suggest this, the people living in the Kingdom will be the true Jewish Remnant as well as children (who have not taken the mark of the Beast).  Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven was like a child.  The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, because of their sin of unbelief.  They wandered because God was not going to allow that generation to enter the Promised Land.  Who entered the Promised Land then?  The children of the previous generation.  God’s Kingdom will last a thousand years.  Longer than any other kingdom.

These children now in the Kingdom will not have resurrected bodies like those who have died or will be raptured up.  But their bodies will be like those who lived before the flood.  Those people lived extremely long lives.  How that will happen I do not know.  What I do know is that back in Revelation 22:2 the leaves of the tree of life were for the healing of the nations.  The word nations implies gentiles not Jews.  For believers we will have resurrected bodies and have no need for healing.  But the people of t he nations will.  Someone gets hurt during the Kingdom then they will be healed.

It is a pretty mind blowing verse, however, everything in God’s Kingdom serves a purpose.  I believe God will not let children go to Hell.  What is the age of accountability?  That is hard to answer because there is no verse in the Bible to suggest what age it could be.  Technically you have the passage where David loses his kid in 2 Samuel, but it is vague at best. Hypothetically writing I would say the age could be anything under 18.  Your brain reaches full development by the time you are in your early 20’s.  I come to that conclusion based on the approximate age of the youths entering the Promised Land.

Its cool if you disagree with me or whatever.  There is not a verse that specifically says anything about it.  All I am writing is that this could be how things shake down.  I do tend to think that this is how it will be.  My opinion.  Feel free to share your own.

“For this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie…” (1 Thessalonians 2:11).

A question I always had was can people who have heard the Gospel before the Tribulation be able to get saved in the Tribulation.  In a sense will there be a second chance?

Many bible teachers feel that you will not be able to receive the gift of Salvation in the Tribulation.  While this view makes sense because if people reject the free gift then why should they have another chance to receive Christ?

God in His infinite Grace and Mercy will give the whole world one more chance during the Tribulation.  Once believers are Raptured up there will be no one left here on earth to tell them about the Lord, however, God will provide two witnesses to introduce the Gospel one more time (Revelation 11).  The identity of these two witnesses is unknown.  Through their ministry in Jerusalem, there will be 144,000 Jewish males, who hear the Gospel message from the Two Witnesses.  They will go and tell the whole world.  At this point in the Tribulation, Antichrist is still a little horn as Daniel calls him.  He has not yet reached world-leader status yet.  Half way through the Tribulation he will require people to worship him by accepting the mark on their forehead or wrist.  People will not be able to buy or sell unless they have the mark.  It is important to remember that the mark has nothing to do with a cashless society or credit cards.  The mark is the name of the beast or Antichrist.

I believe the “strong delusion” of 1 Thessalonians 2:11 will not happen until after the abomination of desolation, which is halfway through the Tribulation.  Therefore, people will still have the opportunity to accept Christ.  I make this assumption because there is nothing in the bible that says that they can’t.

What does this mean for us living today?  Tell others about the Lord.  Allow the Holy Spirit to work through you in your life to share the Gospel. The Gospel is free to us, but it cost Jesus His life.  It is our responsibility to go and tell.  It is up to us.  If someone in your family, or relative, or friend rejects Christ then there will still be one more opportunity for them to believe.

When will the Rapture take place?.

I was standing in this little shop near by my work, when this lady peeked from behind the counter.  “Hey, did you hear the world is going to end on May 21, 2011.”  My immediate thought was, “That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.”  She began to tell me how her son was a professor at some university and he had heard this bible teacher proclaim that May 21, 2011 was Judgment Day.   Her son was caught up in all this and was preparing to leave the city in search of protection in the surrounding mountains.

In Matthew 24:36, Jesus tells his disciples that no one knows the day or hour of His return.  Therefore, when Harold Camping made his prediction, I knew he was wrong.  It was pretty amazing how Camping was wrong before back in 1994 and of course last year and still has people following his misguided teachings.  The thing that upset me the most was his billboard proclaiming that the bible guarantees it on May 21, 2011.  The bible does not proclaim that teaching at all.  In fact, it proclaims that we will not know that date.  1 Thessalonians 5:1,2 tells us that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night.  Obviously a thief does not take out a billboard to tell you he is coming to break in that night.

The Rapture, is event in God’s timetable that no date is given.  The tribulation does not begin with the Rapture but rather with the signing of the covenant (Daniel 9:27).  Therefore, the Rapture can happen at any time and at any moment.  It could be that the Rapture happens and is a span of years or decades before signing of the covenant.  The covenant will be signed by the Antichrist and Israel.  Therefore, be looking up for the Lord’s return.